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                                                       Calendar No. 26
115th Congress    }                                      {      Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session      }                                      {      115-15
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                                      

       NATIONAL SEA GRANT COLLEGE PROGRAM AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2017

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 129

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                 March 30, 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
 JIM INHOFE, Oklahoma                 TOM UDALL, New Mexico
 MIKE LEE, Utah                       GARY PETERS, Michigan
 RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
 SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West           TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois
    Virginia
 CORY GARDNER, Colorado               MARGARETWOODHASSAN,NewHampshire
 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. 26
115th Congress    }                                      {      Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session      }                                      {      115-15

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



 
       NATIONAL SEA GRANT COLLEGE PROGRAM AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2017

                                _______
                                

                 March 30, 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. 129]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 129) to reauthorize and amend 
the National Sea Grant College Program Act, 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. 129 is to amend the National Sea Grant 
College Program Act (33 U.S.C. 1121 et seq.) (Sea Grant Act) to 
reauthorize the National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant) 
through 2022 and to improve Sea Grant's ability to enhance the 
practical use and conservation of coastal, marine, and Great 
Lakes resources through research, extension, and education 
activities.

                          Background and Needs

    The Sea Grant Act was first enacted in 1966 and has been 
amended ten times, most recently in 2008. Sea Grant promotes 
research, education, and training to increase the 
understanding, development, management, utilization, and 
conservation of the Nation's coastal, marine, and Great Lakes 
resources. Sea Grant is a partnership between institutions of 
higher learning and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), and also works to build partnerships 
with State, local, and non-governmental (NGO) groups to address 
coastal and marine issues. For more than 40 years, Sea Grant 
has efficiently leveraged Federal funds to create and maintain 
a healthy coastal environment and economy in the United States.
    The Sea Grant network has been expanded gradually over 
time, and now consists of 33 university-based programs covering 
all coastal States, major territories, Lake Champlain, and the 
Great Lakes. The network includes over 3,000 scientists at over 
300 institutions. Sea Grant focuses on the crosscutting goals 
of performing quality research, generating an informed public, 
facilitating inclusive decision making with diverse 
stakeholders, and providing relevant, timely information on 
coastal hazards. Sea Grant's current National Strategic Plan 
(2014-2017) includes four focus areas: (1) healthy coastal 
ecosystems; (2) sustainable fisheries and aquaculture; (3) 
resilient communities and economies; and (4) environmental 
literacy and workforce development. Sea Grant is structured in 
three parts: (1) the National Sea Grant Office (NSGO), based in 
Silver Spring, MD; (2) the Sea Grant Association (SGA), which 
represents the network of State programs; and (3) the Sea Grant 
Advisory Board (SGAB), which is a group of independent expert 
advisors and evaluators. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, with $62.5 
million in appropriations, Sea Grant supported an estimated 
$450 million in economic benefit to the Nation, supported the 
creation or retention of 6,500 businesses, supported the 
creation or retention of 17,500 jobs, generated 5 patents, and 
supported 760 undergraduate and 910 graduate students. For 
grant purposes under section 205(a) of the Sea Grant Act (33 
U.S.C. 1124(a)), Sea Grant is able to leverage Federal funding 
by matching every $2 of Federal funding with an additional $1 
of non-Federal funding from partners.

Strengthening the education mandate and fellowship placement priorities

    Sea Grant has worked to integrate its three program 
elements: (1) research, (2) outreach, and (3) education. 
However, recent proposals by the previous administration 
regarding the consolidation of STEM education into the National 
Science Foundation (NSF) have raised the possibility that the 
core education function could be removed from Sea Grant, thus 
changing the fundamental nature of the program. The currently 
authorized Sea Grant Act includes education as one of the 
primary purposes of Sea Grant (33 U.S.C. 1121(c)) and requires 
Sea Grant to support several fellowships (33 U.S.C. 
1123(b)(3)), but the Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy 
Fellowship (Knauss Fellowship), as written, is currently 
optional. For more than 30 years, the Knauss Fellowship has 
been a highly successful part of Sea Grant, and has brought 
over 1,000 fellows to Washington, D.C. Each year, 10 to 12 of 
the Knauss Fellows are placed in member offices or with 
committees in the Senate or House of Representatives. This bill 
would strengthen the Sea Grant education component by requiring 
the educational component to be maintained.

