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113th Congress    }                                     {    Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                     {    113-702
======================================================================
 
                      FISH HATCHERY PROTECTION ACT

                                _______
                                

 December 22, 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

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 5026]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 5026) to prohibit closing or repurposing any 
propagation fish hatchery or aquatic species propagation 
program of the Department of the Interior unless such action is 
expressly authorized by an Act of Congress, 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. 5026 is to prohibit closing or 
repurposing any propagation fish hatchery or aquatic species 
propagation program of the Department of the Interior unless 
such action is expressly authorized by an Act of Congress.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The National Fish Hatchery System was established by the 
Congress in 1871 to address the growing concern about declining 
fish populations. The fundamental goals of the federal fish 
fisheries were to propagate native and non-native species of 
fish, to work in partnership with the states to restore 
depleted fish stocks, and to replace lost recreational fishing 
opportunities by mitigating the impacts of federal water 
projects.
    Statutory authority for the Federal Fish Hatchery Program 
is contained in a number of statutes including the Fish and 
Wildlife Act of 1956, Sikes Act of 1960, Anadromous Fish 
Conservation Act of 1965, Endangered Species Act of 1973, Fish 
and Wildlife Improvement Act of 1978, Fish and Wildlife 
Conservation Act of 1980, Connecticut River Basin Atlantic 
Salmon Act of 1983, Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act of 1986, 
Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act of 1990, and 
various Appropriation acts.
    In 1940, there were 136 National Fish Hatcheries. There are 
currently 68 federal hatcheries located in 34 states and in 
every region except Alaska. There are approximately 360 Fish 
and Wildlife Service (FWS) employees working within the 
hatchery system. At the end of fiscal year 2013, the hatchery 
system had 4,602 assets that were worth $2.3 billion. Sixteen 
National Fish Hatcheries were first constructed more than 100 
years ago and the average age is more than 70 years. The System 
has a deferred maintenance backlog of $167.3 million.
    According to FWS, the National Fish Hatchery System 
annually produces and distributes over 140 million fish and 120 
million fish eggs for recovery, restoration, mitigation and 
tribal treaty requirements. The value of these products is over 
$5 billion. In 2013, nearly 80 million eggs were transferred to 
federal, state and tribal hatcheries and approximately 128 
million fish were released into the wild. Of those fish 
released, 13.3 million were classified as members of threatened 
or endangered species.
    In 2011, recreational anglers took 69 million trips, caught 
345 million fish, supported 364,000 jobs. In total, the 
recreational fishing industry contributed over $70 billion to 
our economy. FWS has indicated that the National Fish Hatchery 
System returns $28 to the national economy for every dollar 
spent and $3.6 billion to our economy overall. In Mohave 
County, Arizona, the Willow Creek National Fish Hatchery, whose 
propagation program was terminated because of a broken pipe in 
November 2013, supported about 1,700 jobs and had an annual 
economic input of almost $75 million.
    FWS produces these fish and eggs through a series of 291 
propagation programs. However, the focus of these programs has 
dramatically changed over the years. With each passing year, 
FWS places greater emphasis and money on the recovery and 
restoration of Federally-listed endangered or threatened 
species. For instance, of the 291 programs, 171 or nearly 60 
percent are dedicated to recovery and restoration. These 
programs received $18.2 million. There are 56 propagation 
programs for tribes whose fish is covered by treaties, 
legislation, court orders or consent decrees. These programs 
received $5.9 million. Finally, there are 47 propagation 
programs that raise native and non-native fish. These programs 
cost $3 million or about 10 percent of the overall funds.
    In November 2013, FWS issued a report entitled Strategic 
Hatchery and Workplace Planning that indicated that ``the ESA 
[Endangered Species Act] compels the Service to give priority 
to preventing the extinction or extirpation of protecting [sic] 
fish and wildlife species by regulating actions that would 
further diminish populations and by working to recover those 
populations to viability''. As a result, the highest priorities 
of the National Fish Hatchery System will be the recovery and 
restoration of Federally-listed species and then tribal 
interests. The lowest priorities will be the propagation of 
native and then non-native fish, which are commonly referred to 
as the mitigation hatcheries.
    FWS has publicly stated that no Federal Fish Hatcheries 
will be closed before September 30, 2014, and the Consolidated 
Appropriations Act (Public Law 113-6) stipulated that ``none of 
the funds may be used to terminate operations or to close any 
facility'' within the System. This law also provided that the 
Army Corps of Engineers may transfer to FWS up to $4.7 million 
for fisheries lost due to federal water projects.
    On March 5, 2014, the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, 
Oceans and Insular Affairs conducted an oversight hearing on 
the Strategic Report. At the hearing, the FWS Assistant 
Director for Fish and Aquatic Conservation testified that ``it 
is important to note, however, that a report is not a decision 
document. It offers management options and recommendations to 
put the system on a more sound and sustainable financial 
footing. The Service is using the report to engage partners and 
stakeholders, including Congress, State Fish and Wildlife 
Agencies, tribes and others in a discussion on its major 
findings and recommendations.''
    Despite these assurances, FWS had already discontinued a 
number of propagation programs without any input or 
communication with Congress, states or local communities. This 
failure to communicate prompted responses from both the 
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Sport Fishing 
and Boating Partnership Council. In the first letter, the 
President of the Association representing all 50 states noted 
that ``the report laid out a new desired direction without any 
direct input from any state partners who all have a vested 
interest in the management and production of fish from the 
National Fish Hatchery System.'' The second letter by the Sport 
Fishing and Boating Partnership Council stated that ``the fact 
that no stakeholders, including the state agencies that depend 
on the National Fish Hatchery System, were consulted highlights 
the significant and problematic lack of transparency in the 
current direction of the fisheries program.''
    This legislation would prohibit the Secretary of the 
Interior from permanently closing, reprogramming, repurposing, 
decommissioning, significantly altering, or moving to caretaker 
status any fish and other aquatic species propagation hatchery 
or propagation program unless such action is expressly 
authorized by an Act of Congress. The law would be effective 
beginning on November 1, 2013, and would expire ten years after 
the date of the enactment of the Act.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 5026 was introduced on July 8, 2014, by Congressman 
Paul A. Gosar (R-AZ). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs. On July 23, 
2014, the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On July 30, 
2014, 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 adopted and ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by a roll 
call vote of 25 to 17, as follows:


            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. 5026--Fish Hatchery Protection Act

    Summary: H.R. 5026 would prohibit the Secretary of the 
Interior from permanently modifying or significantly altering 
the way certain programs within the National Fish Hatchery 
System would be carried out relative to how they were being 
carried out as of November 1, 2013. Under H.R. 5026, for a 10-
year period following enactment of the bill, any changes to 
those programs would require express authorization from the 
Congress. In CBO's view, that directive would effectively 
authorize sufficient appropriations to continue operating the 
National Fish Hatchery System in the same way it was operated 
near the start of fiscal year 2014.
    Based on information provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (USFWS) and assuming appropriation of the necessary 
amounts, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost 
$203 million over the 2015-2019 period. Enacting H.R. 5026 
would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-
as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 5026 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated Cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 5026 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
                                                                2015    2016    2017    2018    2019   2015-2018
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Estimated Authorization Level................................      42      43      44      45      46       220
Estimated Outlays............................................      33      39      42      44      45       203
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 
5026 will be enacted before the end of 2014 and that the 
necessary amounts will be appropriated for each fiscal year. 
Estimated outlays are based on historical spending patterns for 
similar USFWS activities.
    H.R. 5026 would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from 
permanently modifying or significantly altering any fish 
hatchery or breeding program within the National Fish Hatchery 
System unless the Congress explicitly authorizes such changes. 
That limitation would be in effect beginning on November 1, 
2013, and ending 10 years after enactment of the bill. As of 
November 1, 2013, the USFWS had received about $41 million to 
operate fish hatcheries and carry out programs in 2014 that 
would be affected under the bill. CBO expects that the agency 
would require similar levels of appropriated funds (adjusted 
for inflation) to continue to operate the fish hatcheries and 
programs in the same way they were being operated as of 
November 1, 2013.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 5026 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments. Those governments would benefit from the 
continued operation of federal fishery conservation activities.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal cost: Jeff LaFave; Impact on 
state, local, and tribal governments: Jon Sperl; Impact on the 
private sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate 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 provided by 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and assuming 
appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO estimates that 
implementing the bill would cost $203 million over the 2015-
2019 period.
    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 prohibit closing or repurposing 
any propagation fish hatchery or aquatic species propagation 
program of the Department of the Interior unless such action is 
expressly authorized by an Act of Congress.

                           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. This bill does establish 
or reauthorize a program of the federal government known to be 
duplicative of another federal program. While such program was 
not included in a report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-
139, it 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, namely the 
Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act of 1986, Fish and Wildlife 
Management Assistance and Wildlife Restoration; and the Lower 
Snake River Compensation Plan. This further demonstrates that 
the National Fish Hatchery System is used to fulfill legal 
requirements of the Department of the Interior under several 
laws and programs.

                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.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

              H.R. 5026--THE FISH HATCHERY PROTECTION ACT

    H.R. 5026 would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from 
permanently closing, reprogramming, repurposing, 
decomissioning, significantly altering, or moving to caretaker 
status any program within the National Fish Hatchery System 
(NFHS) for 10 years from the date the bill is enacted, unless 
such action is expressly authorized by an Act of Congress. This 
bill is a direct response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service's (Service) recent suspension of rainbow trout 
propagation activities at the Willow Beach National Fish 
Hatchery in Mohave County, Arizona. Last year the two intake 
pipes used to feed the trout hatchery were rendered inoperative 
due to deferred maintenance resulting from a significant 
maintenance backlog within the NFHS. Because of the backlog, 
the Service does not have the funds available to repair the 
pipes at Willow Beach or make repairs at scores of other 
hatcheries around the country.
    Like many Service programs, the NFHS has experienced an 
erosion of base funds due to reductions in appropriations, 
inflation and other factors. At the same time, the program has 
also experienced significant increases in requisite operating 
costs, particularly those related to energy. The lack of 
funding has forced the Service to prioritize core functions in 
the hatchery system, which it did publicly in its Strategic 
Hatchery and Workforce Planning Report released last year. 
Committee Republicans have criticized the Service for placing a 
lower priority on NFHS propagation programs, which stock local 
waterways with non-native sport fish. However, the Service has 
a clear responsibility to focus first on restoring endangered 
aquatic species, maintaining populations of native fish, and 
meeting Tribal trust obligations.
    By failing to address the overarching budgetary issues 
within the NFHS, this bill would simply hamstring the Service 
into continuing all existing propagation programs in outdated 
facilities for the next ten years without adequate funding. 
This will simply lead to more failures like the one in Arizona 
which inspired this legislation, and prevent the Service from 
making changes necessary to ensure the NFHS is operating as 
efficiently and effectively as possible. Further, the 
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that this 
legislation will cost more than $200 million to implement. Much 
smaller CBO scores have been used as an excuse to prevent 
Democratic legislation from advancing to a floor vote. For 
these reasons, we oppose H.R. 5026.

                                             Peter DeFazio,
                    Ranking Member, Committee on Natural Resources.