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                                                     Calendar No. 181
115th Congress      }                                   {      Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session        }                                   {     115-135
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                       SAVE OUR SEAS ACT OF 2017

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 756

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                 July 24, 2017.--Ordered to be printed

                                   ______

                         U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 

69-010                         WASHINGTON : 2017 
                
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                     one hundred fifteenth congress
                             first session

                   JOHN THUNE, South Dakota, Chairman
 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi         BILL NELSON, Florida
 ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
 TED CRUZ, Texas                      AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
 DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
 JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
 DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
 DEAN HELLER, Nevada                  CORY A. BOOKER, New Jersey
 JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma            TOM UDALL, New Mexico
 MIKE LEE, Utah                       GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
 RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
 SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West           TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois
    Virginia
 CORY GARDNER, Colorado               MAGARET WOOD HASSAN, New 
                                         Hampshire
 TODD C. YOUNG, Indiana               CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO, Nevada
                       Nick Rossi, Staff Director
                 Adrian Arnakis, Deputy Staff Director
                    Jason Van Beek, General Counsel
                 Kim Lipsky, Democratic Staff Director
           Christopher Day, Democratic Deputy Staff Director














                                                     Calendar No. 181
115th Congress      }                                   {      Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session        }                                   {     115-135

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



 
                       SAVE OUR SEAS ACT OF 2017

                                _______
                                

                 July 24, 2017.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Thune, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 756]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 756) to reauthorize and amend 
the Marine Debris Act to promote international action to reduce 
marine debris, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of S. 756 is to reauthorize the Marine Debris 
Prevention and Removal Program (Marine Debris Program) of the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It also 
would require NOAA to work with other Federal agencies to 
develop outreach and education strategies on sources of marine 
debris. In addition, this Act would provide the Administrator 
of NOAA (Administrator) the authority to make a severe marine 
debris event determination and make sums available for use by 
the affected State. Lastly, it would promote international 
action to reduce marine debris.

                          Background and Needs

    ``Marine debris'' refers to any persistent, solid material 
that ends up in the marine environment or the Great Lakes.\1\ 
Small pieces of marine debris, like litter, that originate on 
land can be flushed into the ocean via storm drains, rivers, 
and streams often as a result of heavy rainfall or high tide. 
More extreme events like a hurricane, tsunami, or flood might 
deposit larger pieces of refuse into the ocean.\2\ Marine 
debris also can come from fishing vessels (including lost 
fishing gear), cargo ships, or oil and gas platforms. Abandoned 
vessels themselves can become marine debris. In addition to 
being an eyesore when it washes up on a beach, marine debris 
can do the following: pose a hazard to navigation if it becomes 
entangled in propulsion systems or intakes or is a collision 
hazard; endanger human health, especially in the case of 
medical waste; be ingested by, or entangle, marine animals; and 
in the case of derelict fishing gear, continue to net, hook, or 
trap animals, sometimes called ``ghostfishing.''\3\

Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act

    The Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act 
(MDRPRA)\4\ was enacted in December 2006. The MDRPRA 
established within NOAA a Marine Debris Program to reduce and 
prevent the occurrence and adverse impacts of marine debris on 
the marine environment and navigation safety. The MDRPRA 
provides guidelines for the Administrator to enter into 
cooperative agreements and contracts, and provide financial 
assistance in the form of grants through the Marine Debris 
Program for such projects. The MDRPRA amended the Marine 
Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act of 1987\5\ to 
establish an Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee 
(Interagency Committee) to coordinate a comprehensive program 
of marine debris research and activities among Federal 
agencies, in cooperation with nongovernmental organizations, 
industry, universities, States, Indian tribes, and other 
nations. The MDRPRA also directs the Commandant of the Coast 
Guard, in consultation with the Interagency Committee, to 
increase compliance with the International Convention for the 
Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex V\6\ and the 
Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships\7\ with respect to the 
discard of trash from vessels, improvement of waste management 
onboard vessels, and the improvement of international 
cooperation. The MDRPRA directs the Administrator, in 
coordination with the Interagency Committee, to maintain a 
Federal information clearinghouse on marine debris. The MDRPRA 
authorized appropriations from fiscal years (FYs) 2006 through 
2010 at $10,000,000 for the Marine Debris Program, and 
$2,000,000 to the Commandant of the Coast Guard to improve 
implementation of MARPOL.\8\