Developing Sea Grant's regional leadership and expanding priority 
        activities

    Since its inception, Sea Grant has addressed national 
issues at a local level. Although Sea Grant has always had the 
capability of addressing intermediate-scale problems at a 
regional level, it has been difficult to encourage 
collaboration between State programs without a specific 
mandate. Sea Grant has already taken a leadership role by 
developing regional research and information plans over the 
past few years.

Increasing resources for the NSGO

    Currently, the Sea Grant Act mandates a 5 percent cap on 
administrative spending in the NSGO. With this cap, 
approximately 95 percent of the Federal funding provided to Sea 
Grant goes directly to the State programs, where it is used to 
conduct research, carry out extension and outreach activities, 
and deliver direct community services. With relatively flat 
funding and the administrative spending cap set at 5 percent, 
over the past 7 years the NSGO has lost one-third of its full-
time employees, all four of its senior positions, and now has 
less than half the staff that it had in 1991. The SGAB reviewed 
the functions and staffing of NOAA's NSGO in 2002 and 2008. In 
addition, in 2006, the National Research Council reviewed the 
role of the NSGO in program evaluation and administration. Each 
of these reviews concluded that the staffing level of the NSGO 
was not adequate to accomplish the duties required; therefore, 
the National Research Council and SGAB recommended to NOAA and 
the Department of Commerce that additional resources be 
allocated to the NSGO. However, the SGA expressed concern that 
a reallocation of funding to the NSGO would detract from their 
own funding in the States, and would impair their ability to do 
research and outreach in communities. This bill would provide 
an additional 0.5 percent in funding for the NSGO to ensure 
adequate program support while also providing robust funding to 
State programs.
    This bill would remove a required report to Congress that 
is no longer useful. The Sea Grant Act calls for a coordination 
report regarding a decade-old proposal to transfer Sea Grant 
from NOAA to the NSF. However, as that restructuring is no 
longer planned, the need for annual reporting on coordination 
no longer exists. This bill also would alter the reporting 
requirements for the ``State of Sea Grant'' report from 
biennial to every 3 years, in order to alleviate time 
constraints on the SGAB.

                         Summary of Provisions

    The National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 
2017 would reauthorize Sea Grant from 2017 through 2022. The 
bill also would make a number of program adjustments and 
improvements, including:
           creating a more equitable placement of Sea 
        Grant Fellows in congressional offices;
           giving the head of any Federal agency direct 
        hiring authority to hire a Knauss fellow who 
        successfully fulfilled the requirements of their 
        fellowship for up to 2 years after completion of their 
        fellowship;
           adding aquaculture as a priority activity; 
        and
           providing a modest 0.5 percent increase in 
        funding for the NSGO.

    This bill would authorize appropriations of $75.6 million 
for FY 2017, $79.38 million for FY 2018, $83.35 million for FY 
2019, $87.52 million for FY 2020, $91.9 million for FY 2021, 
and $96.5 million for FY 2022, the same amounts authorized in 
the past for the same program. An additional $6 million, $12 
million less than the level authorized in the last 
reauthorization, would be authorized for competitive grants for 
specific priority activities, including non-native species, 
oyster restoration and research, harmful algal blooms, regional 
or national priority issues, aquaculture, and fisheries. 
Regional projects would be a new addition to the scope of 
priority activities. This bill would decrease the authorization 
levels for Sea Grant by over $30 million in FY 2017 compared to 
FY 2014. The Sea Grant Program authorization expired at the end 
of FY 2014.

                          Legislative History

    S. 129 was introduced by Senator Wicker on January 12, 
2017. Senators Schatz, Sullivan, and Cantwell are cosponsors. 
On January 24, 2017, the Committee met in open Executive 
Session and, by voice vote, ordered S. 129 to be reported 
favorably without amendment. Similar bills (S. 764, S. 2328, S. 
3282) were reported out of Committee and passed the Senate last 
Congress.

