H.R. 1205 (110th): Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2007

110th Congress, 2007–2009. Text as of Oct 22, 2007 (Reported by House Committee).

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IB

Union Calendar No. 248

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1205

[Report No. 110–394, Part I]

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 27, 2007

(for himself, Ms. Bordallo, Mrs. Christensen, and Mr. Abercrombie) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committee on Science and Technology, 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

October 22, 2007

Additional sponsors: Mr. Gilchrest, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, Mr. Klein of Florida, and Mr. Fortuño

October 22, 2007

Reported from the Committee on Natural Resources with an amendment

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

October 22, 2007

Committee on Science and Technology discharged; committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

For text of introduced bill, see copy of bill as introduced on February 27, 2007

A BILL

To reauthorize the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2007.

2.

Expansion of coral reef conservation program

(a)

Project diversity

Section 204(d) of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 6403(d)) is amended—

(1)

in the heading by striking “Geographic and Biological” and inserting “Project”; and

(2)

by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:

(3)

Remaining funds shall be awarded for—

(A)

projects (with priority given to community-based local action strategies) that address emerging priorities or threats, including international and territorial priorities, or threats identified by the Administrator in consultation with the Coral Reef Task Force; and

(B)

other appropriate projects, as determined by the Administrator, including monitoring and assessment, research, pollution reduction, education, and technical support.

.

(b)

Approval criteria

Section 204(g) of that Act (16 U.S.C. 6403(g)) is amended—

(1)

by striking or after the semicolon in paragraph (9);

(2)

by striking paragraph (10); and

(3)

by inserting after paragraph (9) the following:

(10)

promoting activities designed to minimize the likelihood of vessel impacts on coral reefs, particularly those areas identified under section 210(b), including the promotion of ecologically sound navigation and anchorages near coral reefs; or

(11)

promoting and assisting entities to work with local communities, and all appropriate governmental and nongovernmental organizations, to support community-based planning and management initiatives for the protection of coral reef ecosystems.

.

3.

Emergency response

Section 206 of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 6405) is amended to read as follows:

206.

Emergency response actions

(a)

In general

The Administrator may undertake or authorize action necessary—

(1)

to minimize the destruction or loss of, or injury to, a coral reef from—

(A)

vessel impacts, derelict fishing gear, vessel anchors, and anchor chains; and

(B)

from unforeseen or disaster-related circumstances; and

(2)

to stabilize, repair, recover, or restore such coral reef.

(b)

Vessel removal; restabilization

Action authorized by subsection (a) includes vessel removal and emergency restabilization of the vessel or any impacted coral reef.

(c)

Partnering with other Federal agencies

When possible, action by the Administrator under this section should—

(1)

be conducted in partnership with other government agencies as appropriate, including—

(A)

the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of the Interior; and

(B)

agencies of States and territories of the United States; and

(2)

leverage resources of other agencies.

(d)

Emergency response assistance by other Federal agencies

(1)

In general

The head of any other Federal agency may assist the Administrator in emergency response actions under this section, using funds available for operations of the agency concerned.

(2)

Reimbursement

The Administrator, subject to the availability of appropriations, may reimburse a Federal agency for assistance provided under paragraph (1).

(e)

Liability for costs and damages to coral reefs

(1)

Treatment of coral reefs under National Marine Sanctuaries Act

For purposes of the provisions set forth in paragraph (2), and subject to paragraph (3), each of the terms sanctuary resources, resource, sanctuary resource managed under law or regulations for that sanctuary,national marine sanctuary, sanctuary resources of the national marine sanctuary, and sanctuary resources of other national marine sanctuaries is deemed to include any coral reef that is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States or any State, without regard to whether such coral reef is located in a national marine sanctuary.

(2)

Applicable provisions of National Marine Sanctuaries Act

The provisions referred to in paragraph (1) are the following provisions of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act:

(A)

Paragraphs (6) and (7) of section 302 (16 U.S.C. 1432).

(B)

Paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) of section 306 (16 U.S.C. 1436).

(C)

Section 307 (16 U.S.C. 1437).

(D)

Section 312 (16 U.S.C. 1443).

(3)

State consent required

(A)

In general

This subsection shall not apply to any coral reef that is subject to the jurisdiction of a State unless the Governor of that State notifies the Secretary that the State consents to that application.

(B)

Revocation of consent

The governor of a State may revoke consent under subparagraph (A) by notifying the Secretary of such revocation.

(4)

Consistency with international law and treaties

Any action taken under the authority of this subsection must be consistent with otherwise applicable international law and treaties.

(5)

Actions authorized with respect to vessels

Actions authorized under this subsection include vessel removal, and emergency re-stabilization of a vessel and any coral reef that is impacted by a vessel

(6)

Regulations

The Secretary may issue regulations necessary to implement this subsection.

.

4.

