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S. 4038 (109th): Global Resources, Environment, and Security Commission Act of 2006


The text of the bill below is as of Sep 29, 2006 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.


II

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 4038

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

September 29, 2006

introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

A BILL

To establish the bipartisan and independent Commission on Global Resources, Environment, and Security, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Global Resources, Environment, and Security Commission Act of 2006.

2.

Findings and purpose

(a)

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

humans are placing increasing and potentially unsustainable pressures on—

(A)

the Earth;

(B)

ecosystems; and

(C)

natural resources;

(2)

economic prosperity, human health, and peaceful international relations depend on the continued existence of—

(A)

a clean environment; and

(B)

the sustainability of natural resources and ecosystem services;

(3)

increasing scarcities of natural resources and environmental degradation can cause economic losses and contribute to—

(A)

disease;

(B)

famine;

(C)

increased vulnerability to natural disasters;

(D)

mass migration;

(E)

disruption of trade; and

(F)

violent conflict;

(4)

those potential disasters can—

(A)

weaken all members of the international community; and

(B)

create serious threats to the national security of the United States;

(5)

many scientific studies reveal that the rapid increases in global population and the new global security problems have, and will likely continue to have, serious impacts on the United States, including—

(A)

inadequate access to sources of healthy freshwater;

(B)

loss of biodiversity;

(C)

climate change;

(D)

marine overfishing and pollution;

(E)

transboundary air pollution;

(F)

nuclear and chemical contamination;

(G)

deforestation;

(H)

invasive species migration; and

(I)

soil degradation and desertification;

(6)

the complex and interconnected nature of those problems requires new forms of cooperation between—

(A)

the stakeholders of the United States; and

(B)

the United States and other countries;

(7)

according to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), it is the national policy of the United States—

(A)

to recognize the worldwide and long-range character of environmental problems; and

(B)

to lend appropriate support to initiatives, resolutions, and programs designed to maximize international cooperation in anticipating and preventing a decline in the quality of the world environment;

(8)

the United States is in a unique position to be able to share scientific and technical expertise on the world stage in ways that—

(A)

benefit all persons; and

(B)

provide opportunities in the United States for—

(i)

economic growth;

(ii)

investment; and

(iii)

innovation; and

(9)

the leadership of the United States on the advancement of global environmental security serves the domestic interests of the United States while strengthening relationships between the United States and other countries.

(b)

Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to establish a bipartisan and independent commission to make recommendations for a coordinated, comprehensive, and long-range national policy for new and existing strategies initiated by the United States to promote global environmental security.

3.

Establishment of commission

(a)

Establishment

There is established a commission to be known as the Commission on Global Resources, Environment, and Security (referred to in this Act as the Commission).

(b)

Membership

(1)

Composition

The Commission shall be composed of 18 members who are knowledgeable in matters relating to global environmental security and population (including individuals with experience from the Federal Government, State, and local governments, academic and technical institutions, and public interest organizations), of whom—

(A)

2 members shall be appointed by the President, of whom not more than 1 may be from the same political party as the President;

(B)

4 members shall be appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, in consultation with the Chairpersons of—

(i)

the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate;

(ii)

the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate;

(iii)

the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate; and

(iv)

the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate;

(C)

4 members shall be appointed by the minority leader of the Senate, in consultation with the ranking members of—

(i)

the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate;

(ii)

the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate;

(iii)

the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate; and

(iv)

the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate;

(D)

4 members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the Chairpersons of—

(i)

the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives;

(ii)

the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives;

(iii)

the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives;

(iv)

the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives;

(v)

the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives; and

(vi)

the Committee on Government Reform of the House of Representatives; and

(E)

4 members shall be appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the ranking members of—

(i)

the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives;

(ii)

the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives;

(iii)

the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives;

(iv)

the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives;

(v)

the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives; and

(vi)

the Committee on Government Reform of the House of Representatives.

(2)

Representation of Commission

To the extent consistent with paragraph (1), the membership of the Commission shall be balanced by area of expertise.

(3)

Prohibition on Federal Government employment

A member of the Commission appointed under paragraph (1)(A) shall not be an employee or former employee of the Federal Government.

(4)

Considerations for appointment

(A)

Background of members

(i)

In general

All members of the Commission shall have experience in—

(I)

State and local governments;

(II)

academic and technical institutions;

(III)

businesses and industries relating to resource and economic development; or

(IV)

public interest organizations.

(ii)

Preference to individuals with interdisciplinary expertise

In appointing members to the Commission, preference shall be given to individuals who have interdisciplinary experience.

(B)

Political affiliation of members

Members of the Commission shall be appointed so that not more than 9 members of the Commission are members of any 1 political party.

(5)

Date of Appointments

The appointment of a member of the Commission shall be made not later than March 30, 2007.

