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114th Congress   }                                        {  Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session     }                                        {  114-161

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

 
AN ACT TO AMEND THE FEDERAL WATER POLLUTION CONTROL ACT TO REAUTHORIZE 
          THE NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

                October 29, 2015.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Inhofe, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1523]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1523) to amend the Federal Water 
Pollution Control Act to reauthorize the National Estuary 
Program, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
and recommends the bill do pass.

                    General Statement and Background

    The most simplistic definition of an estuary is a place 
where fresh water meets the sea. In its broader meaning, an 
estuary is defined as a semi-enclosed coastal body of water 
with freshwater flowing into it and a connection to the open 
sea.
    In 1987, Congress established the National Estuary Program 
(NEP) by adding section 320 to the Clean Water Act (CWA) 
through amendments to that Act sponsored by the late Senator 
John Chafee (R-RI). Section 320 authorizes states to nominate 
and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify 
estuaries of national significance and to convene a management 
conference for that estuary.
    Each management conference is made up of representatives 
from federal, state and local government agencies responsible 
for managing the estuary's resources, as well as members of the 
community--citizens, business leaders, educators, and 
researchers. These stakeholders work together using a 
consensus-based approach to identify problems in the estuary, 
and to create and implement a formal management plan, called a 
Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP), that 
recommends specific targeted actions designed to address water 
quality, a balanced indigenous population of shellfish, fish, 
and wildlife, and recreational activities and assure that the 
designated uses of the estuary are protected.
    Section 320 authorizes EPA to make cost-shared grants for 
the development and implementation of CCMPs. The federal share 
for the development of a plan may not exceed 75 percent of the 
costs and the federal share for plan implementation may not 
exceed 50 percent of the costs.
    In 2004, in P.L. 108-399, Congress extended the 
authorization of appropriations for section 320 of the CWA 
through fiscal year 2010 at $35,000,000 per year. Although the 
authorization for this program expired in 2010, the program has 
continued to receive annual appropriations, including $26 
million in 2015. With this funding, EPA typically allocates 
approximately $600,000 to each of the 28 estuaries in the 
program, totaling approximately $16,800,000.

                     Objectives of the Legislation

    The objective of S. 1523 is to amend section 320 of the 
Federal Water Pollution Control Act to revise and reauthorize 
the National Estuary Program.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    S. 1523 as it passed the Senate on August 5, 2015.

SEC. 1. NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM REAUTHORIZATION; COMPETITIVE AWARDS.

    Paragraph (1) of section 1 of S. 1523 amends subsection (g) 
section 320 of the Clean Water Act. Subsection (g) authorizes 
grants for CCMP development and implementation. S. 1523 adds 
new paragraph (4) to this subsection.
    New paragraph (4) authorizes competitive awards to states, 
interstate, and regional water pollution control agencies and 
entities, state coastal zone management agencies, interstate 
agencies, other public or nonprofit private agencies, 
institutions, organizations, and individuals, to address issues 
that threaten the water quality, ecological, and economic well-
being of coastal areas, including loss of seagrasses, recurring 
harmful algae blooms; unusual marine mammal mortalities; 
invasive exotic species, jellyfish proliferation, flooding that 
may be related to sea level rise or wetland degradation or 
loss, and low dissolved oxygen conditions.
    Paragraph (2) of section 1 of S. 1523 revises Clean Water 
Act section 320(i), ``Authorization of Appropriations.''
    As amended, paragraph (1) of subsection (i) authorizes 
appropriations for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2020, at 
an amount of $26 million per year, for the making grants under 
subsection (g) and for EPA administrative expenses. This 
authorization level is consistent with recent appropriations. 
The amendment also places a new limit in paragraph (1) on EPA's 
administrative expenses of not to exceed 5 percent of the total 
amount appropriated.
    As amended, paragraph (2) of subsection (i) provides that 
not less than 80 percent of each year's appropriation must be 
used for grants under subsection (g)(2) for the development, 
implementation, and monitoring of CCMPs and not less than 15 
percent must be used for grants to address coastal areas under 
new subsection (g)(4).
    These amendments to subsection (i) have the effect of 
ensuring that a greater amount of each year's federal 
appropriations is directed to local efforts. If $26,000,000 is 
appropriated then each of the 28 estuaries currently in the 
program would receive nearly $743,000 a year. In addition, 
these allocations would provide $3,900,000 annually for local 
actions to address the ecological and economic well-being of 
coastal areas.

