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116th Congress    }                                  {   Rept. 116-244
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                  {          Part 1

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



 
 SCIENTIFIC ASSISTANCE FOR VERY ENDANGERED NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALES 
                              ACT OF 2019

                                _______
                                

October 18, 2019.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Grijalva, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 1568]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 1568) to assist in the conservation of the North 
Atlantic right whale by supporting and providing financial 
resources for North Atlantic right whale conservation programs 
and projects of persons with expertise required for the 
conservation of North Atlantic right whales, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do 
pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Scientific Assistance for Very 
Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales Act of 2019'' or the ``SAVE 
Right Whales Act''.

            TITLE I--NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE CONSERVATION

SEC. 101. NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE CONSERVATION ASSISTANCE.

  (a) Assistance.--
          (1) In general.--Subject to the availability of funds and in 
        consultation with other Federal officials, the Secretary of 
        Commerce (in this title referred to as the ``Secretary'') shall 
        provide competitive financial assistance, including multiyear 
        grants, for projects for the conservation of North Atlantic 
        right whales for which project proposals are approved by the 
        Secretary in accordance with this section.
          (2) Use of existing authorities.--Assistance provided under 
        this section shall be carried out in a manner consistent with 
        authorities available to the Secretary under the Endangered 
        Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and the Marine 
        Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.).
  (b) Project Proposals.--
          (1) Eligible applicants.--A project proposal may be submitted 
        to the Secretary under this section by--
                  (A) relevant State and tribal agencies, research 
                institutions, and nonprofit organizations with 
                expertise required for the conservation of North 
                Atlantic right whales; and
                  (B) any other individual or entity, as determined 
                appropriate by the Secretary, with the expertise 
                required for the conservation of North Atlantic right 
                whales, including large whale disentanglement teams 
                approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
                Administration and members in good standing of the 
                National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response 
                Program, sectors of the shipping and fishing 
                industries, fishing gear manufacturers, and rope 
                manufacturers.
          (2) Federal partnership opportunities.--A Federal agency may 
        not be a lead entity or receive funding for a project under 
        this section, but may be included as a partner or collaborator 
        on a project that receives such funding.
          (3) Required elements.--A project proposal shall include--
                  (A) a statement of the purposes of the project;
                  (B) the name of the entity or individual with overall 
                responsibility for the project;
                  (C) a description of the qualifications of the entity 
                or individuals that will conduct the project;
                  (D) a description of--
                          (i) methods for project implementation and 
                        outcome assessment;
                          (ii) staffing and stakeholder engagement for 
                        the project;
                          (iii) the logistics of the project;
                          (iv) an estimated timeline for the project; 
                        and
                          (v) anticipated outcomes of the project;
                  (E) a proposed budget for the funds and time required 
                to complete the project;
                  (F) information regarding the source and amount of 
                matching funding available for the project;
                  (G) information that demonstrates the clear potential 
                of the project to contribute to the conservation of 
                North Atlantic right whales; and
                  (H) any other information that the Secretary 
                considers to be necessary for evaluating the 
                eligibility of the project for funding under this Act.
  (c) Annual Grant Project Proposal Solicitation, Review, and 
Approval.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary shall annually--
                  (A) solicit project proposals for grants under this 
                section;
                  (B) provide to other Federal officials, as 
                appropriate, copies of each proposal submitted in 
                response to the solicitation; and
                  (C) review each such proposal on a timeline that 
                recognizes the urgency of the declining North Atlantic 
                right whale population to determine whether the 
                proposal meets the criteria specified in subsection 
                (d).
          (2) Consultation; approval or disapproval.--Subject to the 
        availability of funds, the Secretary shall, with respect to 
        each project proposal submitted under this section, and after 
        consulting with other Federal officials, as appropriate--
                  (A) consult with respect to the proposal with the 
                government of each State and foreign country in which 
                the project is to be conducted;
                  (B) after taking into consideration any comments 
                resulting from the consultation and any potential 
                losses that could be incurred to the fishing industry 
                as a result of the proposal, approve or disapprove the 
                proposal; and
                  (C) provide written notification of the approval or 
                disapproval to the individual or entity that submitted 
                the proposal, other Federal officials, and each State 
                and foreign country described in subparagraph (A).
  (d) Criteria for Approval.--The Secretary may approve a project 
proposal under this section if the project shows promise for 
contributing to recovering and sustaining a viable population of North 
Atlantic right whales in the wild by assisting efforts to--
          (1) implement conservation programs;
          (2) address the unintentional conflicts between humans and 
        North Atlantic right whales through development, testing, and 
        use of innovative technology or other methods to reduce the 
        lethal and sub-lethal effects on North Atlantic right whales 
        from vessel collisions and fishing gear entanglements;
          (3) promote cooperative projects on such topics with foreign 
        governments; or
          (4) promote cooperative projects on such topics with affected 
        local communities, small businesses such as fishermen, others 
        in the private sector, or nongovernmental organizations.
  (e) Priority.--To the extent practicable, in determining whether to 
approve project proposals under this section, the Secretary shall 
prioritize projects that are designed to reduce the lethal and sub-
lethal effects of human activities on North Atlantic right whales. In 
prioritizing such projects, the Secretary shall prioritize, among such 
projects, projects that are cooperative in nature and include fishing 
or shipping sector participants.
  (f) Matching Requirement.--
          (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (3), the 
        non-Federal share of the costs of an activity conducted with 
        financial assistance under this section shall be 25 percent of 
        such costs.
          (2) In-kind contributions.--The Secretary may apply to the 
        non-Federal share of an activity conducted with financial 
        assistance under this section the amount of funds, and the fair 
        market value of property and services, provided by non-Federal 
        sources and used for the activity.
          (3) Waiver of requirements.--The Secretary may waive the 
        application of paragraph (1) if the Secretary finds that such 
        waiver is necessary to support a conservation project that the 
        Secretary has identified as of high priority.
  (g) Project Reporting.--
          (1) In general.--Each individual or entity that receives 
        assistance under this section for a project shall submit to the 
        Secretary periodic reports (at such intervals as the Secretary 
        may require) that include all information that the Secretary, 
        after consultation with other government officials, determines 
        is necessary to evaluate the progress and success of the 
        project for the purposes of ensuring positive results, 
        assessing problems, and fostering improvements.
          (2) Availability to the public.--Reports under paragraph (1), 
        and any other documents relating to projects for which 
        financial assistance is provided under this Act, shall be made 
        available to the public in a timely manner.