NOAA Marine Debris Program

    NOAA's Marine Debris Program is part of the Office of 
Response and Restoration within the National Ocean Service. The 
Marine Debris Program seeks to coordinate, strengthen, and 
increase the visibility of marine debris issues and efforts 
within NOAA, other agencies and partners, and among the public. 
The Marine Debris Program is undertaking a national and 
international effort focusing on identifying, reducing, and 
preventing debris in the marine environment. In order to 
achieve its goals, the Marine Debris Program works closely with 
various partners across the United States. The Marine Debris 
Program has funded and helped support numerous projects, 
including aerial surveys of marine debris in Alaska, removal of 
derelict fishing gear from Flower Garden Banks National Marine 
Sanctuary off the Texas coast, high seas marine debris 
monitoring, and online outreach and education programs. The 
Marine Debris Program also sponsors the International Coastal 
Cleanup coordinated by the Ocean Conservancy. That event is the 
largest marine debris and litter cleanup event in the world.\9\ 
More than 790,000 people participated in the 2015 cleanup, with 
events held in 37 States and in more than 90 countries and 
locations around the globe; more than 18,000,000 pounds of 
trash were collected over 25,000 miles.\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Marine 
Debris Program, ``NOAA Marine Debris Program,'' 2017, at https://
marinedebris.noaa.gov/fact-sheets.
    \2\NOAA, Marine Debris Program, at https://marinedebris.noaa.gov.
    \3\Ibid.
    \4\P.L. 109-449
    \5\33 U.S.C. Sec. 1914.
    \6\International Maritime Organization, International Convention 
for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), at http://
www.imo.org/en/about/conventions/listofconventions/pages/international-
convention-for-the-prevention-of-pollution-from-ships-(marpol).aspx.
    \7\33 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 et seq.
    \8\P.L. 109-449
    \9\Ocean Conservancy, ``Fighting for Trash Free Seas: Ending the 
Flow of Trash at the Source,'' at http://www.oceanconservancy.org/
trash-fee-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/.
    \10\Ocean Conservancy, ``30th Anniversary International Coastal 
Clean-up - Annual Report,'' April, 2016, at http://
www.oceanconservancy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/2016-data-release-
1.pdf.
    \11\P.L. 112-213
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         Summary of Provisions

    If enacted, S. 756 would do the following:
           Reauthorize the Marine Debris Program 
        consistent with previous years authorized 
        appropriations.
           Provide the Administrator the authority to 
        make a severe marine debris event determination and 
        make sums available for use.
           Require NOAA to work with other Federal 
        agencies to develop outreach and education strategies 
        on sources of marine debris.
           Promote international action to reduce 
        marine debris.

                          Legislative History

    S. 756 was introduced on March 29, 2017, by Senators 
Sullivan, Whitehouse, Booker, Coons, Peters, Inhofe, Tillis, 
and Murkowski. On April 5, 2017, the Committee met in open 
Executive Session and, by voice vote, ordered S. 756 reported 
without amendment.
    During the 114th Congress, S. 3086, the Marine Debris Act 
Amendments of 2016, which was sponsored by Senator Booker, 
passed the Senate by unanimous consent. Prior to S. 3086, the 
last time marine debris legislation passed Congress was when 
components of the Marine Debris Act Amendments of 2012 (H.R. 
1171) and the Trash Free Seas Act (S. 1119) were included in 
the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012.\11\ 
This was a bipartisan effort that ensured Federal agencies 
continued to work on reducing and removing marine debris, which 
was especially important at a time when marine debris from the 
Japan Tsunami of 2011 was approaching U.S. coasts. That Act, 
however, did not reauthorize the Marine Debris Program.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 756--Save Our Seas Act of 2017