                          Legislative History

    Senator Whitehouse and Senator Vitter introduced S. 1523 on 
June 8, 2015. The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Environment and Public Works. On August 5, 2015 the Committee 
on Environment and Public Works held a business meeting to 
consider S. 1523. The bill was approved by the Committee by 
voice vote without amendment. On August 5, 2015, S. 1523 passed 
the Senate with an amendment (S. Amdt. 2639--To modify the 
authorization of appropriations) by Unanimous Consent.

                                Hearings

    No committee hearings were held on S. 1523.

                             Rollcall Votes

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works met to 
consider S. 1523 on August 5, 2015. The bill was ordered 
favorably reported by voice vote. No rollcall votes were taken.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee finds that S. 1523 
does not create any additional regulatory burdens, nor will it 
cause any adverse impact on the personal privacy of 
individuals.

                          Mandates Assessment

    In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-4), the committee notes that the Congressional 
Budget Office found that S. 1523 contains no intergovernmental 
or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act (UMRA), and any costs incurred by state, local, or 
tribal governments, including matching contributions, would 
result from participation in a voluntary federal program.

                          Cost of Legislation

    Section 403 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act requires that a statement of the cost of the 
reported bill, prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, be 
included in the report. That statement follows:
                                                   August 20, 2015.
Hon. Jim Inhofe, Chairman,
Committee on Environment and Public Works,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1523, an act to 
amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to reauthorize 
the National Estuary Program, and for other purposes.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Aurora 
Swanson.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

S. 1523--An act to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to 
        reauthorize the National Estuary Program, and for other 
        purposes

    Summary: S. 1523 would authorize the appropriation of $26 
million annually over the 2016-2020 period for the 
Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Estuary 
Program. The legislation also would amend the Clean Water Act 
to require that grants awarded to state, local, and private 
entities by EPA are awarded in a competitive manner. CBO 
estimates that implementing this legislation would cost $112 
million over the 2016-2020 period, assuming appropriation of 
the authorized amounts.
    Enacting S. 1523 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    S. 1523 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), 
and any costs incurred by state, local, or tribal governments, 
including matching contributions, would result from 
participation in a voluntary federal program.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary effect of this legislation 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
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2016     2017     2018     2019     2020   2016-2020
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Authorization Level.....................................       26       26       26       26       26       130
Estimated Outlays.......................................       12       22       26       26       26       112
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of Estimate: CBO assumes that S. 1523 will be enacted 
near the start of 2016 and that the amounts authorized will be 
appropriated each fiscal year. Estimated outlays are based on 
historical spending patterns for the National Estuary Program. 
The authorization for this program expired at the end of 2010, 
but $26 million was appropriated for the program for 2015. 
Under the National Estuary Program, EPA develops plans for 
attaining or maintaining water quality in an estuary.
    Intergovernmental and Private-Sector Impact: S. 1523 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA, and any costs incurred by state, local, or 
tribal governments, including matching contributions, would 
result from participation in a voluntary federal program.
    Previous CBO Estimate: On April 22, 2015, CBO transmitted a 
cost estimate for H.R. 944, a bill to reauthorize the National 
Estuary Programs, and for other purposes, as ordered reported 
by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on 
April 14, 2015. Both H.R. 944 and S. 1523 would reauthorize the 
National Estuary Program, although H.R. 944 would authorize the 
appropriation of $1 million more annually over the 2016-2020 
period.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Aurora Swanson; Impact 
on state, local, and tribal governments: Jon Sperl; Impact on 
the private sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill 
as reported are shown as follows: Existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in [black brackets], new matter is printed 
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown 
in roman:

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Federal Water Pollution Control Act

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


  Sec. 101. (a) The objective of this Act is to restore and 
maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of 
the Nation's waters. In order to achieve this objective it is 
hereby declared that, consistent with the provisions of this 
Act--

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 320. NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM.