National program

(a)

Purpose of Act

Section 202 of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 6401) is amended—

(1)

by amending paragraph (3) to read as follows:

(3)

to develop sound scientific information on the condition of coral reef ecosystems and the threats to such ecosystems including large-scale threats related to climate change, to benefit local communities and the Nation, and to the extent practicable support and enhance coral reef research capabilities at local academic institutions;

; and

(2)

by striking and after the semicolon at the end of paragraph (5), by striking the period at the end of paragraph (6) and inserting ; and, and by adding at the end the following:

(7)

to recognize the benefits of healthy coral reefs to island and coastal communities and to encourage Federal action to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, the continued availability of those benefits.

.

(b)

Goals and objectives of national coral reef action strategy

Section 203(b)(8) of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 6402(b)(8)) is amended to read as follows:

(8)

conservation, including the consideration of island and local traditions and practices.

.

(c)

Amendments relating to activities To conserve coral reefs and coral reef ecosystems

Section 207(b) of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 6406) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (3) by striking and after the semicolon;

(2)

in paragraph (4)—

(A)

by striking cooperative conservation and inserting cooperative research, conservation,; and

(B)

by striking partners. and inserting partners, including academic institutions located in those States, territories, and freely associated States referred to in section 212; and; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(5)

activities designed to minimize the likelihood of vessel impacts or other physical damage to coral reefs, including those areas identified in section 210(b).

.

5.

Report to Congress

Section 208 of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 6407) is amended to read as follows:

208.

Report to Congress

Not later than March 1, 2010, and every 3 years thereafter, the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives a report describing all activities undertaken to implement the strategy, including—

(1)

a description of the funds obligated by each participating Federal agency to advance coral reef conservation during each of the 3 fiscal years next preceding the fiscal year in which the report is submitted;

(2)

a description of Federal interagency and cooperative efforts with States, United States territories, freely associated States, and non-governmental partner organizations to prevent or address overharvesting, coastal runoff, or other anthropogenic impacts on coral reef ecosystems, including projects undertaken with the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers;

(3)

a summary of the information contained in the vessel grounding inventory established under section 210, including additional authorization or funding, needed for response and removal of such vessels;

(4)

a description of Federal disaster response actions taken pursuant to the National Response Plan to address damage to coral reefs and coral reef ecosystems; and

(5)

an assessment of the condition of United States coral reefs, accomplishments under this Act, and the effectiveness of management actions to address threats to coral reefs, including actions taken to address large-scale threats to coral reef ecosystems related to climate change.

.

6.

Fund; grants; grounding inventory; coordination

(a)

Fund; grants; grounding inventory; coordination

The Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 6401 et seq.) is amended—

(1)

in section 205(a) (16 U.S.C. 6404(a)), by striking “organization solely” and all that follows and inserting “organization—

(1)

to support partnerships between the public and private sectors that further the purposes of this Act and are consistent with the national coral reef strategy under section 203; and

(2)

to address emergency response actions under section 206.

;

(2)

by adding at the end of section 205(b) (16 U.S.C. 6404(b)) The organization is encouraged to solicit funding and in-kind services from the private sector, including nongovernmental organizations, for emergency response actions under section 206 and for activities to prevent damage to coral reefs, including areas identified in section 210(b)(2).;

(3)

in section 205(c) (16 U.S.C. 6404(c)), by striking the grant program and inserting any grant program or emergency response action;

(4)

by redesignating sections 209 and 210 as sections 213 and 214, respectively; and

(5)

by inserting after section 208 the following:

209.

Community-Based planning grants

(a)

In general

The Administrator may make grants to entities that are eligible to receive grants under section 204(c) to provide additional funds to such entities to work with local communities and through appropriate Federal and State entities to prepare and implement plans for the increased protection of coral reef areas identified by the community and scientific experts as high priorities for focused attention. The plans shall—

(1)

support attainment of 1 or more of the criteria described in section 204(g);

(2)

be developed at the community level;

(3)

utilize where applicable watershed-based or ecosystem-based approaches;

(4)

provide for coordination with Federal and State experts and managers;

(5)

build upon local approaches or models, including traditional or island-based resource management concepts; and

(6)

complement local action strategies or regional plans for coral reef conservation.

(b)

Terms and conditions

The provisions of subsections (b), (d), (f), and (h) of section 204 apply to grants under subsection (a), except that, for the purpose of applying section 204(b)(1) to grants under this section, 75 percent shall be substituted for 50 percent.

210.

Vessel grounding inventory

(a)

In general

The Administrator, in coordination with other Federal agencies, may maintain an inventory of all vessel grounding incidents involving coral reefs, including a description of—

(1)

the impacts to such resources;

(2)

vessel and ownership information, if available;

(3)

the estimated cost of removal, mitigation, or restoration;

(4)

the response action taken by the owner, the Administrator, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, or other Federal or State agency representatives;

(5)

the status of the response action, including the dates of vessel removal and mitigation or restoration and any actions taken to prevent future grounding incidents; and

(6)

recommendations for additional navigational aids or other mechanisms for preventing future grounding incidents.