                            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. 129--National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2017

    Summary: S. 129 would authorize appropriations totaling 
$550 million over the 2017-2022 period for the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to carry out the National 
Sea Grant College Program. That program funds scientific 
research, education, and public outreach related to marine 
issues at certain universities. CBO estimates that $70 million 
of that amount has already been appropriated, on an annualized 
basis, for 2017.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts above 
those already appropriated, CBO estimates that implementing the 
legislation would cost $427 million over the 2017-2022 period. 
Because enacting the legislation would not affect direct 
spending or revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 129 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    S. 129 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 S. 129 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
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Sea Grant Program:
    Estimated Authorization Levela.......        12        79        83        88        92        97        450
    Estimated Outlays....................         8        54        71        83        90        94        400
Sea Grant Priority Grants:
    Estimated Authorization Levelb.......         0         6         6         6         6         6         30
    Estimated Outlays....................         0         4         5         6         6         6         27
    Total Changes:
        Estimated Authorization Level....        12        85        89        94        98       103        480
        Estimated Outlays................         8        58        77        89        96       100        427
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Numbers may not add up to totals because of rounding.
aThe bill would authorize the appropriation of $76 million for the Sea Grant Program for fiscal year 2017;
  however, based on information from NOAA, CBO estimates that $64 million has been allocated on an annualized
  basis from funds made available under the continuing resolution (Public Law 114-254), which provided
  appropriations through April 28, 2017.
bThe bill would authorize the appropriation of $6 million for the Sea Grant Priority Grants for fiscal year
  2017; however, based on information from NOAA, CBO estimates that $8 million has been allocated on an
  annualized basis from funds made available under the continuing resolution (Public Law 114-254), which
  provided appropriations through April 28, 2017. Consequently, no additional funds would be authorized to be
  appropriated for those grants in 2017.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that S. 
129 will be enacted in fiscal year 2017, that the authorized 
amounts will be appropriated for each year, and that outlays 
will follow historical spending patterns for those activities.
    S. 129 would amend and reauthorize the National Sea Grant 
College Program Act. The bill would authorize appropriations 
totaling $514 million over the 2017-2022 period to fund 
activities at a network of 33 Sea Grant programs located at 
universities in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Vermont, 
Puerto Rico, and Guam. Those funds would also be used to 
provide fellowships that support the placement of graduate 
students studying ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources 
within the executive and legislative branches of the federal 
government. In 2017, NOAA allocated $64 million of appropriated 
funds (on an annualized basis) made available under the 
continuing resolution to carry out similar activities. The bill 
would authorize $76 million to be appropriated for such 
activities in 2017. Thus, CBO estimates that S. 129 would 
authorize the appropriation of an additional $12 million for 
2017. Assuming appropriation of those additional amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing those provisions would cost $400 
million over the 2017-2022 period.
    The bill also would authorize the appropriation of $6 
million a year to fund competitive grants for high-priority 
research activities at universities. In 2017, NOAA allocated $8 
million of appropriated funds (on an annualized basis) made 
available under the continuing resolution to carry out similar 
activities. The bill would authorize $6 million to be 
appropriated for such activities in 2017. Thus CBO estimates 
that no additional amounts would be authorized to be 
appropriated for 2017. Activities would include preventing and 
controlling nonnative aquatic species, developing sustainable 
aquaculture techniques, and forecasting and preventing harmful 
algal blooms. Assuming appropriation of authorized amounts 
above those already provided, CBO estimates that implementing 
these provisions would cost $27 million over the 2017-2022 
period.
    Increase in long-term direct spending and deficits: CBO 
estimates that enacting S. 129 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    Pay-as-you-go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 129 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA, and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments. The bill would benefit public universities 
by reauthorizing the National Sea Grant College Program, which 
provides grants to improve marine resource conservation, 
management, and utilization. Any costs incurred by state, 
local, or tribal governments, including matching funds, would 
result from complying with a voluntary federal program.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Jacob Fabian; Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Jon Sperl; Impact on 
the Private Sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, 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. 129, 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

    Enactment of this legislation is not expected to have any 
significant adverse impacts on the Nation's economy.

                                privacy

    The bill would not impact the personal privacy of 
individuals.