(6)

Term; vacancies

(A)

Term

A member of the Commission shall be appointed for the life of the Commission.

(B)

Vacancies

(i)

In general

A vacancy on the Commission shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.

(ii)

Partial term

A member appointed to fill a vacancy on the Commission shall serve for the remainder of the term for which the predecessor of the member was appointed.

(7)

Initial Meeting

Not later than 30 days after the date on which all members of the Commission have been appointed, the Commission shall hold the initial meeting of the Commission.

(8)

Meetings

(A)

In general

The Commission shall meet—

(i)

at least twice each year; or

(ii)

at the call of the Chairperson or the majority of the members of the Commission.

(B)

Public access to meetings

(i)

In general

Except as provided in clause (ii), each meeting of the Commission shall be open to the general public.

(ii)

Exception

If a meeting of the Commission addresses a matter described in section 552b(c) of title 5, United States Code, the Commission may close the meeting, or a portion of the meeting, to the general public.

(9)

Quorum

A majority of voting members shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold meetings.

(10)

Chairperson and vice chairperson

(A)

Election

The Commission shall elect the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson of the Commission on an annual basis.

(B)

Absence of the chairperson

The Vice Chairperson shall serve as the Chairperson in the absence of the Chairperson.

(11)

Voting

The Commission shall act only on an affirmative vote of a majority of the voting members of the Commission.

4.

Duties

(a)

Study

The Commission shall—

(1)

review and affirm current scientific understanding on the health of the global environment and the long-term availability of natural resources through the use of independent, consensus-based assessments and peer reviewed studies undertaken by the United States, the United Nations, and any other international entity;

(2)

study the impacts of—

(A)

global and transnational environmental problems, natural resource scarcity, and global population pressure on the interests of the United States, including—

(i)

national security;

(ii)

public health;

(iii)

industry and trade; and

(iv)

international relations; and

(B)

the actions of the United States on global environmental security;

(3)

assess—

(A)

the effectiveness of Federal and State efforts to enhance global environmental security, including—

(i)

the integration of related activities;

(ii)

the interagency coordination of related activities; and

(iii)

the funding of related activities;

(B)

the evolving roles of—

(i)

government;

(ii)

business; and

(iii)

nongovernmental organizations; and

(C)

the adequacy of efforts initiated by public and private partnerships that strive to meet the goals of—

(i)

global environmental protection;

(ii)

natural resource sustainability; and

(iii)

economic prosperity; and

(4)

determine the progress of the United States in—

(A)

achieving relevant international goals and obligations; and

(B)

meeting the challenges outlined by the scientific studies described under paragraph (1).

(b)

Recommendations

The Commission shall develop recommendations for creating a coordinated, comprehensive, and long-range national policy that promotes global environmental security.

(c)

Report

(1)

In general

By March 30, 2009, the Commission shall submit to the President and Congress a report that contains—

(A)

a detailed statement of the findings and conclusions of the Commission;

(B)

a summary of public comments; and

(C)

the recommendations of the Commission for such legislation and administrative actions as the Commission considers appropriate.

(2)

Publication of report

Not later than 90 days before submitting the final report of the Commission to the President and Congress, the Commission shall publish a copy of the report in the Federal Register.

(3)

Public comment

(A)

In general

Before submitting the report of the Commission to the President and Congress, the Commission shall—

(i)

make a draft of the report available for public comment for a period of not less than 60 days; and

(ii)

consider public comments relating to the draft of the report.

(B)

Availability of report

A copy of the report of the Commission shall remain available for inspection—

(i)

in the offices of the Commission; and

(ii)

through electronically accessible formats and means, such as the World Wide Web.

(4)

Congressional review

(A)

In general

Not later than 90 days before submitting the final report of the Commission to the President and Congress, the Commission shall provide copies of the report to the Chairpersons and ranking members of—

(i)

the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate;

(ii)

the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate;

(iii)

the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate;

(iv)

the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate;

(v)

the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives;

(vi)

the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives;

(vii)

the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives;

(viii)

the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives;

(ix)

the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives; and

(x)

the Committee on Government Reform of the House of Representatives.

(B)

Opportunity for comment

Before submitting the report to the President and Congress, the Commission shall provide each chairperson and ranking member of a committee described in subparagraph (A) with an opportunity to comment on the report.

5.

Powers

(a)

Hearings

(1)

In general

The Commission or, at the direction of the Commission, any subcommittee or member of the Commission, may, for the purpose of carrying out this Act hold such hearings, meet and act at such times and places, take such testimony, receive such evidence, and administer such oaths as the Commission or such subcommittee or members considers advisable.

(2)

Notice; minutes; public availability of documents

(A)

Notice

Each open meeting of the Commission shall be preceded by timely public notice in the Federal Register of the time, place, and subject of the meeting.

