H. R. 6364
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 25, 2008
Mr. Dicks (for himself, Mr. Inslee, Mr. Larsen of Washington, Mr. Baird, Mr. McDermott, Mr. Smith of Washington, and Mr. Reichert) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to provide assistance for programs and activities to protect the water quality of Puget Sound, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Puget Sound Recovery Act of
The Congress finds the following:
Puget Sound, as the Nation’s second largest estuary, is a cornerstone of the Pacific Northwest’s regional identity and at the heart of the region’s prosperity, supporting a thriving natural resource and marine industry.
The water quality of Puget Sound is in decline, with areas of deadly low oxygen and increasing toxic pollutants. Resident species such as salmon and orcas are endangered.
The declining health of Puget Sound threatens the economic and environmental vitality of the Pacific Northwest.
The Governor of the State of Washington has taken steps to combat the decline of Puget Sound at the State government level.
The Federal Government should now match the efforts of the State of Washington. The Environmental Protection Agency should take the lead at the Federal level to create a comprehensive recovery package for Puget Sound, in coordination with the comprehensive conservation and management plan for Puget Sound, and should establish a Puget Sound office in the State of Washington. Other Federal agencies to be involved should include the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the United States Geological Survey, the Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Corps of Engineers, and the Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, Defense, and Transportation.
The Puget Sound recovery plan efforts should be listed in the President’s annual budget and should serve as a model of the use of science and efficient coordination between Federal, tribal, State, regional, and local efforts with an emphasis on monitoring, assessment, and reaching demonstrable goals.
Canada should join in this enhanced effort, given that Puget Sound and the Georgia Straits are the same waterway.
Title I of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:
Administrator shall establish in the Environmental Protection Agency a Puget
Sound Program Office (in this section referred to as the
Appointment of director
The Office shall be headed by a Director who, by reason of management experience and technical expertise relating to Puget Sound, is highly qualified to direct the development of programs and plans on a variety of issues relating to Puget Sound. The Office shall be located in the State of Washington.
Delegation of authority; staffing
The Administrator shall delegate to the Director such authority, and provide such additional staff, as may be necessary to carry out the duties of the Director under this section.
Duties of Director
The Director shall
assist the management conference convened for Puget Sound under section 320 (in
this section referred to as the
Conference) in carrying out its
In carrying out paragraph (1), the Director shall—
assist and support the implementation of
the comprehensive conservation and management plan developed by the Conference
pursuant to section 320 (in this section referred to as the
Comprehensive Plan), including efforts to establish, within the
process for granting watershed general permits, a system for promoting
innovative methodologies and technologies that are cost-effective and
consistent with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan;
to the extent practicable, coordinate the major functions of the Federal Government related to the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan, including programs and activities for water quality improvements, wetland and estuary restoration and protection, endangered species recovery, and research and studies commissioned under this Act;
conduct or commission studies and research considered necessary for strengthened implementation of the Comprehensive Plan, including studies and research described in paragraph (3);
coordinate and manage environmental data related to Puget Sound;
coordinate the grant, research, and planning programs authorized under this section;
coordinate activities for the protection of Puget Sound and the Georgia Straits with Canadian authorities;
coordinate activities and implementation responsibilities, including activities under species recovery plans, through cooperation with other Federal agencies that have jurisdiction in the Puget Sound watershed;
collect and make available to the public publications, and other forms of information the Conference determines to be appropriate, relating to the environmental quality of Puget Sound; and
biennially issue a report to Congress that—
summarizes the progress made in implementing the Comprehensive Plan;
summarizes any modifications to the Comprehensive Plan in the 12-month period immediately preceding such report; and
incorporates specific recommendations concerning the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan.
Studies and research
Areas for studies and research under paragraph (2)(C) shall include—
population growth and the adequacy of wastewater treatment facilities and on-site septic systems;
the use of physical, chemical, and biological methods for nutrient removal in sewage treatment plants;
contaminated sediments and dredging activities;
nonpoint source pollution abatement, including pollution from stormwater discharges, and land use activities in the Puget Sound watershed;
wetland, riparian, and near shore protection and restoration;
flood abatement and floodplain restoration techniques;
the impacts of forest and agricultural practices on the health of Puget Sound;
atmospheric deposition of pollutants into the Puget Sound watershed;
water quality requirements to sustain fish, shellfish, and wildlife populations, and the use of indicator species to assess environmental quality;
State water quality programs, for their adequacy pursuant to implementation of the Comprehensive Plan;
options for long-term financing of wastewater treatment projects and water pollution control programs;
water usage and efficiency;
toxic pollutants; and
such other areas as the Director considers appropriate.
The Director may enter into interagency agreements, make intergovernmental personnel appointments, and utilize other available methods in carrying out the Director’s duties under this subsection.
Grants To implement Comprehensive Plan
The Administrator may make grants to eligible recipients for projects and studies that will help implement the Comprehensive Plan.
Projects and studies eligible for assistance under this subsection include planning, research, modeling, construction, monitoring, implementation, citizen involvement and education, and such other activities as the Administrator considers appropriate.
The Federal share of the cost of a project or study receiving grant assistance under this subsection shall not exceed 50 percent of the cost of the project or study.
Eligible recipient defined
In this subsection, the term eligible recipient means a State, interstate, tribal, regional, or local water pollution control agency or other public or nonprofit private agency, institution, or organization.
Grants for projects To address sewage and stormwater discharges
The Administrator may make grants to eligible recipients for projects to address sewage and stormwater discharges into the Puget Sound watershed.
Projects eligible for assistance under this subsection include demonstration and research projects that provide treatment for, or that minimize, sewage or stormwater discharges using one or more approaches, including decentralized or distributed stormwater controls, decentralized wastewater treatment, low-impact development practices, conservation easements, stream buffers, and wetlands restoration.
Award of grants
Subject to subparagraph (B), the Administrator shall award grants under this subsection on a competitive basis.
In awarding grants under this subsection, the Administrator may give priority to a project located in a distressed community.
Subject to subparagraph (B), the Federal share of the cost of a project receiving grant assistance under this subsection shall not exceed 75 percent of the cost of the project.
The Federal share of the cost of a project receiving grant assistance under this subsection shall not exceed 100 percent of the cost of the project if the project is located in a distressed community.
In this subsection, the following definitions apply:
The term eligible recipient means a State, interstate, tribal, regional, or local water pollution control agency or other public or nonprofit private agency, institution, or organization.
The term distressed community means a community that meets affordability criteria established by the State in which the community is located, if such criteria are developed after public review and comment.
Annual budget plan
The President, as part of the annual budget of the United States Government, shall submit information regarding each Federal agency involved in Puget Sound protection and restoration, including—
an interagency crosscut budget that displays for each Federal agency—
amounts obligated in the preceding fiscal year for protection and restoration activities relating to Puget Sound;
the estimated budget for the current fiscal year for protection and restoration activities relating to Puget Sound; and
the proposed budget for protection and restoration activities relating to Puget Sound; and
a description of the Federal role in the Puget Sound Program and the specific role of each agency involved in Puget Sound protection and restoration, including specific activities conducted or planned to achieve the goals of the Comprehensive Plan.
Coordination with the conference
In carrying out this subsection, the President, to the extent practical, shall coordinate reporting, data collection, and planning activities with the Conference.
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Administrator to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2013.