H. Rept. 113-453 - CHESAPEAKE BAY ACCOUNTABILITY AND RECOVERY ACT OF 2013113th Congress (2013-2014)
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113th Congress Rept. 113-453 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 2d Session Part 1 ====================================================================== CHESAPEAKE BAY ACCOUNTABILITY AND RECOVERY ACT OF 2013 _______ May 19, 2014.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and 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. 739] [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office] The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred the bill (H.R. 739) to require the Office of Management and Budget to prepare a crosscut budget for restoration activities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, to require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and implement an adaptive management plan, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass. PURPOSE OF THE BILL The purpose of H.R. 739 is to require the Office of Management and Budget to prepare a crosscut budget for restoration activities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and to require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and implement an adaptive management plan. BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION The Chesapeake Bay supports more than 3,600 species of fish, plants and wildlife, and more than $1 billion in economic activity is generated from it, one of the largest estuaries in the world. A number of federal agencies are involved in restoration activities in and around the Chesapeake Bay including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Because multiple federal and State agencies take part in various aspects of Chesapeake Bay restoration, coordination on projects and funding is not always apparent. In addition, while millions of tax dollars have been spent to improve the quality of the Bay, these funds are distributed among many agencies and departments. According to the Fiscal Year 2012 Progress Report, Chesapeake Bay restoration projects and programs funded by the federal government totaled more than $460 million in Fiscal Year 2012 alone. The many federal and State Chesapeake Bay restoration programs lack a single comprehensive reporting system for the funding of these activities. This legislation would bring transparency to federal funding of all restoration activities. The primary components of H.R. 739 are: 1) a requirement that a cross-cut budget be submitted to Congress; 2) a requirement that EPA, in consultation with other federal and state agencies, develop an adaptive management plan for restoration activities; and 3) a requirement for the appointment of an independent evaluator to review restoration activities and to report to Congress. This legislation would institute measurable objectives to ensure that both federal and state dollars spent on restoration are producing positive results. In addition, it would bring more transparency to federal Chesapeake Bay restoration funding. While some of these objectives from H.R. 739 are included in the President's Executive Order on Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration issued in May 2009, progress has been slow and EPA has not fully implemented all of the requirements of the Executive Order. Moreover, the Executive Order contains a requirement for reporting on the proposed federal budget for Chesapeake Bay restoration activities; however, the Administration's budget requests still do not provide adequate transparency and the Executive Order does not require that the cross-cut budget requests be submitted to Congress. H.R. 739 would codify the requirement that a cross-cut budget be submitted to Congress. COMMITTEE ACTION H.R. 739 was introduced on February 14, 2013, by Congressman Robert J. Wittman (R-VA). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs. The bill was also referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. On April 24, 2013, the Full Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs was discharged by unanimous consent. No amendments were offered, and the bill was then adopted and ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous consent. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS Section 1. Short title This section designates the short title of the bill as the ``Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act of 2013.'' Section 2. Chesapeake Bay crosscut budget This section requires the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the Chesapeake Bay Council, the chief executive of each of the Chesapeake Bay States, and the Chesapeake Bay Commission to submit a financial report to Congress, no later than 30 days after the President submits his annual budget request, that contains a crosscutting budget displaying: the proposed funding for any federal restoration activity (equal to or greater than $100,000) for each federal agency for the succeeding year; to the extent the information is available an estimated funding for State restoration activities (equal to or greater than $50,000) for the succeeding year; all federal restoration expenditures from the preceding two years, the current year and the succeeding year; and all expenditures for State restoration activities during the preceding two years, the current year and the succeeding year. The Director would also be required to submit to Congress in the report a detailed accounting of all funds received and obligated by all federal agencies for restoration activities during the current and preceding years, including funds that were transferred to a Chesapeake Bay State for restoration activities. The report must also contain, to the extent the information is available, a detailed accounting from each State of all funds received and obligated from a federal agency for restoration activities during the current and preceding years. The report must contain a description of each proposed federal and state restoration activity to be carried out in the succeeding year and include: a project description; the current status of the project; the federal, state statutory or regulatory authority, program, or responsible agencies; authorization levels for appropriations; project time lines including benchmarks; references to project documents; descriptions of risks and uncertainties of project implementation; adaptive management actions or frameworks; coordinating entities; funding history; and alignment with the Chesapeake Bay Agreement and the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council goals and priorities. Section 3. Adaptive management plan This section requires EPA, in consultation with other federal and state agencies, to develop an adaptive management plan for the Chesapeake Bay Program and restoration activities that includes: definitions of specific and measurable objectives to improve water quality, habitat and fisheries; a process for stake holder involvement; monitoring, modeling, experimentation and other evaluation practices; a process for the modification of restoration activities that have not met objectives; and a process for prioritizing restoration activities for which adaptive management principles shall be applied. The section requires that EPA implement the adaptive management plan using the criteria cited above and would require EPA to update the adaptive management plan every two years. Lastly, the section requires EPA to report to Congress, no later than 60 days after the end of each fiscal year, on the implementation of the adaptive management plan and any programmatic and project level changes implemented through the adaptive management plan. Section 4. Independent evaluator for the Chesapeake Bay Program This section requires that an Independent Evaluator be appointed by the EPA Administrator from among nominees submitted by the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council. The Independent Evaluator would be required to review and report on restoration activities, the use of adaptive management in restoration activities, and on other related topics suggested by the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council. The section also requires the Independent Evaluator to submit a report to Congress every two years on the findings and recommendations. Section 5. Definitions This section provides definitions for terms used in the bill. 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. 739--Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act of 2013 H.R. 739 would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop, no later than one year after the bill's enactment, a management plan for the Chesapeake Bay Program and restoration activities related to the bay. EPA would be required to update the management plan every two years. The legislation would require new financial reports on the Chesapeake Bay Program from the Office of Management and Budget and would require EPA to appoint an independent evaluator, who would review and report to the Congress on the plan. Based on information from EPA, CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost about $1 million annually over the 2014-2018 period, subject to the availability of appropriated funds. Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. H.R. 739 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments. The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Susanne S. Mehlman. This 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. Based on information from EPA, CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost about $1 million annually over the 2014-2018 period, subject to the availability of appropriated funds. 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 require the Office of Management and Budget to prepare a crosscut budget for restoration activities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, to require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and implement an adaptive management plan. 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. While this bill does not establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government known to be duplicative of another federal program, it does require reporting of financial expenditures for programs of the federal government known to be duplicative of another federal program. Such program was included in a report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 or 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. By requiring a financial report and cross-cut budget, it is hoped that duplicative programs can be identified and eliminated or modified as needed to produce more effective results. 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.