  (a) Management Conference.--

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (g) Grants.--
          (1) Recipients.--The Administrator is authorized to 
        make grants to State, interstate, and regional water 
        pollution control agencies and entities, State coastal 
        zone management agencies, interstate agencies, other 
        public or nonprofit private agencies, institutions, 
        organizations, and individuals.
          (2) Purposes.--Grants under this subsection shall be 
        made to pay for activities necessary for the 
        development and implementation of a comprehensive 
        conservation and management plan under this section.
          (3) Federal share.--The Federal share of a grant to 
        any person (including a State, interstate, or regional 
        agency or entity) under this subsection for a fiscal 
        year--
                  (A) shall not exceed--
                          (i) 75 percent of the annual 
                        aggregate costs of the development of a 
                        comprehensive conservation and 
                        management plan; and
                          (ii) 50 percent of the annual 
                        aggregate costs of the implementation 
                        of the plan; and
                  (B) shall be made on condition that the non-
                Federal share of the costs are provided from 
                non-Federal sources.
          (4) Competitive awards.--
                  (A) In general.--Using the amounts made 
                available under subsection (i)(2)(B), the 
                Administrator shall make competitive awards 
                under this paragraph.
                  (B) Application for awards.--The 
                Administrator shall solicit applications for 
                awards under this paragraph from State, 
                interstate, and regional water pollution 
                control agencies and entities, State coastal 
                zone management agencies, interstate agencies, 
                other public or nonprofit private agencies, 
                institutions, organizations, and individuals.
                  (C) Selection of recipients.--The 
                Administrator shall select award recipients 
                under this paragraph that, as determined by the 
                Administrator, are best able to address urgent 
                and challenging issues that threaten the 
                ecological and economic well-being of coastal 
                areas, including--
                          (i) extensive seagrass habitat losses 
                        resulting in significant impacts on 
                        fisheries and water quality;
                          (ii) recurring harmful algae blooms;
                          (iii) unusual marine mammal 
                        mortalities;
                          (iv) invasive exotic species that may 
                        threaten wastewater systems and cause 
                        other damage;
                          (v) jellyfish proliferation limiting 
                        community access to water during peak 
                        tourism seasons;
                          (vi) flooding that may be related to 
                        sea level rise or wetland degradation 
                        or loss; and
                          (vii) low dissolved oxygen conditions 
                        in estuarine waters and related 
                        nutrient management.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(i) Authorization of Appropriations.-- There are authorized 
to be appropriated to the Administrator not to exceed 
$35,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2001 through 2010 for--
          [(1) expenses related to the administration of 
        management conferences under this section, not to 
        exceed 10 percent of the amount appropriated under this 
        subsection;
          [(2) making grants under subsection (g); and
          [(3) monitoring the implementation of a conservation 
        and management plan by the management conference or by 
        the Administrator, in any case in which the conference 
        has been terminated.
[The Administrator shall provide up to $5,000,000 per fiscal 
year of the sums authorized to be appropriated under this 
subsection to the Administrator of the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration to carry out subsection (j).]
  (i) Authorization of Appropriations.--
          (1) In general.--There is authorized to be 
        appropriated to the Administrator $27,000,000 for each 
        of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 for--
                  (A) making grants and awards under subsection 
                (g); and
                  (B) expenses relating to the administration 
                of grants or awards by the Administrator under 
                this section, including the award and oversight 
                of grants and awards, subject to the condition 
                that such expenses may not exceed 5 percent of 
                the amount appropriated under this subsection 
                for a fiscal year.
          (2) Allocations.--
                  (A) Conservation and management plans.--Not 
                less than 80 percent of the amount made 
                available under this subsection for a fiscal 
                year shall be used by the Administrator for the 
                development, implementation, and monitoring of 
                each conservation and management plan eligible 
                for grant assistance under subsection (g)(2).
                  (B) Competitive awards.--Not less than 15 
                percent of the amount made available under this 
                subsection for a fiscal year shall be used by 
                the Administrator for making competitive awards 
                under subsection (g)(4).