(b)

Identification of at-risk reefs

The Administrator may—

(1)

use information from any inventory maintained under subsection (a) or any other available information source to identify all coral reef areas that have a high incidence of vessel impacts, including groundings and anchor damage; and

(2)

identify appropriate measures, including action by other agencies, to reduce the likelihood of such impacts.

211.

Regional coordination

The Administrator shall work in coordination and collaboration with other Federal agencies, States, and United States territorial governments to implement the national coral reef action strategy developed under section 203, including regional and local strategies, to address multiple threats to coral reefs and coral reef ecosystems such as coastal runoff, vessel impacts, overharvesting, and factors attributed to climate change.

212.

United States Coral Reef Task Force

(a)

Establishment

There is hereby established the United States Coral Reef Task Force.

(b)

Goal

The goal of the Task Force shall be to lead, coordinate, and strengthen Federal Government actions to better preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems.

(c)

Duties

The duties of the Task Force shall be—

(1)

to coordinate, in cooperation with State, territory, freely associated State, commonwealth, and local government partners, academic, and nongovernmental partners if appropriate, activities regarding the mapping, monitoring, research, conservation, mitigation, restoration of coral reefs and coral reef ecosystems;

(2)

to monitor and advise regarding implementation of the policy and Federal agency responsibilities set forth in Executive Order 13089 and the national coral reef action strategy developed under section 203; and

(3)

to work with the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the Agency for International Development, and in coordination with the other members of the Task Force, to—

(A)

assess the United States role in international trade and protection of coral species; and

(B)

encourage implementation of appropriate strategies and actions to promote conservation and sustainable use of coral reef resources worldwide.

(d)

Membership, generally

The Task Force shall be comprised of—

(1)

the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Secretary of the Interior, who shall be co-chairs of the Task Force;

(2)

the Administrator of the Agency of International Development;

(3)

the Secretary of Agriculture;

(4)

the Secretary of Defense;

(5)

the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Corps of Engineers;

(6)

the Secretary of Homeland Security;

(7)

the Attorney General;

(8)

the Secretary of State;

(9)

the Secretary of Transportation;

(10)

the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;

(11)

the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;

(12)

the Director of the National Science Foundation;

(13)

the Governor, or a representative of the Governor, of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;

(14)

the Governor, or a representative of the Governor, of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico;

(15)

the Governor, or a representative of the Governor, of the State of Florida;

(16)

the Governor, or a representative of the Governor, of the State of Hawaii;

(17)

the Governor, or a representative of the Governor, of the Territory of Guam;

(18)

the Governor, or a representative of the Governor, of the Territory of American Samoa; and

(19)

the Governor, or a representative of the Governor, of the Virgin Islands.

(e)

Nonvoting members

The President, or a representative of the President, of each of the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau may appoint a nonvoting member of the Task Force.

(f)

Responsibilities of Federal agency members

(1)

In general

The Federal agency members of the Task Force shall—

(A)

identify the actions of their agencies that may affect coral reef ecosystems;

(B)

utilize the programs and authorities of their agencies to protect and enhance the conditions of such ecosystems; and

(C)

assist in the implementation of the National Action Plan to Conserve Coral Reefs, the national coral reef action strategy developed under section 203, the local action strategies, and any other coordinated efforts approved by the Task Force.

(2)

Co-chairs

In addition to their responsibilities under paragraph (1), the co-chairs of the Task Force shall administer performance of the functions of the Task Force and facilitate the coordination of the Federal agency members of the Task Force.

(g)

Working groups

(1)

In general

The co-chairs of the Task Force may establish working groups as necessary to meet the goals and duties of this Act. The Task Force may request the co-chairs to establish such a working group.

(2)

Participation by nongovernmental organizations

The co-chairs may allow a nongovernmental organization or academic institution to participate in such a working group.

(h)

FACA

The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Task Force.

.

(b)

Cooperative agreements

Section 204 of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 6403) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(k)

Multiyear cooperative agreements

The Administrator may enter into multiyear cooperative agreements with the heads of other Federal agencies, States, territories, other freely associated States, local governments, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations to carry out the activities of the national coral reef action strategy developed under section 203 and to implement regional strategies developed pursuant to section 211.

.

7.

Amendments relating to Department of the Interior program

(a)

Amendments and clarifications to definitions

(1)

Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act

Section 8 of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 666b) is amended by inserting before the period at the end the following: , including coral reef ecosystems (as such term is defined in section 214 of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000).

