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116th Congress   }                                    {   Rept. 116-82
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session     }                                    {         Part 1

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



 
       NATIONAL ESTUARIES AND ACIDIFICATION RESEARCH ACT OF 2019

                                _______
                                

  May 23, 2019.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Ms. Johnson of Texas, from the Committee on Science, Space, and 
                  Technology, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 988]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 988) to provide for a study by the 
Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Science 
examining the impact of ocean acidification and other stressors 
in estuarine environments, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
   I. Amendment.......................................................2
  II. Purpose of the Bill.............................................3
 III. Background and Need for the Legislation.........................3
  IV. Committee Hearings..............................................3
   V. Committee Consideration and Votes...............................4
  VI. Summary of Major Provisions of the Bill.........................4
 VII. Section-by-Section Analysis (By Title and Section)..............5
VIII. Committee Views.................................................5
  IX. Cost Estimate...................................................5
   X. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate.......................6
  XI. Compliance with Public Law 104-4 (Unfunded Mandates)............6
 XII. Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations................7
XIII. Statement on General Performance Goals and Objectives...........7
 XIV. Federal Advisory Committee Statement............................7
  XV. Duplication of Federal Programs.................................7
 XVI. Earmark Identification..........................................7
XVII. Applicability to the Legislative Branch.........................7
XVIII.Statement on Preemption of State, Local, or Tribal Law..........7

 XIX. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported...........7
  XX. Exchange of Committee Correspondence............................8
 XXI. Proceedings of Subcommittee Markup.............................11
XXII. Proceedings of Full Committee Markup...........................27

                              I. Amendment

  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``National Estuaries and Acidification 
Research Act of 2019'' or the ``NEAR Act of 2019''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

  Congress finds the following:
          (1) Ocean acidification impacts human health, natural 
        resources, and the environmental, economic, and recreational 
        uses of the coastline.
          (2) The current understanding of ocean acidification impacts 
        on estuarine ecosystems is inadequate to fully prepare and 
        manage for changing environmental conditions in nearshore 
        locations.
          (3) While pH can be measured with high precision and accuracy 
        in open ocean environments, more understanding of the carbonate 
        system in estuarine ecosystems is needed for precise and 
        accurate measurements and observations.
          (4) The interaction of multiple stressors, including 
        salinity, pH, temperature, sea level rise, and nutrient input, 
        within estuarine ecosystems is inadequately understood for 
        managing the health, economic, recreational, and environmental 
        impacts driven by these interactions.
          (5) A better understanding is needed of how anthropogenic 
        influences in coastal environments affect estuarine ecosystems.
          (6) More integration and coordination is needed among 
        regional, national, and global environmental observations in 
        estuarine environments, supporting prior investments in related 
        topics such as nutrient loading, hypoxia, ocean acidification, 
        and harmful algae bloom research and observational systems.

SEC. 3. STUDY EXAMINING THE IMPACT OF OCEAN ACIDIFICATION AND OTHER 
                    ENVIRONMENTAL STRESSORS ON ESTUARINE ENVIRONMENTS.

  (a) In General.--Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment 
of this Act, the Secretary of Commerce shall make appropriate 
arrangements with the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies 
under which the Board shall conduct a study that--
          (1) examines the existing science of ocean acidification in 
        estuarine environments;
          (2) examines the challenges to studying ocean acidification 
        and ocean acidification's interactions with other environment 
        stressors in estuarine environments;
          (3) provides recommendations for improving future research 
        with respect to ocean acidification in estuarine environments; 
        and
          (4) identifies pathways for applying science in management 
        and mitigation decisions relating to ocean acidification in 
        estuarine environments.
  (b) Contents of Study.--The study described under subsection (a) 
shall include--
          (1) the behavior of the carbonate system within estuarine 
        environments;
          (2) the interactions of the carbonate system with other 
        biotic and abiotic characteristics of estuarine ecosystems;
          (3) how environmental and anthropogenic changes or 
        disturbances could affect abiotic and biotic processes within 
        estuaries;
          (4) how estuarine biotic and abiotic processes will be 
        affected under predicted environmental changes;
          (5) the current state of data collection, interpretation, 
        storage, and retrieval and observational infrastructure of 
        abiotic and biotic parameters in estuarine ecosystems;
          (6) the gaps that exist in understanding the socio-economic 
        and health impacts of ocean acidification in estuaries;
          (7) future directions for scientific research; and
          (8) pathways for applying science in management and 
        mitigation decisions.
  (c) Report.--In entering into an arrangement under subsection (a), 
the Secretary shall request that the Board transmit to Congress a 
report on the results of the study not later than 24 months after the 
date of enactment of this Act.
  (d) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated to carry out this section $1,000,000.

    Amend the title so as to read:
    A bill to provide for a study by the National Academies of 
Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examining the impact of 
ocean acidification and other stressors in estuarine 
environments.

                        II. Purpose of the Bill

    H.R. 988, sponsored by Rep. Posey, directs the Secretary of 
Commerce to work with the National Academies of Sciences, 
Engineering, and Medicine to produce a study on the impacts of 
ocean acidification and other environmental stressors on 
estuarine environments to improve our understanding of these 
impacts and inform management and mitigation decisions. The 
bill is cosponsored by Representatives Bonamici, Crist, and 
Mast.

              III. Background and Need for the Legislation

    Ocean acidification is the gradual decrease in oceanic pH 
due primarily to the absorption of excess atmospheric carbon 
dioxide by seawater. When carbon dioxide gas reacts with 
seawater, it lowers the pH, which raises the acidity. 
Acidification is occurring faster in some U.S. coastal regions 
as a result of local factors such as upwelling of naturally low 
pH water, changes in freshwater inputs, and high nutrient 
inputs. One coastal environment where the impacts of ocean 
acidification are less understood is in estuarine environments.
    Estuaries are ecologically and economically important 
brackish water ecosystems that typically occur where rivers 
meet the ocean. Estuaries are extremely productive ecosystems 
that host unique animal and plant communities. They provide 
many ecosystem services, such as water filtration, migration 
grounds for birds and nursery grounds for fish and other 
species, and they are important sources of food, jobs, and 
recreation for humans. Estuaries are delicate ecosystems and 
are sensitive to environmental and anthropogenic changes, such 
as nutrient and other types of pollution, sea level rise, 
increases in temperature, and ocean acidification. However, 
there is limited understanding of how ocean acidification and 
other stressors interact and impact estuaries.

                         IV. Committee Hearings

    For the purposes of section 103(i) of H. Res. 6 of the 
116th Congress, the following hearings were used to develop the 
legislation:
    On March 7, 2019, the Honorable Lizzie Fletcher presiding 
over the Environment Subcommittee of the Committee on Science, 
Space, and Technology held a hearing focused on climate change 
impacts on our nation's oceans and coasts, where ocean 
acidification was discussed as a major associated impact. There 
were four witnesses: (1) Dr. Sarah Cooley, Director of the 
Ocean Acidification Program at Ocean Conservancy. Dr. Cooley 
provided testimony on the science of ocean warming, 
acidification, and deoxygenation and resulting impacts to 
marine ecosystems and humans. (2) Dr. Radley Horton, Lamont 
Associate Research Professor at Columbia University Earth 
Institute's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Dr. Horton 
testified on sea level rise projections and impacts to coastal 
communities. (3) Dr. Thomas K. Frazer, Professor and Director 
of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the 
University of Florida. Dr. Frazer testified on the impacts of 
climate change to fisheries and the need for increased federal 
investment in research to promote adaptation and mitigation to 
those changes. (4) Ms. Margaret A. Pilaro, Executive Director 
of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association. Ms. Pilaro 
provided testimony on the impacts of ocean acidification and 
deoxygenation to shellfish hatcheries and strategies for how 
their industry has started to adapt.

                  V. Committee Consideration and Votes

    As summarized in Section IV of this report, the 
Subcommittee on Environment heard testimony in the 116th 
Congress relevant to the activities authorized in H.R. 988 at a 
hearing held on February 27, 2019.
    On February 6, 2019, Representative Bill Posey of the 
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, for himself and 
Representatives Bonamici and Mast introduced H.R. 988, National 
Estuaries and Acidification Research (NEAR) Act of 2019, to 
provide a study by the Ocean Studies Board of the National 
Academies of Science examining the impact of ocean 
acidification and other stressors in estuarine environments.
    On April 9, 2019, the Subcommittee on Environment met to 
consider H.R. 988 and three other ocean acidification bills. 
There were no amendments offered to H.R. 988.
    Ms. Fletcher moved that the Subcommittee favorably report 
H.R. 988 to the Full Committee. The motion was agreed to by a 
voice vote.
    The Full Committee on Science, Space, and Technology met to 
consider H.R. 988 on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.
    1. Mr. Posey offered an amendment which modifies the bill 
according to recommendations from the National Academies of 
Science, Engineering, and Medicine. These recommendations 
suggested a different ordering of tasks in the study and that 
the bill not specify which board performs the study in its own 
facilities. The amendment also includes an authorized study 
cost of $1 million. The amendment was agreed to by a voice 
vote.
    Ms. Johnson moved that the Committee favorably report the 
bill, H.R. 988, as amended, to the House with the 
recommendation that the bill be approved. The motion was agreed 
to by a voice vote.