                               paperwork

    This bill would add a new reporting requirement, mandating 
that Sea Grant, in consultation with the SGAB and the SGA, 
report to Congress not later than 180 days after the date of 
enactment of this Act its recommendations for optimal use of 
any monetary donations received by Sea Grant. However, this 
bill would likely decrease overall paperwork by eliminating a 
report that is no longer necessary, the Report on the 
Coordination of Oceans and Coastal Research Activities. It 
would decrease a currently authorized report to Congress from 
the SGAB regarding ``The State of Sea Grant,'' from a biennial 
submission to once every 3 years.

                   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 the bill, 
National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2017.

Section 2. References to the National Sea Grant College Program Act.

    This section would state that an amendment or repeal of a 
section or other provision should be considered to be made to 
the National Sea Grant College Program Act (33 U.S.C. 1121 et 
seq.).

Section 3. Modification of Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy 
        Fellowship.

    This section would require that the Knauss Fellowship 
remain within Sea Grant. It would give fellow placement 
preference to offices of, or with members on, committees of 
Congress that have jurisdiction over NOAA and members that have 
a demonstrated interest in ocean, coastal, or Great Lake 
resources. It also would require the Secretary of Commerce 
(Secretary) to ensure placements are equitably distributed 
among the political parties. It would express the sense of 
Congress that participating Federal agencies consider workforce 
positions for fellows at the conclusion of their fellowships. 
This section is in direct response to concerns about imbalances 
in legislative fellow placement. The Committee worked with the 
National Sea Grant College Program Office in the Fall of 2016 
to ensure the placement of the incoming class of 2017 would be 
more equitably distributed among the political parties 
following several years of one or no placements of fellows in 
Republican offices. The class of 2017 will have four fellows in 
Republican offices and the Committee commends the work the 
National Sea Grant College Program Office did to ensure more 
equitable placement.

Section 4. Modification of authority of Secretary of Commerce to accept 
        donations for National Sea Grant College Program.

    This section would allow Sea Grant to accept and develop 
priorities for the use of private donations. It requires the 
Director of Sea Grant to submit to Congress a report not later 
than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Act on the 
optimal use of any donations accepted under this section.

Section 5. Repeal of requirement for Report on Coordination of Oceans 
        and Coastal Research Activities.

    This section would repeal a report to Congress on the 
coordination of activities between Sea Grant and the NSF in 
response to a decade-old proposal to incorporate Sea Grant into 
the NSF. That proposal is no longer being considered; therefore 
the report is not necessary.

Section 6. Reduction in frequency required for National Sea Grant 
        Advisory Board Report.

    This section would require a report to Congress from the 
SGAB regarding ``The State of Sea Grant'' every 3 years, rather 
than biennially, to allow more time for report recommendations 
to be acted upon.

Section 7. Modification of elements of National Sea Grant College 
        Program.

    This section would codify existing findings and clarify 
that Sea Grant is authorized to provide financial assistance 
for research, education, extension, training, technology 
transfer, and public service.

Section 8. Direct hire authority; Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy 
        Fellowship.

    This section would give Federal agencies the authority to 
directly appoint, without regard to the provisions of 
subchapter I of chapter 33 of title 5, United States Code, 
other than sections 3303 and 3328 of that title, a qualified 
candidate who has completed a Knauss Fellowship within the last 
2 years.

Section 9. Authorization of appropriations for National Sea Grant 
        College Program.

    This section would set the authorized appropriations to the 
Secretary to implement the Sea Grant Act at $75.6 million for 
FY 2017, $79.38 million for FY 2018, $83.35 million for FY 
2019, $87.52 million for FY 2020, $91.9 million for FY 2021, 
and $96.5 million for FY 2022.
    An additional $6 million, $12 million less than the amount 
authorized for these programs under the last reauthorization, 
would be authorized for funding competitive grants for specific 
priority activities, including non-native species, oyster 
restoration and research, harmful algal blooms, regional or 
national priority issues, aquaculture, and fisheries. Regional 
projects would be a new addition to the scope of priority 
activities. This bill would decrease the authorization levels 
for Sea Grant by over $30 million in FY 2017 compared to FY 
2014. The Sea Grant Program authorization expired at the end of 
FY 2014.
    This section also would limit spending on the 
administration of the program by the NSGO to 5.5 percent, an 
increase of 0.5 percent over the current levels. Additionally, 
in this section, critical staffing requirements for the NSGO 
would be authorized to be met through the use of the 
Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4701 et 
seq.). The cost of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act 
detailees would not count toward the NSGO administrative 
spending cap, but rather would be paid for by the home office 
of the detail. This increase in administrative cap and 
authority for the use of detailees would balance the needs of 
the NSGO and the goal of retaining Sea Grant's focus on its 
State-based programs.