    Summary: S. 756 would reauthorize and amend the Marine 
Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act. The bill would 
authorize the appropriation of $10 million annually over the 
2018-2022 period for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), in coordination with other agencies, to 
carry out activities to reduce the amount of debris in oceans 
and coastal areas, and $2 million annually for the Coast Guard 
(USCG) to better enforce laws related to discarded refuse from 
ships.
    CBO estimates that implementing S. 756 would cost $46 
million over the 2018-2022 period, assuming appropriation of 
the authorized amounts. Enacting S. 756 would affect direct 
spending because it would authorize NOAA to collect and spend 
funds received from nonfederal entities; therefore, pay-as-you-
go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that the bill's net 
effect on direct spending would be negligible. Enacting S. 756 
would not affect revenues.
    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.
    S. 756 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 effect of S. 756 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--
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   2017     2018     2019     2020     2021     2022   2017-2022
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
NOAA Marine Debris Removal:
    Authorization Level........................        0       10       10       10       10       10        50
    Estimated Outlays..........................        0        2        7        9       10       10        38
USCG Enhanced Enforcement:
    Authorization Level........................        0        2        2        2        2        2        10
    Estimated Outlays..........................        0        1        1        2        2        2         8
    Total Costs:
        Authorization Level....................        0       12       12       12       12       12        60
        Estimated Outlays......................        0        3        8       11       12       12        46
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: NOAA = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; USCG = United States Coast Guard.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes S. 756 
will be enacted near the end of 2017 and that the authorized 
amounts will be appropriated each year. Estimated outlays are 
based on historical spending patterns for similar activities.
    The bill would authorize a total of $50 million for NOAA, 
in coordination with other agencies, to carry out activities to 
reduce the amount of debris in oceans and coastal areas (such 
as plastic and lost fishing gear), to maintain a clearinghouse 
of information on marine debris for research purposes, and to 
provide assistance to relevant states under certain 
circumstances. A full year appropriation of NOAA for 2017 has 
not yet been enacted. However, in 2016, NOAA allocated $6 
million to related activities. The bill also would authorize a 
total of $10 million for USCG to improve enforcement of 
existing laws and treaties that address ocean pollution from 
ships as well as to develop and implement a plan to improve 
waste management on ships. No funds have previously been 
allocated to these activities.
    Pay-As-You-Go Considerations: The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go 
Act of 2010 establishes budget-reporting and enforcement 
procedures for legislation affecting direct spending or 
revenues. S. 756 would authorize NOAA to accept and spend, 
without further appropriation, funds provided by private 
entities and foreign governments for the purpose of responding 
to severe marine debris events. Such funds would be recorded in 
the budget as offsetting receipts, which are treated as 
reductions in direct collection of spending. Because CBO 
expects that any funds provided by nonfederal entities for such 
purposes would be spent soon after they are received, we 
estimate the net change in direct spending would be negligible. 
Enacting S. 756 would not affect revenues.
    Increase in long-term direct spending and deficits: 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.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 756 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, land, or 
tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Robert Reese; 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.

                           Regulatory Impact

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    S. 756, as reported, would not create any new programs or 
impose any new regulatory requirements, and therefore would not 
subject any individuals or businesses to new regulations.

                            economic impact

    The legislation is not expected to have a negative impact 
on the Nation's economy.

                                privacy

    The reported bill is not expected to impact the personal 
privacy of individuals.

                               paperwork

    S. 756 would not create increases in paperwork burdens if 
enacted.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.


                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title.

    This section would provide the short title of this bill as 
the ``Save Our Seas Act of 2017'' or the ``SOS Act of 2017''.

Section 2. NOAA Marine Debris Program.

    This section would require the Administrator, working 
through the Marine Debris Program, to work with other Federal 
agencies to develop outreach and education strategies to 
address both land and sea-based sources of marine debris and to 
promote international action to reduce marine debris.

Section 3. Assistance for severe marine debris events.

