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113th Congress                                            Rept. 113-399
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

======================================================================

 
 AUTHORIZING THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC 
   ADMINISTRATION TO PROVIDE CERTAIN FUNDS TO ELIGIBLE ENTITIES FOR 
ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN TO ADDRESS THE MARINE DEBRIS IMPACTS OF THE MARCH 
 2011 TOHOKU EARTHQUAKE AND SUBSEQUENT TSUNAMI, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

                 April 2, 2014.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1491]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 1491) to authorize the Administrator of the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide 
certain funds to eligible entities for activities undertaken to 
address the marine debris impacts of the March 2011 Tohoku 
earthquake and subsequent tsunami, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE FUNDS.

  (a) In General.--The Administrator of the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration may provide funds to an eligible entity 
impacted by the covered severe marine debris event to assist such 
entity with the costs of any activity carried out to address the 
effects of such event.
  (b) Funding.--The Administrator may provide funds under subsection 
(a) using any funds provided by the Government of Japan for activities 
to address the effects of the covered severe marine debris event.
  (c) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Covered severe marine debris event.--The term ``covered 
        severe marine debris event'' means the events, including marine 
        debris, resulting from the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and 
        subsequent tsunami.
          (2) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'' means any 
        State (as that term is defined in section 7 of the Marine 
        Debris Act (33 U.S.C. 1956)), local, or tribal government.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 1491 is to authorize the Administrator 
of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to 
provide certain funds to eligible entities for activities 
undertaken to address the marine debris impacts of the March 
2011 Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    In fiscal year 2012, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA) allocated $875,000 from its marine debris 
base funding for the Community-based Marine Debris Prevention 
and Removal Grants Program. According to NOAA, the grants 
supported locally driven, community-based marine debris 
prevention and removal projects that benefit coastal habitat, 
waterways, and wildlife. The competitive grants were awarded to 
groups throughout the country, including state agencies and 
municipalities. NOAA stated the projects were not specifically 
focused on tsunami debris, but noted about 42 percent of the 
funds went to states impacted by the debris confirmed to be 
from the March 2011 tsunami that struck Japan.
    NOAA also provided additional funds to address the tsunami-
related debris, making available $250,000 through cooperative 
agreements to Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and 
Hawaii. Each state received $50,000 for marine debris removal 
efforts.
    In December 2012, the Government of Japan gifted $5 million 
to the U.S. to remove marine debris determined to be from Japan 
due to the 2011 tsunami. Using existing cooperative agreements 
with the states and existing legal authorities, NOAA was able 
to funnel $250,000 each to Alaska, Washington, Oregon, 
California and Hawaii, and $50,000 each to Guam and the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). In 
addition, NOAA contributed $478,000 of the $5 million to remove 
a dock in the remote wilderness coast in the Olympic Coast 
National Marine Sanctuary and the Olympic National Park. A 
September 2013 NOAA update on the funds noted $2.478 million of 
the $5 million was obligated and approximately $2,422,000 
remains.
    On December 20, 2012, amendments to the Marine Debris Act 
were signed into law (Public Law 112-213). The law required 
NOAA to make a determination whether the March 2011 Japan 
earthquake and subsequent tsunami were the cause of a ``severe 
marine debris event''. The law defines a ``severe marine debris 
event'' as ``atypically large amounts of marine debris caused 
by a natural disaster, including a tsunami, flood, landslide, 
or hurricane, or other source.'' On February 14, 2013, NOAA 
made this determination. The law requires NOAA to notify 
certain committees in Congress, but requires no other action 
after the determination.
    H.R. 1491 would authorize the Administrator of NOAA to use 
funds, provided to the U.S. from the Government of Japan, as 
grants to any State, locality or tribal government that was 
effected by a covered marine debris event resulting from the 
March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami. NOAA has 
the ability under existing law to pay for current and future 
debris removal efforts; however, H.R. 1491 would give NOAA the 
authority to also reimburse States for past costs of debris 
removal efforts.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 1491 was introduced on April 11, 2013, by 
Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR). The bill was referred to 
the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and in 
addition to the Committee on Natural Resources. Within the 
Committee on Natural Resources, the bill was referred to the 
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular 
Affairs. On June 13, 2013, the Subcommittee held a hearing on 
the bill. On December 4, 2013, the Natural Resources Committee 
met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee on Fisheries, 
Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs was discharged by 
unanimous consent. Congressman Don Young (R-AK) offered an 
amendment designated .002 to the bill; the amendment was 
adopted by unanimous consent. No further amendments were 
offered and the bill, as amended, was then ordered favorably 
reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous consent.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that Rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 1491--A bill to authorize the Administrator of the National 
        Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide certain funds 
        to eligible entities for activities undertaken to address the 
        marine debris impacts of the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and 
        subsequent tsunami, and for other purposes

    H.R. 1491 would authorize the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to use funds provided by the 
government of Japan to reimburse states for costs incurred to 
clean up marine debris stemming from a tsunami. Based on 
information provided by NOAA, CBO estimates that implementing 
the bill would have no significant cost. Because CBO expects 
that enacting the bill would allow NOAA to spend certain funds 
faster than it would under current law, CBO estimates that 
enacting H.R. 1491 would affect direct spending; however, we 
estimate that any net effects on spending would be minimal. 
Enacting the legislation would not affect revenues.
    In December 2012, Japan provided a $5 million gift to the 
United States to fund efforts to clean up marine debris from a 
tsunami that affected Japan in 2011. Under current law, NOAA 
may use those funds to cover costs incurred after the gift was 
received. Under the bill, the agency would be able to use those 
funds to reimburse states for costs incurred prior to December 
2012. CBO estimates that allowing NOAA to use funds for that 
purpose would increase direct spending in 2014 and reduce 
direct spending in later years; however, we estimate that the 
net effect on spending would be minimal.
    H.R. 1491 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures. CBO estimates that implementing 
the bill would affect direct spending but the net effects would 
be minimal.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to authorize the Administrator of the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide 
certain funds to eligible entities for activities undertaken to 
address the marine debris impacts of the March 2011 Tohoku 
earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

    Directed Rule Making. The Chairman does not believe that 
this bill directs any executive branch official to conduct any 
specific rule-making proceedings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. The bill does establish a 
program of the federal government known to be duplicative of 
another federal program, although it does not reauthorize such 
a program. Such program was identified in the most recent 
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance published pursuant to 
the Federal Program Information Act (Public Law 95-220), as 
amended by Public Law 98-169) as relating to other programs, 
coastal zone management administrative awards and habitat 
conservation. These related programs specifically include 
Coastal Zone Management Administration Awards, Financial 
Assistance for National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, 
Regional Fishery Management Councils, Chesapeake Bay Studies, 
and Congressionally Identified Awards and Projects. However, 
the purpose of H.R. 1491 is to allow a one-time event--the 
expenditure of certain funds donated by the Government of Japan 
to address marine debris associated with the March 2011 Tohoku 
earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which affected Pacific coast 
states and territories. While NOAA has the legal authority to 
grant funds to coastal states and the territories for marine 
debris removal, H.R. 1491 will allow the states to be 
reimbursed for the expenditure of their own funds from the 
donated Japanese funds. This is not a situation expected to be 
repeated.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.