Section 10. Technical corrections.

    This section would make technical corrections to the Sea 
Grant Act.

                        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):

                 NATIONAL SEA GRANT COLLEGE PROGRAM ACT


                        [33 U.S.C. 1121 et seq.]

SEC. 204. NATIONAL SEA GRANT COLLEGE PROGRAM.

                            [33 U.S.C. 1123]

  (a) Program Maintenance.--The Secretary shall maintain within 
the Administration a program to be known as the national sea 
grant college program. The national sea grant college program 
shall be administered by a national sea grant office within the 
Administration.
  (b) Program Elements.--The national sea grant college program 
shall consist of the financial assistance for research, 
education, extension, training, technology transfer, and public 
service and other activities authorized in this title, and 
shall provide support for the following elements--
          (1) sea grant programs that comprise a national sea 
        grant college program network, including international 
        projects conducted within such programs and regional 
        and national projects conducted among such programs;
          (2) administration of the national sea grant college 
        program and this title by the national sea grant office 
        and the Administration;
          (3) the fellowship program under section 208; and
          (4) any regional or national strategic investments in 
        fields relating to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes 
        resources developed in consultation with the Board and 
        with the approval of the sea grant colleges and the sea 
        grant institutes.
  (c) Responsibilities of the Secretary.--
          (1) The Secretary, in consultation with the Board, 
        sea grant colleges, and sea grant institutes, shall 
        develop at least every 4 years a strategic plan that 
        establishes priorities for the national sea grant 
        college program, provides an appropriately balanced 
        response to local, regional, and national needs, and is 
        reflective of integration with the relevant portions of 
        the strategic plans of the Department of Commerce and 
        of the Administration.
          (2) The Secretary, in consultation with the Board, 
        sea grant colleges, and sea grant institutes, shall 
        establish guidelines related to the activities and 
        responsibilities of sea grant colleges and sea grant 
        institutes. Such guidelines shall include requirements 
        for the conduct of merit review by the sea grant 
        colleges and sea grant institutes of proposals for 
        grants and contracts to be awarded under section 205, 
        providing, at a minimum, for standardized documentation 
        of such proposals and peer review of all research 
        projects.
          (3) The Secretary shall by regulation prescribe the 
        qualifications required for designation of sea grant 
        colleges and sea grant institutes under section 207.
          (4) To carry out the provisions of this title, the 
        Secretary may--
                  (A) appoint, assign the duties, transfer, and 
                fix the compensation of such personnel as may 
                be necessary, in accordance with civil service 
                laws;
                  (B) make appointments with respect to 
                temporary and intermittent services to the 
                extent authorized by section 3109 of title 5, 
                United States Code;
                  (C) publish or arrange for the publication 
                of, and otherwise disseminate, in cooperation 
                with other offices and programs in the 
                Administration and without regard to section 
                501 of title 44, United States Code, any 
                information of research, educational, training 
                or other value in fields related to ocean, 
                coastal, or Great Lakes resources;
                  (D) enter into contracts, cooperative 
                agreements, and other transactions without 
                regard to section 5 of title 41, United States 
                Code;
                  [(E) notwithstanding section 1342 of title 
                31, United States Code, accept donations and 
                voluntary and uncompensated services;]
                  (E) accept donations of money and, 
                notwithstanding section 1342 of title 31, 
                United States Code, of voluntary and 
                uncompensated services;
                  (F) accept funds from other Federal 
                departments and agencies, including agencies 
                within the Administration, to pay for and add 
                to grants made and contracts entered into by 
                the Secretary; and
                  (G) promulgate such rules and regulations as 
                may be necessary and appropriate.
  (d) Director of the National Sea Grant College Program.--
          (1) The Secretary shall appoint, as the Director of 
        the National Sea Grant College Program, a qualified 
        individual who has appropriate administrative 
        experience and knowledge or expertise in fields related 
        to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources. The 
        Director shall be appointed and compensated, without 
        regard to the provisions of title 5, United States 
        Code, governing appointments in the competitive 
        service, at a rate payable under section 5376 of title 
        5, United States Code.
          (2) Subject to the supervision of the Secretary, the 
        Director shall administer the national sea grant 
        college program and oversee the operation of the 
        national sea grant office. In addition to any other 
        duty prescribed by law or assigned by the Secretary, 
        the Director shall--
                  (A) facilitate and coordinate the development 
                of a strategic plan under subsection (c)(1);
                  (B) advise the Secretary with respect to the 
                expertise and capabilities which are available 
                within or through the national sea grant 
                college program and encourage the use of such 
                expertise and capabilities, on a cooperative or 
                other basis, by other offices and activities 
                within the Administration, and other Federal 
                departments and agencies;
                  (C) advise the Secretary on the designation 
                of sea grant colleges and sea grant institutes, 
                and, if appropriate, on the termination or 
                suspension of any such designation; and
                  (D) encourage the establishment and growth of 
                sea grant programs, and cooperation and 
                coordination with other Federal activities in 
                fields related to ocean, coastal, and Great 
                Lakes resources.
          (3) [With respect to sea grant colleges and sea grant 
        institutes] With respect to sea grant colleges, sea 
        grant institutes, sea grant programs, and sea grant 
        projects, the Director shall--
                  (A) evaluate and assess the performance of 
                the programs of sea grant colleges and sea 
                grant institutes, using the priorities, 
                guidelines, and qualifications established by 
                the Secretary under subsection (c), and 
                determine which of the programs are the best 
                managed and carry out the highest quality 
                research, education, extension, and training 
                activities;
                  (B) subject to the availability of 
                appropriations, allocate [funding among sea 
                grant colleges and sea grant institutes] 
                funding among sea grant colleges, sea grant 
                institutes, sea grant programs, and sea grant 
                projects so as to--
                          (i) promote healthy competition among 
                        sea grant colleges and institutes;
                          (ii) encourage collaborations among 
                        sea grant colleges and sea grant 
                        institutes to address regional and 
                        national priorities established under 
                        subsection (c)(1);
                          (iii) ensure successful 
                        implementation of sea grant programs;
                          (iv) to the maximum extent consistent 
                        with other provisions of this Act, 
                        provide a stable base of funding for 
                        sea grant colleges and institutes;
                          (v) encourage and promote 
                        coordination and cooperation between 
                        the research, education, and outreach 
                        programs of the Administration and 
                        those of academic institutions; and
                          (vi) encourage cooperation with 
                        Minority Serving Institutions to 
                        enhance collaborative research 
                        opportunities and increase the number 
                        of such students graduating in NOAA 
                        science areas; and
                  (C) ensure compliance with the guidelines for 
                merit review under subsection (c)(2).