    This section would give discretion to the Administrator to 
determine whether there is a severe marine debris event and 
provide funds to work with the affected State on cleanup and 
response to the event. Priority would be given to rural or 
remote communities or a habitat of national concern. Not more 
than 5 percent of funds made available to the Federal 
Government for the purpose of responding to a severe marine 
debris event may be used by the Administrator for 
administrative purposes.

Section 4. Sense of Congress on international engagement to respond to 
        marine debris.

    This section would state the sense of Congress that the 
President should support Federal funding for research and 
development of bio-based and other alternatives or 
environmentally feasible improvements to materials that reduce 
municipal solid waste.
    This section would also state that the President should 
work with representatives of foreign countries that contribute 
the most to global marine debris to find solutions and study 
issues related to marine debris, including the long term 
economic impacts and benefits of marine debris on their 
economy, as well as the overall global economy. The President 
also should work with these countries to conclude one or more 
new international agreements that would include the following 
provisions: 1) mitigating the risk of their land-based marine 
debris reaching an ocean; 2) increasing technical assistance 
and investment in waste management, if the President determines 
it is appropriate; and 3) encouraging the United States Trade 
Representative to consider the impact of marine debris in 
relevant future trade agreements.

Section 5. Membership of the Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating 
        Committee.

    This section would add the Department of State and the 
Department of the Interior to the membership of the interagency 
marine debris coordinating committee.

Section 6. Authorization of appropriations.

    This section would authorize appropriations for each of FY 
2018 through FY 2022 at $10,000,000 for the Marine Debris 
Program and $2,000,000 to the Commandant of the Coast Guard to 
improve implementation of MARPOL. This funding would be 
consistent with current authorized levels. Not more than 10 
percent of funds would be used for administrative costs.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 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 
material is printed in italic, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                           MARINE DEBRIS ACT


                        [33 U.S.C. 1951 et seq.]

SEC. 3. NOAA MARINE DEBRIS PROGRAM.

                            [33 U.S.C. 1952]

  (a) Establishment of Program.--There is established, within 
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a Marine 
Debris Program to identify, determine sources of, assess, 
prevent, reduce, and remove marine debris and address the 
adverse impacts of marine debris on the economy of the United 
States, the marine environment, and navigation safety.
  (b) Program Components.--The Administrator, acting through 
the Program and subject to the availability of appropriations, 
shall--
          (1) identify, determine sources of, assess, prevent, 
        reduce, and remove marine debris, with a focus on 
        marine debris posing a threat to living marine 
        resources and navigation safety;
          (2) provide national and regional coordination to 
        assist States, Indian tribes, and regional 
        organizations in the identification, determination of 
        sources, assessment, prevention, reduction, and removal 
        of marine debris;
          (3) undertake efforts to reduce the adverse impacts 
        of lost and discarded fishing gear on living marine 
        resources and navigation safety, including--
                  (A) research and development of alternatives 
                to gear posing threats to the marine 
                environment and methods for marking gear used 
                in certain fisheries to enhance the tracking, 
                recovery, and identification of lost and 
                discarded gear; and
                  (B) the development of effective 
                nonregulatory measures and incentives to 
                cooperatively reduce the volume of lost and 
                discarded fishing gear and to aid in gear 
                recovery;
          (4) undertake outreach and education activities for 
        the public and other stakeholders on sources of marine 
        debris, threats associated with marine debris, and 
        approaches to identifying, determining sources of, 
        assessing, preventing, reducing, and removing marine 
        debris and its adverse impacts on the United States 
        economy, the marine environment, and navigation safety, 
        including outreach and education activities through 
        public-private initiatives; [and]
          (5) develop, in consultation with the Interagency 
        Committee, interagency plans for the timely response to 
        events determined by the Administrator to be severe 
        marine debris events, including plans to--
                  (A) coordinate across agencies and with 
                relevant State, tribal, and local governments 
                to ensure adequate, timely, and efficient 
                response;
                  (B) assess the composition, volume, and 
                trajectory of marine debris associated with a 
                severe marine debris event; and
                  (C) estimate the potential impacts of a 
                severe marine debris event, including economic 
                impacts on human health, navigation safety, 
                natural resources, tourism, and livestock, 
                including aquaculture[.];
          (6) work with other Federal agencies to develop 
        outreach and education strategies to address both land- 
        and sea-based sources of marine debris; and
          (7) work with the Department of State and other 
        Federal agencies to promote international action to 
        reduce the incidence of marine debris.
  (c) * * *
  (d) Assistance for Severe Marine Debris Events.--
          (1) In general.--At the discretion of the 
        Administrator or at the request of the Governor of an 
        affected State, the Administrator shall determine 
        whether there is a severe marine debris event.
          (2) Assistance.--
                  (A) In general.--If the Administrator makes a 
                determination under paragraph (1) that there is 
                a severe marine debris event, the Administrator 
                is authorized to make sums available to be used 
                by the affected State or by the Administrator 
                in cooperation with the affected State--
                          (i) to assist in the cleanup and 
                        response required by the severe marine 
                        debris event; or
                          (ii) such other activity as the 
                        Administrator determines is appropriate 
                        in response to the severe marine debris 
                        event.
                  (B) Priority assistance.--In providing 
                assistance under this paragraph, the 
                Administrator shall prioritize assistance for 
                activities to respond to a severe marine debris 
                event--
                          (i) in a rural or remote community; 
                        or
                          (ii) in a habitat of national 
                        concern.
          (3) Funding.--
                  (A) Federal share.--The Federal share of the 
                cost of an activity carried out under the 
                authority of this subsection shall be--
                          (i) if the activity is funded wholly 
                        by funds made available by an entity, 
                        including the government of a foreign 
                        country, to the Federal Government for 
                        the purpose of responding to a severe 
                        marine debris event, 100 percent of the 
                        cost of the activity; or
                          (ii) for any activity other than an 
                        activity funded as described in clause 
                        (i), 75 percent of the cost of the 
                        activity.
                  (B) Limitation on administrative expenses.--
                In the case of an activity funded as described 
                in subparagraph (A)(i), not more than 5 percent 
                of the funds made available for the activity 
                may be used by the Administrator for 
                administrative expenses.