SEC. 102. NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE INTERAGENCY BUDGET.

  (a) In General.--The Director of the Office of Management and Budget 
shall include, in the budget of the President submitted to Congress 
under section 1105(a) of title 31, United States Code, for fiscal year 
2021 and each fiscal year thereafter, an interagency budget that 
displays for each Federal agency that engages in North Atlantic right 
whale activities--
          (1) the amount of appropriations and expenditures for the 
        preceding fiscal year for such activities and a description of 
        such activities;
          (2) the estimated amount to be expended during the current 
        fiscal year for such activities and a description of such 
        activities; and
          (3) the amount estimated to be necessary for the next fiscal 
        year for such activities and a description of such activities.
  (b) North Atlantic Right Whale Activities Defined.--In this section, 
the term ``North Atlantic right whale activities'' means any activity 
of a Federal agency to study, observe, monitor, manage, protect, 
conserve, or restore the North Atlantic right whale population through 
direct or indirect means, including through the provision of 
competitive financial assistance to non-Federal entities.

SEC. 103. REPORT TO CONGRESS.

  Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, 
and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a 
report on the results and effectiveness of projects receiving 
assistance provided under this title, including recommendations 
concerning how this title might be improved and whether funding for 
this title should be continued in the future.

SEC. 104. FUNDING.

  (a) Authorization of Appropriations.--
          (1) Authorization.--There is authorized to be appropriated to 
        the Secretary to carry out this title $5,000,000 for each of 
        fiscal years 2019 through 2029.
          (2) Administrative expenses.--Of the amounts authorized to be 
        appropriated under this subsection for a fiscal year, the 
        Secretary may expend not more than 5 percent, or up to $80,000, 
        whichever is greater, to pay the administrative expenses 
        necessary to carry out this Act.
          (3) Supplement not supplant.--The amount authorized to be 
        appropriated by paragraph (1) shall supplement and not supplant 
        other amounts available to the Secretary.
  (b) Acceptance and Use of Donations.--The Secretary may accept, 
receive, solicit, hold, administer, and use any gift, devise, or 
bequest to provide assistance under section 5.