SEC. 208. FELLOWSHIPS.

                            [33 U.S.C. 1127]

  (a) In General.--To carry out the educational and training 
objectives of this Act, the Secretary shall support a program 
of fellowships for qualified individuals at the graduate and 
postgraduate level. The fellowships shall be related to ocean, 
coastal, and Great Lakes resources and awarded pursuant to 
guidelines established by the Secretary. The Secretary shall 
strive to ensure equal access for minority and economically 
disadvantaged students to the program carried out under this 
subsection.
  (b) Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.--[The 
Secretary]
           (1) In general.--The Secretary [may] shall award 
        marine policy fellowships to support the placement of 
        individuals at the graduate level of education in 
        fields related to ocean, coastal and Great Lakes 
        resources in positions with the executive and 
        legislative branches of the United States Government. 
        [A fellowship]
          (2) Placement priorities.--
                  (A) In general.--In each year in which the 
                Secretary awards a legislative fellowship under 
                this subsection, when considering the placement 
                of fellows, the Secretary shall prioritize 
                placement of fellows in the following:
                          (i) Positions in offices of, or with 
                        Members on, committees of Congress that 
                        have jurisdiction over the National 
                        Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
                          (ii) Positions in offices of Members 
                        of Congress that have a demonstrated 
                        interest in ocean, coastal, or Great 
                        Lakes resources.
                  (B) Equitable distribution.--In placing 
                fellows in offices described in subparagraph 
                (A), the Secretary shall ensure that placements 
                are equitably distributed among the political 
                parties.
           (3) Duration.--A fellowship awarded under this 
        subsection shall be for a period of not more than 1 
        year.\1\
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    \1\The amendments made to subsection (b) would apply with respect 
to the first calendar year beginning after the date of enactment of the 
Act.
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  (c) Restriction on Use of Funds.--Amounts available for 
fellowships under this section, including amounts accepted 
under section 204(c)(4)(F) or appropriated under section 212 to 
implement this section, shall be used only for award of such 
fellowships and administrative costs of implementing this 
section.