              VI. Summary of Major Provisions of the Bill

    The National Estuaries and Acidification Research Act (H.R. 
988) would provide for a study by the National Academies of 
Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to examine the current 
science of ocean acidification impacts on estuarine 
environments, and provide recommendations for future scientific 
research, and pathways to apply science in management and 
mitigation decisions. The bill requires the National Academies 
to submit a report to Congress within 24 months of the 
enactment of the bill, and authorizes appropriations for NOAA 
of $1.0 million to carry out the one-time study.

        VII. Section-by-Section Analysis (By Title and Section)


Section 1. Short title

    National Estuaries and Acidification Research (NEAR) Act of 
2019

Section 2. Findings

    This section outlines the need for improved understanding 
of the effects of ocean acidification and other environmental 
stressors in estuaries as well as the need for a more 
coordinated research effort in estuaries.

Section 3. Study examining the impact of ocean acidification and other 
        environmental stressors on estuarine environments

    This section directs the Secretary of Commerce to work with 
the National Academies of Science to conduct a study on the 
impacts of ocean acidification and other environmental 
stressors in estuarine environments. The section outlines 
requirements for the contents of the study, including the 
current state of science on ocean acidification in estuarine 
environments, the effects of human-caused and environmental 
changes on biotic and abiotic processes in estuaries, the 
dynamics of the carbonate system of estuaries, and gaps in 
understanding of socioeconomic and health impacts of ocean 
acidification on estuaries. A report on the results of the 
study is to be sent to Congress no later than 24 months after 
enactment of the bill.

                         VIII. Committee Views

    The Committee recognizes the unique and valuable nature of 
estuaries as grounds for birds, fish and other species, as well 
as important sources of food and recreation for humans. Because 
estuarine environments are very delicate, and provide robust 
ecosystem services, ocean acidification could have potentially 
devastating consequences on numerous animal and human 
communities that rely on estuaries. However, there is currently 
a lack of understanding of how ocean acidification, and other 
environmental stressors, impact estuarine environments.
    The Committee views a study conducted by the National 
Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine as a good step 
towards understanding how environmental stressors like ocean 
acidification could impact estuarine environments. The study 
would provide recommendations for future research opportunities 
as well as guidance on how to prepare for and adapt to changing 
environmental conditions. The amended version of H.R. 988 
incorporates suggestions from the National Academies of 
Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide a better flow of 
report contents and and authorizes appropriations to conduct 
the study.

                           IX. Cost Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee adopts as its own the 
estimate of new budget authority, entitlement authority, or tax 
expenditures or revenues contained in the cost estimate 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974.

              X. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                       Washington, DC, May 9, 2019.
Hon. Eddie Bernice Johnson,
Chairwoman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Madam Chairwoman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 988, the NEAR Act 
of 2019.
    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. 988 would authorize the appropriation of $1 million 
for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to 
contract with the National Academy of Sciences to report on the 
effects of ocean acidification in estuarine environments. The 
report would examine the challenges to studying ocean 
acidification, provide recommendations for improving future 
research, and identify ways to apply science while mitigating 
and managing ocean acidification in estuarine environments. The 
bill would require the report be completed within two years of 
enactment.
    Assuming appropriated funds are available, CBO estimates 
implementing H.R. 988 would cost $1 million.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Robert Reese. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                     XI. Federal Mandates Statement

    H.R. 988 contains no unfunded mandates.

         XII. Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    The Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in the body of this report.

      XIII. Statement on General Performance Goals and Objectives

    Pursuant to clause (3)(c) of House rule XIII, the goal of 
H.R. 988 is to direct the Secretary of Commerce to enter into 
an agreement with the National Academies of Sciences, 
Engineering, and Medicine to provide for a study that would 
assess the current state of science of ocean acidification 
impacts to estuaries, and provide recommendations for future 
research, and guidance on how to prepare for, and mitigate, 
currently changing environmental conditions in estuaries. The 
bill requires the final study be submitted to Congress within 
24 months of enactment of this act.

               XIV. Federal Advisory Committee Statement

    H.R. 988 does not create any advisory committees.

                  XV. Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that no provision 
of H.R. 988 establishes or reauthorizes a program of the 
federal government known to be duplicative of another federal 
program, including any program that was included in a report to 
Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 or the 
most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

                      XVI. Earmark Identification

    Pursuant to clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI, the 
Committee finds that H.R. 988 contains no earmarks, limited tax 
benefits, or limited tariff benefits.

             XVII. Applicability to the Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that H.R. 988 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 (Public Law 104-1).

     XVIII. Statement on Preemption of State, Local, or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any state, local, or 
tribal law.

       XIX. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    This legislation does not amend any existing Federal 
statute.




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