SEC. 5. COORDINATION.

                            [33 U.S.C. 1954]

  (a) Establishment of Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating 
Committee.--There is established an Interagency Marine Debris 
Coordinating Committee to coordinate a comprehensive program of 
marine debris research and activities among Federal agencies, 
in cooperation and coordination with non-governmental 
organizations, industry, universities, and research 
institutions, States, Indian tribes, and other nations, as 
appropriate.
  (b) Membership.--The Committee shall include a senior 
official from--
          (1) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration, who shall serve as the Chairperson of 
        the Committee;
          (2) the Environmental Protection Agency;
          (3) the United States Coast Guard;
          (4) the United States Navy[; and];
          (5) the Department of State;
          (6) the Department of the Interior; and
          [(5)](7) such other Federal agencies that have an 
        interest in ocean issues or water pollution prevention 
        and control as the Secretary of Commerce determines 
        appropriate.
  (c) * * *

[SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

                            [33 U.S.C. 1958]

  [There are authorized to be appropriated for each fiscal year 
2006 through 2010--]
          [(1) to the Administrator for carrying out sections 3 
        and 6, $10,000,000, of which no more than 10 percent 
        may be for administrative costs; and
          [(2) to the Secretary of the Department in which the 
        Coast Guard is operating, for the use of the Commandant 
        of the Coast Guard in carrying out section 4, 
        $2,000,000, of which no more than 10 percent may be 
        used for administrative costs.]

SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  There are authorized to be appropriated for each fiscal year 
2018 through 2022--
          (1) to the Administrator for carrying out sections 3, 
        5, and 6, $10,000,000, of which no more than 10 percent 
        may be for administrative costs; and
          (2) to the Secretary of the Department in which the 
        Coast Guard is operating, for the use of the Commandant 
        of the Coast Guard in carrying out section 4, 
        $2,000,000, of which no more than 10 percent may be 
        used for administrative costs.

                                  [all]