SEC. 209. NATIONAL SEA GRANT ADVISORY BOARD.

[33 U.S.C. 1128]

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


  (b) Duties.--
          (1) In general.--The Board shall advise the Secretary 
        and the Director concerning--
                  (A) strategies for utilizing the sea grant 
                college program to address the Nation's highest 
                priorities regarding the understanding, 
                assessment, development, management, 
                utilization, and conservation of ocean, 
                coastal, and Great Lakes resources;
                  (B) the designation of sea grant colleges and 
                sea grant institutes; and
                  (C) such other matters as the Secretary 
                refers to the Board for review and advice.
          (2) [Biennial] Periodic report.--[The Board shall 
        report to the Congress every two years] Not less 
        frequently than once every 3 years, the Board shall 
        submit to Congress a report on the state of the 
        national sea grant college program. The Board shall 
        indicate in each such report the progress made toward 
        meeting the priorities identified in the strategic plan 
        in effect under section 204(c). [The Secretary shall]
          (3) Availability of resources of department of 
        commerce.--The Secretary shall make available to the 
        Board such information, personnel, and administrative 
        services and assistance as it may reasonably require to 
        carry out its duties under this title.

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SEC. 212. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

                            [33 U.S.C. 1131]

  (a) Authorization.--
          [(1) In general.--There are authorized to be 
        appropriated to the Secretary to carry out this title--
                  [(A) $ 72,000,000 for fiscal year 2009;
                  [(B) $ 75,600,000 for fiscal year 2010;
                  [(C) $ 79,380,000 for fiscal year 2011;
                  [(D) $ 83,350,000 for fiscal year 2012;
                  [(E) $ 87,520,000 for fiscal year 2013; and
                  [(F) $ 91,900,000 for fiscal year 2014.]
          (1) In general.--There are authorized to be 
        appropriated to the Secretary to carry out this title--
                  (A) $75,600,000 for fiscal year 2017;
                  (B) $79,380,000 for fiscal year 2018;
                  (C) $83,350,000 for fiscal year 2019;
                  (D) $87,520,000 for fiscal year 2020;
                  (E) $91,900,000 for fiscal year 2021; and
                  (F) $96,500,000 for fiscal year 2022.
          [(2) Priority activities.--In addition to the amounts 
        authorized under paragraph (1), there are authorized to 
        be appropriated for each of fiscal years 2009 through 
        2014--
                  [(A) $5,000,000 for competitive grants for 
                university research on the biology, prevention, 
                and control of aquatic nonnative species;
                  [(B) $5,000,000 for competitive grants for 
                university research on oyster diseases, oyster 
                restoration, and oyster-related human health 
                risks;
                  [(C) $5,000,000 for competitive grants for 
                university research on the biology, prevention, 
                and forecasting of harmful algal blooms; and
                  [(D) $3,000,000 for competitive grants for 
                fishery extension activities conducted by sea 
                grant colleges or sea grant institutes to 
                enhance, and not supplant, existing core 
                program funding.]
          (2) Priority activities for fiscal years 2017 through 
        2022.--In addition to the amounts authorized to be 
        appropriated under paragraph (1), there are authorized 
        to be appropriated $6,000,000 for each of fiscal years 
        2017 through 2022 for competitive grants for the 
        following:
                  (A) University research on the biology, 
                prevention, and control of aquatic nonnative 
                species.
                  (B) University research on oyster diseases, 
                oyster restoration, and oyster-related human 
                health risks.
                  (C) University research on the biology, 
                prevention, and forecasting of harmful algal 
                blooms.
                  (D) University research, education, training, 
                and extension services and activities focused 
                on coastal resilience and United States working 
                waterfronts and other regional or national 
                priority issues identified in the strategic 
                plan under section 204(c)(1).
                  (E) University research on sustainable 
                aquaculture techniques and technologies.
                  (F) Fishery extension activities conducted by 
                sea grant colleges or sea grant institutes to 
                enhance, and not supplant, existing core 
                program funding.
  (b) Limitations.--
          [(1) Administration.--There may not be used for 
        administration of programs under this title in a fiscal 
        year more than 5 percent of the lesser of--
                  [(A) the amount authorized to be appropriated 
                under this title for the fiscal year; or
                  [(B) the amount appropriated under this title 
                for the fiscal year.]
          (1) Administration.--
                  (A) In general.--There may not be used for 
                administration of programs under this title in 
                a fiscal year more than 5.5 percent of the 
                lesser of--
                          (i) the amount authorized to be 
                        appropriated under this title for the 
                        fiscal year; or
                          (ii) the amount appropriated under 
                        this title for the fiscal year.
                  (B) Critical staffing requirements.--
                          (i) In general.--The Director shall 
                        use the authority under subchapter VI 
                        of chapter 33 of title 5, United States 
                        Code, to meet any critical staffing 
                        requirement while carrying out the 
                        activities authorized under this title.
                          (ii) Exception from cap.--For 
                        purposes of subparagraph (A), any costs 
                        incurred as a result of an exercise of 
                        authority as described in clause (i) 
                        shall not be considered an amount used 
                        for administration of programs under 
                        this title in a fiscal year.
          (2) Use for other offices or programs.--Sums 
        appropriated under the authority of subsection (a)(2) 
        shall not be available for administration of this title 
        by the National Sea Grant Office, for any other 
        Administration or department program, or for any other 
        administrative expenses.
  [(c) Distribution of Funds.--In any fiscal year in which the 
appropriations made under subsection (a)(1) exceed the amounts 
appropriated for fiscal year 2003 for the purposes described in 
such subsection, the Secretary shall distribute any excess 
amounts (except amounts used for the administration of the sea 
grant program) to any combination of the following:
          [(1) sea grant programs, according to their 
        performance assessments;
          [(2) regional or national strategic investments 
        authorized under section 204(b)(4);
          [(3) a college, university, institution, association, 
        or alliance for activities that are necessary for it to 
        be designated as a sea grant college or sea grant 
        institute; and
          [(4) a sea grant college or sea grant institute 
        designated after the date of enactment of the National 
        Sea Grant College Program Act Amendments of 2002 but 
        not yet evaluated under section 204(d)(3)(A).]
  [(d)](c) Availability of Sums.--Sums appropriated pursuant to 
this section shall remain available until expended.
  [(e)](d) Reversion of Unobligated Amounts.--The amount of any 
grant, or portion of a grant, made to a person under any 
section of this Act that is not obligated by that person during 
the first fiscal year for which it was authorized to be 
obligated or during the next fiscal year thereafter shall 
revert to the Secretary. The Secretary shall add that reverted 
amount to the funds available for grants under the section for 
which the reverted amount was originally made available.

       NATIONAL SEA GRANT COLLEGE PROGRAM ACT AMENDMENTS OF 2002


                            [116 Stat. 2345]

[SEC. 9. REPORT ON COORDINATION OF OCEANS AND COASTAL RESEARCH 
                    ACTIVITIES.

                           [33 U.S.C. 857-20]

  [Not later than February 15 of each year, the Under Secretary 
of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and the Director of the 
National Science Foundation shall jointly submit to the 
Committees on Resources and Science of the House of 
Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate a report on how the oceans and 
coastal research activities of the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, including the Coastal Ocean Program 
and the National Sea Grant College Program, and of the National 
Science Foundation will be coordinated during the fiscal year 
following the fiscal year in which the report is submitted. The 
report shall describe in detail any overlapping ocean and 
coastal research interests between the agencies and specify how 
such research interests will be pursued by the programs in a 
complementary manner.]

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