                 TITLE II--CONTINUOUS PLANKTON RECORDER

SEC. 201. SURVEY.

  (a) In General.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, and on an ongoing basis thereafter, the 
Secretary of Commerce shall conduct a continuous plankton recorder 
survey.
  (b) Required Elements.--For the purpose of conducting the survey 
required under subsection (a), the Secretary of Commerce shall--
          (1) to the extent possible, utilize the resources of and 
        partner with, on a volunteer basis, research institutions, 
        nonprofit organizations, commercial vessels, and other Federal 
        agencies;
          (2) in as short a time as possible, ensure relevant survey 
        samples and results are analyzed, stored, archived, and made 
        publicly available;
          (3) prioritize the collection of plankton samples and data 
        that inform the conservation of North Atlantic right whales; 
        and
          (4) to the extent practicable, coordinate with the Government 
        of Canada to develop a transboundary understanding of plankton 
        abundance and distribution.
  (c) Authorization of Appropriations.--To carry out this section there 
is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Commerce $300,000 
for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2029.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 1568 is to assist in the conservation 
of the North Atlantic right whale by supporting and providing 
financial resources for North Atlantic right whale conservation 
programs and projects and by conducting a plankton survey.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    For over a thousand years, the North Atlantic right whale, 
Eubalaena glacialis, was hunted by humans for its oil, meat, 
and baleen. Its name originates from early whalers calling it 
the ``right'' whale to hunt due to its slow movement, close 
proximity to shore, and the fact that its large amounts of 
blubber cause it to float after being killed.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\See, e.g., NOAA Fisheries, Right Whales, Marine Mammal Education 
Web, https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/nmml/education/cetaceans/right.php.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Since 1935, right whales have been protected by the 
International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, with 
additional protections granted by the Marine Mammal Protection 
Act in 1972 and the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Between 
1990 and 2010, the population slowly grew by about 2.8 percent 
per year.\2\ But since 2010, with emerging threats from ship 
strikes, fishing gear entanglement, and underwater noise, the 
North Atlantic right whale population is on the decline once 
again, with calving rates dropping by nearly 40 percent from 
2010-2016,\3\ and an unprecedented twenty North Atlantic right 
whale deaths in 2017 and 2018, representing more than 4 percent 
of the population.\4\ Of the twenty mortalities observed, five 
were attributed to blunt force trauma from vessel strikes, 
three confirmed mortalities were from entanglements in fishing 
gear, and four additional mortalities are suspected to be from 
fishing gear entanglements.\5\ The most recent best estimate is 
that only 411 right whales remain.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Gordon T. Waring et al., US Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Marine 
Mammal Stock Assessments--2015 (2016), NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-
NE-238, https://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/tm/tm238/tm238.pdf.
    \3\Scott D. Kraus et al., Opinion Article, Recent Scientific 
Publications Cast Doubt on North Atlantic Right Whale Future, Frontiers 
In Marine Science (Aug. 17, 2016), https://doi.org/10.3389/
fmars.2016.00137.
    \4\H.M. Pettis et al., North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium 2018 
Annual Report Card 2 (2018), https://www.narwc.org/uploads/1/1/6/6/
116623219/2018report_cardfinal.pdf.
    \5\NOAA Fisheries, Marine Life in Distress, 2017-2019 North 
Atlantic Right Whale Unusual Mortality Event, https://
www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-life-distress/2017-2019-north-
atlantic-right-whale-unusual-mortality-event.
    \6\Pettis et al., supra note 4, at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    There is also significant evidence that climate change is 
shifting the migration routes of the North Atlantic right 
whale. The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99 percent of 
the global ocean.\7\ Warmer waters are causing ocean currents 
to change, and right whales have expanded their foraging 
distribution further north to into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 
Canada.\8\ Several studies have demonstrated the importance of 
plankton availability to the reproductive success and survival 
of right whales.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Andrew J. Pershing et al., Slow Adaptation in the Face of Rapid 
Warming Leads to Collapse of the Gulf of Maine Cod Fishery, 350 Science 
6262, 809 (2015), https://science.sciencemag.org/content/350/6262/809.
    \8\Sean A. Hayes et al., North Atlantic Right Whales--Evaluating 
Their Recovery Challenges in 2018 (2018), NOAA Technical Memorandum 
NMFS-NE-247, https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/protected/
whaletrp/trt/meetings/September%202018/tm247_2_.pdf.
    \9\Erin L. Meyer-Gutbrod & Charles H. Greene, Uncertain Recovery of 
the North Atlantic Right Whale in a Changing Ocean, Global Change Biol. 
(Oct. 31, 2017), https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13929; Meyer-Gutbrod et 
al., Climate-Associated Changes in Prey Availability Drive Reproductive 
Dynamics of the North Atlantic Right Whale Population, 535 Marine 
Ecology Progress Series 243 (2015), https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11372.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 1568, the Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered 
North Atlantic Right Whales Act (SAVE Right Whales Act), would 
assist in the conservation of the North Atlantic right whale by 
supporting and providing financial resources for research to 
develop, test, or use innovative technologies and other 
strategies to reduce entanglements and vessel collisions. The 
bill also requires the Secretary of Commerce to conduct a 
continuous plankton recorder survey to determine the 
availability of plankton--right whales' primary food source--in 
a set area to better determine the likelihood that right whales 
could be present. This survey would help with real-time 
management of fishing activity.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 1568 was introduced on March 6, 2019, by 
Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA). The bill was referred to 
the Committee on the Budget and the Committee on Natural 
Resources, and within the latter Committee to the Subcommittee 
Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. On March 26, 2019, the 
Subcommittee held a hearing to consider the bill. On May 1, 
2019, the Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. 
The Subcommittee was discharged by unanimous consent. Chair 
Grijalva (D-AZ) offered an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute; it was adopted by unanimous consent. The bill, as 
amended, was ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by a roll call vote of 23 yeas and 13 nays, as 
follows:

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]

                                HEARINGS

    For the purposes of section 103(i) of H. Res. 6 of the 
116th Congress--the following hearings were used to develop or 
consider H.R. 1568: Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife 
oversight hearing on ``Examining the Threats to the North 
Atlantic Right Whale,'' held on March 7, 2019; and Subcommittee 
on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife legislative hearing on H.R. 
1326, H.R. 877, H.R. 1809, H.R. 737, H.R. 1305, H.R. 1380, and 
H.R. 1568, held on March 26, 2019.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

            Title I--North Atlantic Right Whale Conservation

    Section 101. North Atlantic Right Whale Conservation 
Assistance. This section provides for financial assistance and 
grants from NOAA for projects focused on the conservation of 
North Atlantic right whales. These grants can go to state and 
tribal agencies, research institutions, nonprofit 
organizations, and any other individuals or entities who 
possess the expertise required for conservation of North 
Atlantic right whales. Project proposals must include methods, 
staffing and stakeholder engagement, logistics, timeline, and 
anticipated outcomes, including the potential of the project to 
contribute to the conservation of North Atlantic right whales. 
Priority projects would be ones that reduce lethal and sub-
lethal effects of human activities on right whales. Grant 
recipients must also demonstrate at least 25 percent non-
federal matching funds and submit reports on the status of the 
project.
    Section 102. North Atlantic Right Whale Interagency Budget. 
This section requires the Office of Management and Budget to 
submit an interagency budget displaying the appropriations and 
expenditures on North Atlantic right whale activities for each 
agency involved.
    Section 103. Report to Congress. This section requires an 
annual report from NOAA to Congress regarding the results and 
effectiveness of the projects funded under the bill.
    Section 104. Funding. This section authorizes $5 million 
per year through fiscal year 2029. The greater of $80,000 or 5 
percent of the appropriated amount can be used each year for 
administrative expenses. Donations can also be used.

                 Title II--Continuous Plankton Recorder

    Section 201. Survey. This section authorizes a continuous 
plankton recorder survey conducted by the Northeast Fisheries 
Science Center in coordination with other research 
institutions, nonprofit organizations, commercial vessels, and 
federal agencies. The survey should prioritize the data that 
inform the conservation of North Atlantic right whales. The 
survey is authorized at $300,000 per year through fiscal year 
2029.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

      COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT

    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 13, 2019.
Hon. Raul M. Grijalva,
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. 1568, the SAVE 
Right Whales Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Robert Reese.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
    

    H.R. 1568 would authorize the appropriation of $5.3 million 
annually from 2019 through 2029 for the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide competitive grants 
for projects to conserve a particular species of whales, known 
as the North Atlantic right whales, ($5.0 million) and to 
conduct surveys using a device known as a continuous plankton 
recorder on an ongoing basis ($0.3 million).
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing H.R 1568 would cost $50 million 
over the 2019-2029 period and $3 million after 2029. The costs 
of the legislation, detailed in Table 1, would fall into budget 
function 300 (natural resources and environment).