(B)

Minutes

Minutes of each meeting shall—

(i)

be kept by the Commission; and

(ii)

contain—

(I)

a record of the individuals present;

(II)

a description of the discussion that occurred during the meeting; and

(III)

copies of all statements filed during the meeting.

(iii)

Availability

Subject to section 552 of title 5, United States Code, the minutes and records of all meetings and other documents made available to or prepared for the Commission shall be available for public inspection and copying at a single location in the offices of the Commission.

(b)

Information from Federal agencies

(1)

In general

The Commission may secure directly from a Federal agency such information as the Commission considers necessary to carry out this Act.

(2)

Provision of information

On request of the Chairperson of the Commission, the head of the agency shall provide the information to the Commission.

(c)

Establishment of subcommittees

(1)

In general

The Commission may establish 1 or more subcommittees to provide staff support and otherwise assist in carrying out the responsibilities of the Commission.

(2)

Political affiliation of subcommittee members

Members of a subcommittee shall be appointed so that not more than 1/2 of the members of the subcommittee are members of any 1 political party.

(d)

Establishment of multidisciplinary science, economic, and technical advisory panel

(1)

In general

To assist the Commission in carrying out the duties of the Commission under this Act, the Commission may establish a multidisciplinary science, economic, and technical advisory panel (referred to in this Act as the Advisory Panel).

(2)

Composition of advisory panel

The Advisory Panel shall be composed of individuals appointed by the Commission, each of whom shall have expertise in—

(A)

biological science;

(B)

marine science;

(C)

atmospheric science;

(D)

environmental toxicology;

(E)

epidemiology;

(F)

biogeochemistry;

(G)

energy and water security;

(H)

renewable energy;

(I)

social science; or

(J)

economics.

(3)

Appointment

The members of the Advisory Panel shall be appointed by a majority vote of all members of the Commission.

(4)

Use of best available data

The Advisory Panel shall ensure that the scientific information considered by the Commission is based on the best available data.

(e)

Contracts

The Commission may make or enter into contracts, leases, or other legal agreements to carry out this Act.

(f)

Postal services

The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other agencies of the Federal Government.

(g)

Gifts

The Commission may accept, use, and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property.

6.

Commission personnel matters

(a)

Compensation of members

(1)

Non-federal employees

A member of the Commission who is not an officer or employee of the Federal Government shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which the member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Commission.

(2)

Federal employees

A member of the Commission who is an officer or employee of the Federal Government shall serve without compensation in addition to the compensation received for the services of the member as an officer or employee of the Federal Government.

(b)

Travel expenses

A member of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for an employee of an agency under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from the home or regular place of business of the member in the performance of the duties of the Commission.

(c)

Staff

(1)

In general

The Chairperson of the Commission may, without regard to the civil service laws (including regulations), appoint and terminate an Executive Director and such other additional personnel as are necessary to enable the Commission to perform the duties of the Commission.

(2)

Confirmation of executive director

The employment of an Executive Director shall be subject to confirmation by the Commission.

(d)

Experts and consultants

(1)

In general

The Commission may obtain the services of experts and consultants in the private and nonprofit sectors in accordance with section 3109 of title 5, United States Code.

(2)

Compensation of experts and consultants

A consultant or expert described in paragraph (1) shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which the member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Commission.

(e)

Detail of government employees

(1)

Federal employees

(A)

In general

At the request of the Commission, the head of any Federal agency may detail, on a reimbursable or nonreimbursable basis, any of the personnel of the agency to the Commission to assist the Commission in carrying out the duties of the Commission under this Act.

(B)

Civil service status

The detail of an employee under subparagraph (A) shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege.

7.

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act $8,500,000 for the period of fiscal years 2007 through 2010, to remain available until expended.

8.

Termination of commission

(a)

Date of termination

The Commission shall terminate 30 days after the date on which the Commission submits the report of the Commission under section 4(c).

(b)

Administrative activities before termination

The Commission may use the 30-day period referred to in subsection (a) to—

(1)

conclude the activities of the Commission; and

(2)

provide testimony before any committee of Congress concerning the report of the Commission.

(c)

Post-commission activities

The members and staff of the Commission, the Members of Congress, and employees of Federal agencies are encouraged to—

(1)

continue the multi-stakeholder dialogue started by the Commission in new forums and capacities; and

(2)

examine any institutional needs, including—

(A)

the formation of a new office;

(B)

improvements in organization;

(C)

a network; or

(D)

a caucus.

9.

Response of the President

(a)

In general

Not later than 90 days after the date of receipt of the report of the Commission under section 4(c), the President shall submit to Congress and appropriate Federal agencies a report containing a statement of proposals to carry out or respond to the recommendations of the Commission.

(b)

Availability of report

The report described in subsection (a) shall be published or otherwise made available, including (to the maximum extent practicable) in electronically accessible formats and means, such as the World Wide Web.