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115th Congress   }                                       {  Rept. 115-278
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session     }                                       {     Part 1




August 25, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed


Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 1807]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 1807) to exempt from the Lacey Act and the Lacey 
Act Amendments of 1981 certain water transfers between any of 
the States of Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana, 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. 1807 is to exempt from the Lacey Act 
and the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 certain water transfers 
between any of the States of Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.


    H.R. 1807 exempts water transfers between the States of 
Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana from certain federal restrictions 
associated with the movement of injurious wildlife between 
public bodies of water within the three states if certain 
criteria are met.
    The Lacey Act, originally enacted in 1900 (16 U.S.C. 3371 
et seq.), makes it unlawful to import, export, sell, acquire, 
or purchase fish, wildlife or plants that are taken, possessed, 
transported, or sold in violation of federal, state, tribal or 
foreign law or treaty. The Lacey Act includes an ``injurious 
wildlife'' category where non-native or invasive wildlife can 
be controlled by prohibiting ``the importation into the United 
States . . . or any shipment between [the States]'' of these 
species. Injurious wildlife includes amphibians, birds, 
crustaceans, fish, mammals, mollusks, reptiles and their 
offspring deemed harmful ``to human beings, to the interests of 
agriculture, horticulture, forestry, or to wildlife or the 
wildlife resources of the United States.'' Animals are added to 
the list by Congressional amendment or by regulatory actions. 
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), there 
are currently 621 species listed as injurious wildlife, 
including 316 species of fish, mollusks and crustaceans, 91 
mammal species, nine species of reptiles and four species of 
    Exemption from this provision requires a permit from the 
FWS or an act of Congress. The federal penalty for an injurious 
wildlife violation is up to six months in prison and a $5,000 
fine for an individual or a $10,000 fine for an organization. 
In recent years, the injurious wildlife provision of the Lacey 
Act has resulted in water supply disruptions where the relevant 
harmful species is found in all bodies of water involved in the 
water transfers.
    For example, the Lake Texoma reservoir project was 
completed in 1944 to control the floodwaters of the Red River, 
and it provides a vital water supply and produces hydropower on 
the border between Texas and Oklahoma. In 1989, the U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers granted an easement and permit to the North 
Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) to construct and operate 
an intake/pumping station at Lake Texoma. The NTMWD currently 
supplies drinking water to over 1.6 million people in the 
Dallas-Fort Worth area.
    Since 2009, zebra mussels, listed as an injurious species 
in 1990, have been identified in Lake Texoma's water, and in 
December 2010, the FWS suspended without notice NTMWD's ability 
to pump water from Lake Texoma due to Lacey Act restrictions. 
This was a result of a surveyor's error associated with the Red 
River Boundary Compact Commission that mistakenly located two-
thirds of NTMWD's Lake Texoma pump station in Oklahoma instead 
of Texas. Because of this error, continuing operations at the 
pump station would result in a violation of the Lacey Act due 
to the presence of invasive zebra mussels that would be 
transported across state lines. These restrictions resulted in 
the loss of 28% of the NTMWD's water supply in the midst of a 
severe drought.
    In 2012, Congress restored NTMWD's ability to pump water 
from Lake Texoma by enacting the North Texas Zebra Mussel 
Barrier Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-237). This law permitted 
NTMWD to transfer water out of Lake Texoma without triggering 
Lacey Act penalties if the water was transported through a 
closed conveyance system to a water treatment plant. The NTMWD 
spent $310 million to construct the 46 mile closed barrier 
pipeline to its treatment plant. In 2014, Congress enacted the 
North Texas Invasive Species Barrier Act of 2014 (Public Law 
113-117), which broadened the NTMWD's exemption to include all 
injurious species listed under the Lacey Act.
    Other nearby communities, including those that use the 
Sabine River and Toledo Basin Reservoir on the eastern border 
between Louisiana and Texas, are no more than an invasive 
species listing away from having their water supplies 
interrupted by Lacey Act restrictions. For example, the Sabine 
River Authority of Texas is currently constructing a new pump 
station located only a few yards away from the Louisiana side 
of the Sabine River. There are concerns that the Lacey Act will 
similarly disrupt the water supplied by the Sabine River 
Authority to its customer water agencies along the Texas Gulf 
    H.R. 1807 provides for the continued transport of water 
across Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana if a species listed under 
the Lacey Act is located in both of the public water supplies 
between which the water is transferred or if the water is 
conveyed through a closed barrier conveyance system to 
treatment facilities where invasive species will be removed. 
The bill provides a path forward to address Lacey Act issues on 
a multi-state basis as opposed to the case-by-case basis 
represented by Public Law 112-237 and Public Law 113-117. H.R. 
1807 provides much needed water supply certainty for affected 
communities in these States.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1. This section establishes the short title of the 
bill as the ``Public Water Supply Invasive Species Compliance 
Act of 2017''.
    Section 2. This section exempts from the Lacey Act 
transfers of water containing prohibited species between public 
water supplies located on, along, or across the State 
boundaries between Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana if: (1) the 
water is transferred directly between the public water supplies 
and both bodies of water contain all of the prohibited species; 
or (2) the water is transferred in a closed barrier conveyance 
system directly to treatment facilities that will remove all 
prohibited species.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 1807 was introduced on March 30, 2017, by Congressman 
Louie Gohmert (R-TX). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on Water, Power and Oceans. The bill was additionally referred 
to the Committee on the Judiciary. On April 26, 2017, the Full 
Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The 
Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans was discharged by 
unanimous consent. Congressman Alan S. Lowenthal (D-CA) offered 
an amendment designated 001; it was not adopted by a roll call 
vote of 17 ayes to 21 noes, as follows:

    No additional amendments were offered and on April 27, 
2017, the bill was adopted and ordered favorably reported by a 
roll call vote of 19 ayes and 17 noes, as follows:


    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.


    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, May 11, 2017.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1807, the Public 
Water Supply Invasive Species Compliance Act of 2017.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
                                                        Keith Hall.

H.R. 1807--Public Water Supply Invasive Species Compliance Act of 2017

    H.R. 1807 would exempt from prosecution under the Lacey Act 
entities that make certain transfers of water containing 
invasive species between any of the states of Texas, Arkansas, 
and Louisiana. The Lacey Act protects plants and wildlife by 
creating civil and criminal penalties for various violations, 
including transferring invasive species across state borders.
    Based on information provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (USFWS), CBO estimates that implementing the 
legislation would have no significant effect on the federal 
budget. Under current law, federal agencies, including the 
USFWS and the Department of Justice, have the authority to 
negotiate agreements that would allow for the type of transfers 
described in the bill without prosecution.
    Enacting H.R. 1807 could reduce revenues from penalties 
under the Lacey Act; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. 
However, CBO estimates that any such reductions would be 
negligible. Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending.
    CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would not 
increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of 
the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 1807 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 H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. 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 exempt from the Lacey Act and the 
Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 certain water transfers between 
any of the States of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

                           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. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any 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.


    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 

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    We oppose H.R. 1807 because it would weaken the protections 
put in place by the Lacey Act to prevent the spread of harmful 
invasive species. H.R. 1807 exempts water transfers between the 
States of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana from Lacey Act 
restrictions. The Lacey Act, among other things, makes it 
illegal to import or ship between states any species listed 
under the Act without a permit issued by the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (FWS).
    Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) introduced H.R. 1807 to 
address concerns that the Lacey Act would disrupt the water 
supplied by the Sabine River Authority to its customer water 
agencies along the Texas Gulf Coast. However, unlike similar 
enacted legislation that addressed Lacey Act water transfer 
issues on a case-by-case basis, this bill would provide for a 
multi-state exemption with less protections.\1\
    \1\For example, the ``North Texas Zebra Mussel Barrier Act of 
2012'' (P.L. 112-237) and the ``North Texas Invasive Species Barrier 
Act of 2014'' (P.L. 113-117).
    We have worked with Committee Republicans and water 
districts in the past to craft narrow exemptions to the Lacey 
Act allowing transfers of water across state lines when 
invasive species could be present. In those cases, we have 
required that the water be transferred through a closed 
conveyance, and all invasive species be eradicated at a 
treatment facility before the transfer is completed. Those 
requirements have allowed the transfers to take place without 
risking the spread of invasive species like zebra mussels, 
which have done massive ecological and economic harm to 
waterways and infrastructure in many parts of the country.
    H.R. 1807 envisions a broader exemption for water transfers 
between Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The bill would allow 
interstate water transfers that carry invasive species to occur 
without the safeguards of a closed conveyance system or water 
treatment, opening the environment and taxpayers up to 
significant harm. Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee 
Ranking Member Lowenthal (D-CA) offered an amendment at 
Committee markup that would have put those safeguards in place 
but the amendment was rejected. Therefore we cannot support 
this bill.

                                   Raul M. Grijalva,
                                           Ranking Member,
                                           House Committee on
                                           Natural Resources.
                                   Jared Huffman,
                                           Ranking Member,
                                           Subcommittee on Water,
                                           Power and Oceans.
                                   Colleen Hanabusa,
                                           Member of Congress.
                                   Darren Soto,
                                           Member of Congress.
                                   A. Donald McEachin,
                                           Ranking Member,
                                           Subcommittee on Oversight
                                           and Investigations.
                                   Grace F. Napolitano,
                                           Ranking Member.
                                   Donald S. Beyer, Jr.
                                           Member of Congress.
                                   Nanette Diaz Barragan,
                                           Member of Congress.
                                   Jimmy Panetta,
                                           Member of Congress.