                                   TABLE 1.--ESTIMATED INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION UNDER H.R. 1568
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     By fiscal year, millions of dollars--
                                                     ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       2019a   2020   2021   2022   2023   2024   2025   2026   2027   2028   2029  2019-2024  2019-2029
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Increases in Spending Subject to Appropriation
 
Authorization.......................................       5      5      5      5      5      5      5      5      5      5      5        32         58
Estimated Outlays...................................       0      3      4      5      5      5      5      5      5      5      5        24         50
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Components may not sum to totals because of rounding; n.a. = not applicable.
aH.R. 1568 would authorize appropriations totaling $5.3 million for 2019. CBO does not estimate any outlays for those authorizations because
  appropriations for 2019 have already been provided.

    Under the bill, NOAA also would be authorized to accept and 
spend monetary gifts to supplement appropriated funds provided 
for the right whale conservation grants. The receipt and 
spending of such gifts are recorded in the budget as direct 
spending. Because any money received would probably be spent 
soon thereafter, CBO estimates that the net effect on direct 
spending would be negligible.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Robert Reese. 
The estimate was reviewed 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 goals and 
objectives of this bill is to assist in the conservation of the 
North Atlantic right whale by supporting and providing 
financial resources for North Atlantic right whale conservation 
programs and projects and by conducting a plankton survey.

                           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.

                 UNFUNDED MANDATES REFORM ACT STATEMENT

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                           EXISTING PROGRAMS

    This bill does not establish or reauthorize a program of 
the federal government known to be duplicative of another 
program.

                  APPLICABILITY TO LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

               PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL, OR TRIBAL LAW

    Any preemptive effect of this bill over state, local, or 
tribal law is intended to be consistent with the bill's 
purposes and text and the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the 
U.S. Constitution.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes to existing 
law.

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    The Right whale got its name from the whalers who drove it 
nearly to extinction in the 19th Century. It was the ``right'' 
whale to hunt to supply the lucrative whale oil market. Decades 
of predation have reduced its numbers in the Atlantic to the 
point that it now lacks a sufficient genetic pool to produce a 
healthy growing population.
    Some would use the struggling population to blame seismic 
testing for oil and gas exploration, but the fact is that other 
whale populations in the North Atlantic have been growing at a 
healthy rate. Blue whales, (growing about 3 percent per year), 
Humpback Whales (which have recovered their pre-whaling 
populations), Fin whales (growing 4 to 5 percent per year in 
the North Pacific with their populations in the North Atlantic 
described as ``healthy.'' All this according to the 
International Whaling Commission (IWC).\1\
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    \1\https://iwc.int/index.php?cID=status.
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    And fortunately, the Right Whale populations in the South 
Atlantic and Pacific are also recovering. Also according to the 
IWC, ``the breeding populations of (right whales in) Argentina/
Brazil, South Africa and Australia have shown evidence of 
strong recovery with annual increase rates of 7-8% and together 
may now total over 16,000 . . .''
    I had feared that when the subcommittee considered the 
issue, it would attempt to ban oil and gas exploration in the 
North Atlantic. I noted at the hearing that ``Most whale 
species are recovering in the Northern Hemisphere and the Right 
whale population is making a strong recovery in the Southern 
Hemisphere--all under current conditions. Happily, so too is 
American energy independence and the American economy, with 
great promise of future prosperity and growth from our offshore 
reserves.''\2\ I asked the majority to try not to screw that up 
today, please.
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    \2\https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/supply/weekly/pdf/table1.pdf.
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    This bill instead simply provides for $50 million in grants 
for right whale conservation programs. The bill does little to 
help the Right Whale but does effectively line the pockets of 
advocacy groups at the expense of taxpayers and for that reason 
I remain opposed to the legislation.
                                   Tom McClintock,
                                           Ranking Member, Subcommittee 
                                               on Water, Oceans and 
                                               Wildlife.

                                  [all]