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H.R. 525 (106th): Defense of the Environment Act of 1999

The text of the bill below is as of Feb 3, 1999 (Introduced).


HR 525 IH

106th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 525

To provide for the defense of the environment, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 3, 1999

Mr. WAXMAN (for himself, Mr. GEPHARDT, Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California, Mrs. LOWEY, Mr. MARKEY, Mr. DEFAZIO, Mr. FARR of California, Mr. OLVER, Ms. DEGETTE, Mr. SERRANO, Mr. MEEHAN, Ms. WOOLSEY, Ms. WATERS, Mr. WEXLER, Mr. SHERMAN, Mr. ACKERMAN, Mr. NADLER, Mrs. MEEK of Florida, Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts, Mr. FILNER, Mr. ANDREWS, Mr. DELAHUNT, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. BARRETT of Wisconsin, Mrs. CHRISTIAN-CHRISTENSEN, Mrs. TAUSCHER, Ms. PELOSI, Mr. RUSH, Ms. RIVERS, Mr. PAYNE, Mrs. MALONEY of New York, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Ms. NORTON, Mr. SANDERS, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. FATTAH, Mr. CUMMINGS, Mr. DIXON, Ms. BROWN of Florida, Mr. PASCRELL, Mr. GEJDENSON, Ms. DELAURO, Mr. EVANS, Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD, Ms. LOFGREN, Mr. MCGOVERN, Ms. ESHOO, Mr. BLUMENAUER, Mr. KUCINICH, Ms. LEE, Mr. FORD, Mr. OWENS, Mr. RANGEL, Mr. TOWNS, Mr. STARK, Mr. FROST, Mr. PALLONE, Mr. VENTO, Mr. TIERNEY, Mr. BONIOR, Mr. KENNEDY of Rhode Island, Ms. STABENOW, Mr. BROWN of Ohio, Mr. CONYERS, Mrs. CAPPS, Mr. CROWLEY, Mr. BROWN of California, Mr. MATSUI, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. GUTIERREZ, Mr. MOORE, Ms. KILPATRICK, Mr. JACKSON of Illinois, Mr. BORSKI, Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA, Ms. HOOLEY of Oregon, Mr. MORAN of Virginia, Mr. MARTINEZ, Mr. CLAY, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Mr. BECERRA, Mr. OBEY, Mr. ALLEN, and Mr. GREEN of Texas) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Rules, and in addition to the Committee on Government Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To provide for the defense of the environment, and for other purposes.

    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 ‘Defense of the Environment Act of 1999’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) FINDINGS- Congress finds that provisions that reduce protection of the environment have been included in legislation without adequate consideration and an opportunity for Members to vote on the provisions.

    (b) PURPOSE- The purposes of this Act are to--

      (1) require Members of Congress to vote in the House of Representatives and the Senate on provisions included in legislation that reduce protection of the environment; and

      (2) require the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that each department or agency makes available to Congress and the public information to assist in assessing whether provisions included in legislation would reduce protection of the environment.

SEC. 3. APPLICABLE PROVISIONS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- This Act shall apply to any provision in a bill, joint resolution, amendment, or conference report before Congress that reduces protection of the environment.

    (b) PROVISIONS REDUCING PROTECTION- A provision shall be considered to reduce protection of the environment if the provision meets the criteria of one or more of the following paragraphs:

      (1) DEFENSE OF CLEAN AIR AND WATER- The provision may allow increased pollution of ambient air, indoor air, surface water, ground water, the oceans, or other terrestrial or aquatic resources.

      (2) DEFENSE OF NATIONAL PARKS AND PUBLIC LANDS- The provision may--

        (A) cause adverse impacts on the environmental quality of national parks or other public lands, including the effect of decreasing the quantity or quality of outdoor educational or recreational opportunities on such lands; or

        (B) diminish protection of species that may be endangered.

      (3) DEFENSE OF CHILDREN’S ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH- The provision may increase children’s exposure to environmental contaminants and other environmental risks.

    (c) OTHER PROVISIONS- A provision shall also be considered to reduce protection of the environment if the provision may have the effect of shielding any violators of environmental laws from penalties or limiting judicial review of agency action under the authority of any environmental law.

    (d) BASELINE FOR EFFECTS- The baseline for determining the effects of a provision described in subsection (b) or (c) shall be the circumstances that would exist if the provision were not enacted.

SEC. 4. DUTIES OF CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES.

    (a) IN GENERAL- When a committee of the House of Representatives or Senate or a committee of conference reports a bill or joint resolution of public character that includes any provision that reduces protection of the environment, the report of the committee accompanying the bill or joint resolution (or the statement of managers accompanying the conference report) shall contain each of the following:

      (1) An identification and description of any provision in the bill or joint resolution or conference report that reduces protection of the environment.

      (2) A qualitative and, if practicable, a quantitative assessment of the extent of the reduction in protection of the environment.

      (3) A description of the actions, if any, taken by the committee to avoid the reduction in protection of the environment.

      (4) Any statement received under section 5.

SEC. 5. DUTIES OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL.

    (a) STATEMENT- For each bill or joint resolution of a public character reported by any committee of the House of Representatives or the Senate, and for each report by a committee of conference, the Comptroller General of the United States, upon a request of the committee or a majority of the members of the minority party or majority party of the committee, shall, prior to the filing of the report, prepare and submit to the committee a statement assessing the extent to which the provisions of the bill, joint resolution, or conference report reduce protection of the environment.

    (b) ASSISTANCE TO COMMITTEES AND STUDIES- At the request of any committee of the Senate or the House of Representatives, the Comptroller General shall, to the extent practicable, consult with and assist such committee in assessing the extent to which the provisions of a bill, joint resolution, or conference report reduce the protection of the environment.

SEC. 6. DUTIES OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT OF BUDGET.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall ensure that each department or agency of the United States--

      (1) collects and catalogs available information that would assist in assessing whether any provision in a bill, joint resolution, amendment, or conference report before Congress would reduce protection of the environment;

      (2) coordinates, organizes and facilitates the availability of such information for use by Congress; and

      (3) ensures that such information is readily available to the Comptroller General for purposes of fulfilling duties under section 5 of this Act or for other purposes.

    (b) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY- The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall ensure that each department or agency of the United States makes information collected and cataloged pursuant to subsection (a) readily available to the public.

SEC. 7. LEGISLATION SUBJECT TO POINT OF ORDER.

    (a) IN GENERAL- It shall not be in order in the House of Representatives or the Senate to consider any bill, joint resolution, or conference report that is reported by a committee unless the committee has complied with section 4.

    (b) PROCEDURE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES- It shall not be in order in the House of Representatives to consider a rule or order that waives the application of subsection (a).

SEC. 8. DEBATE ON PROVISIONS REDUCING PROTECTION.

    (a) AMENDMENT OF HOUSE RULES- Clause 6(c) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives is amended by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (2) and inserting a semicolon and by adding at the end thereof:

    ‘(3) a rule or order that would prevent a motion to strike from any bill, joint resolution, or amendment a provision that reduces protection of the environment (within the meaning of section 3 of the Defense of the Environment Act of 1999).’.

    (b) VOTE IN SENATE- Notwithstanding the adoption of any rule or motion to limit or close debate it shall always be in order, as question of high privilege in the Senate, to move to strike from any bill, joint resolution, amendment, or conference report any provision that reduces protection of the environment (within the meaning of section 3 of the Defense of the Environment Act of 1999). Such motion shall take precedence over a motion for the previous question on such bill, joint resolution, amendment, or conference report, and it shall be in order to debate any such motion for 40 minutes, one-half of such time shall be given to debate in favor of, and one-half of such times in opposition to, such motion.

    (c) CONFERENCE REPORTS AND SENATE AMENDMENTS- Clause 10 of Rules XXII of the Rules of the House of Representatives is amended as follows:

      (1) In subparagraph (1) of paragraph (a), in paragraph (b), and in subparagraph (2) of paragraph (d) after ‘nongermane matter’ insert ‘or matter reducing the protection of the environment’.

      (2) Before the period at the end of subparagraph (2) of paragraph (a), insert ‘or asserting that such proposition contains any provision that reduces protection of the environment (within the meaning of section 3 of the Defense of the Environment Act of 1999)’.

      (3) In paragraph (e) after ‘nongermane matter’ insert ‘or matter reducing the protection of the environment’.

    (d) EXERCISE OF RULEMAKING POWERS- The provisions of this section and sections 4 and 7 are enacted by Congress--

      (1) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively, and as such they shall be considered as part of the rules of such House, respectively, and such rules shall supersede other rules only to the extent that they are inconsistent therewith; and

      (2) with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change such rules (so far as relating to such House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of each House.

SEC. 9. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    This Act shall take effect on the date of enactment.