(2)

Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 and Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act of 1978

With respect to the authorities under the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 742a et. seq) and the authorities under the Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 742l), references in such Acts to wildlife and fish and wildlife shall be construed to include coral reef ecosystems (as such term is defined in section 214 of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, as amended by this Act).

(b)

Coral reef conservation assistance

The Secretary of the Interior may provide technical assistance and, subject to the availability of appropriations, financial assistance to coastal States (as that term is defined in the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, as amended by this Act).

8.

Clarification of definitions

Section 214 of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, as redesignated by section 6(a) of this Act (relating to definitions; 16 U.S.C. 6409), is further amended—

(1)

by amending paragraph (2) to read as follows:

(2)

Conservation

The term ‘conservation’ means the use of methods and procedures that are necessary to preserve or sustain coral reefs and associated species as diverse, viable, and self-perpetuating coral reef ecosystems, including—

(A)

all activities associated with resource management, such as assessment, conservation, protection, restoration, sustainable use, and management of habitat;

(B)

mapping;

(C)

monitoring of coral reef ecosystems;

(D)

assistance in the development of management strategies for marine protected area or networks thereof and marine resources consistent with the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.);

(E)

law enforcement;

(F)

conflict resolution initiatives;

(G)

community outreach and education; and

(H)

activities that promote safe and ecologically sound navigation.

;

(2)

by amending paragraph (3) to read as follows:

(3)

Coral

The term ‘coral’ means species of the phylum Cnidaria, including—

(A)

all species of the orders Antipatharia (black corals), Scleractinia (stony corals), Gorgonacea (horny corals), Stolonifera (organpipe corals and others), Alcyonacea (soft corals), and Helioporacea (blue coral), of the class Anthozoa; and

(B)

all species of the families Milleporidae (fire corals) and Stylasteridae (stylasterid hydrocorals), of the class Hydrozoa.

;

(3)

by amending paragraph (4) to read as follows:

(4)

Coral reef

The term coral reef means a limestone structure composed in whole or in part of living zooxanthellate stony corals (Class Anthozoa, Order Scleractinia), their skeletal remains, or both.

; and

(4)

by amending paragraph (7) to read as follows:

(7)

Secretary

The term ‘Secretary’—

(A)

except as provided in subparagraph (B), means the Secretary of Commerce; and

(B)

in sections 203, 206(e), and 209, means—

(i)

the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to any coral reef or component thereof that is located in—

(I)

the National Wildlife Refuge System;

(II)

the National Park System; or

(III)

the waters surrounding Wake Island under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior, as set forth in Executive Order 11048 (27 Fed. Reg. 8851), dated September 4, 1962; or

(ii)

the Secretary of Commerce, with respect to any other coral reef or component thereof.

.

9.

Authorization of appropriations

Section 213 of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (formerly 16 U.S.C. 6408), as redesignated by section 4, is amended—

(1)

by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

(a)

In General

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Commerce to carry out this title $30,000,000 for fiscal year 2008, $32,000,000 for fiscal year 2009, $34,000,000 for fiscal year 2010 and $35,000,000 for fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

;

(2)

in subsection (b) by striking $1,000,000 and inserting $2,000,000;

(3)

by striking subsection (c) and inserting the following:

(c)

Community-Based Planning Grants

There is authorized to be appropriated to the Administrator to carry out section 209, $8,000,000 for fiscal years 2008 through 2012, to remain available until expended.

; and

(4)

by striking subsection (d) and inserting the following:

(d)

Department of the Interior

There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of the Interior to carry out this title $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012.

.

10.

Funding for marine facilities, coral reef research, and coral reef institutes

(a)

American Samoa community college

There is authorized to be appropriated $1,000,000 to the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to provide funds to a research facility for coral reef research and protection, and coastal ecology and development, at the American Samoa Community College.

(b)

University of Guam

There is authorized to be appropriated $1,000,000 to the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to provide funds to the University of Guam for coral reef research and protection.

(c)

Support for coral reef institutes

The Administrator, subject to the availability of appropriations specifically to carry out this subsection, may enter into, renegotiate, or extend a cooperative agreement with any university or local academic institution or other research center with established programs that support coral reef conservation to accomplish the following:

(1)

Provide technical and other assistance to build capacity for effective resource management on a regional level and within local communities.

(2)

Facilitate interdisciplinary research regarding coral reef ecosystems to improve resource management and improve understanding of potential impacts to such ecosystems attributed to climate change.

(3)

Conduct public education programs regarding coral reefs and coral reef ecosystems to improve public awareness of the need to protect and conserve such resources.

(4)

To advance the purposes and policies set forth in the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000.

(d)

Definitions

For purposes of this section the definitions in section 214 of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, as redesignated by section 6(a) of this Act and amended by section 8 of this Act, apply.

October 22, 2007

Reported from the Committee on Natural Resources with an amendment

October 22, 2007

Committee on Science and Technology discharged; committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed