H.R. 2484 (112th): Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2011

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Jul 11, 2011 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2484

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 11, 2011

(for himself, Mrs. Christensen, Mr. Michaud, Mr. Grijalva, Ms. Pingree of Maine, and Mr. Mack) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and in addition to the Committee on Natural Resources, 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 reauthorize the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 to include a comprehensive and integrated strategy to address harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, to provide for the development and implementation of a comprehensive research plan and action strategy to reduce harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2011.

2.

Amendment of Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998

Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 (16 U.S.C. 1451 note).

3.

Definitions

Section 602 is amended to read as follows:

602.

Definitions

In this title:

(1)

Administrator

The term Administrator means the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

(2)

NOAA

The term NOAA means the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

(3)

Plan

The term Plan means the comprehensive research plan and action strategy under section 605.

(4)

Program

The term Program means the National Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Program established under section 604(a).

(5)

State

The term State means each of the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, any other territory or possession of the United States, and any Indian tribe.

(6)

Task Force

The term Task Force means the Inter-Agency Task Force on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia established under section 603(a)(1).

(7)

Under Secretary

The term Under Secretary means the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

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4.

Inter-Agency Task Force

Section 603(a) is amended to read as follows:

(a)

Inter-Agency Task Force

(1)

Establishment

The President, through the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources of the National Science and Technology Council, shall establish an Inter-Agency Task Force on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia.

(2)

Representation

The Task Force shall consist of representatives from the following:

(A)

The Department of Commerce.

(B)

The Environmental Protection Agency.

(C)

The Department of Agriculture.

(D)

The Department of the Interior.

(E)

The Department of the Navy.

(F)

The Department of Health and Human Services.

(G)

The National Science Foundation.

(H)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

(I)

The Food and Drug Administration.

(J)

The Office of Science and Technology Policy.

(K)

The Council on Environmental Quality.

(L)

Such other Federal agencies as the President considers appropriate.

(3)

Chairperson

The Under Secretary from the Department of Commerce shall serve as the Chairperson of the Task Force.

(4)

Required meetings

(A)

In general

The Task Force shall meet, or otherwise communicate, to coordinate activities within each agency represented on the Task Force in order to fulfill the program requirements in section 604(b).

(B)

Frequency

The Task Force shall meet at least once per year.

(5)

Budget coordination

The Task Force shall—

(A)

coordinate in the development of individual agency budgets for the activities described in section 604 that will ensure an appropriate balance among the research and action priorities; and

(B)

submit such budgets to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget at the time designated by the Director for agencies to submit annual budgets.

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5.

National Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Program

The Act is amended—

(1)

by redesignating sections 605 and 606 as sections 608 and 609, respectively;

(2)

by redesignating section 604 as section 606; and

(3)

by inserting after section 603 the following:

604.

National Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Program

(a)

In general

Except as provided in subsection (d), the Under Secretary, through the Task Force, shall maintain a National Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Program in accordance with authorities under section 603 pursuant to this section.

(b)

Duties

The Under Secretary, through the Program, shall coordinate the efforts of the Task Force to—

(1)

develop and promote a national strategy to understand, detect, monitor, predict, control, mitigate, and respond to marine and freshwater harmful algal bloom and hypoxia events;

(2)

integrate the research of all Federal programs, including ocean and Great Lakes science and management programs and centers, that address the chemical, biological, and physical components of marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

(3)

assist and coordinate, where appropriate, with State, tribal, and local government agencies, programs, and regional efforts that address marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, including the development and implementation of appropriate response plans, strategies, and tools;

(4)

identify additional research, development, and demonstration needs and priorities relating to understanding, detection, monitoring, prediction, prevention, control, mitigation, and response to marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

(5)

ensure the development and use of methods and technologies to protect the ecosystems affected by marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

(6)

coordinate existing education programs to improve public understanding and awareness of the causes, impacts, and mitigation efforts for marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

(7)

provide resources to assist in the training of State, tribal, and local water and coastal resource managers in the methods and technologies for detecting, monitoring, controlling, mitigating, and responding to the effects of marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia events;

(8)

oversee the development, review, and periodic updating of the Plan; and

(9)

administer peer-reviewed, merit-based competitive grant funding to support—

(A)

the projects maintained and established by the Program; and

(B)

the research and management needs and priorities identified in the Plan.

(c)

Cooperative efforts

The Under Secretary shall work cooperatively and avoid duplication of efforts with other offices, centers, and programs within NOAA and other agencies represented on the Task Force, States, tribes, and nongovernmental organizations concerned with marine and freshwater aquatic issues related to harmful algal blooms and hypoxia.

(d)

Freshwater program

With respect to the freshwater aspects of the Program, the Administrator and the Under Secretary, through the Task Force, shall carry out the duties otherwise assigned to the Under Secretary under this section, excluding the activities described in subsection (e). The Administrator’s participation under this subsection shall include—

(1)

research on the ecology of freshwater harmful algal blooms;

(2)

monitoring of and event response to freshwater harmful algal blooms in lakes, rivers, estuaries, and reservoirs; and

(3)

mitigation and control of freshwater harmful algal blooms.

(e)

NOAA Activities

As part of the program under this section, the Under Secretary shall—

(1)

maintain existing peer-reviewed competitive grant programs at NOAA relating to marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

(2)

conduct marine and freshwater harmful algal bloom and hypoxia event response activities; and

(3)

ensure communication and coordination among Federal agencies carrying out marine and freshwater harmful algal bloom and hypoxia activities and increase the availability to appropriate public and private entities of—

(A)

analytical facilities and technologies;

(B)

operational forecasts; and

(C)

reference and research materials.

(f)

Integrated coastal and ocean observation system

All monitoring and observation data collected under this Act shall be collected in compliance with all data standards and protocols developed pursuant to the National Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 (33 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.), and such data shall be made available through the system established under that Act.

(g)

Technology research, development, and demonstration

(1)

In general

As part of the duties described in subsection (b), the Under Secretary and the Administrator, through the Task Force, shall maintain a focus on technology research and development for each of the categories of marine harmful algal blooms, freshwater harmful algal blooms, and hypoxia in the following areas:

(A)

Monitoring.

(B)

Prediction.

(C)

Prevention.

(D)

Control.

(E)

Mitigation.

(F)

Response to events, including remediation.

(2)

Enumeration

As part of the report required under subsection (i), the Under Secretary, in coordination with the Administrator, shall enumerate the technology research and development conducted for each of the areas identified in paragraph (1).

(3)

Protocol

The Under Secretary, in coordination with the Administrator, shall develop a protocol for—

(A)

assessing the stage of technology development that is ready to move from lab testing to field testing;

(B)

coordinating local, State, and Federal authorities to facilitate measures necessary to conduct field tests in a timely manner; and

(C)

working with local and State entities, programs, and interested stakeholders to conduct outreach and education on technology field testing projects.

(h)

Information clearinghouse

(1)

Electronic information

Using the authority under section 603(i)(2)(B), the Under Secretary, in coordination with the Administrator, shall expand the existing electronic clearinghouse to provide information about marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, including—

(A)

the Federal agencies involved in research and development on understanding, detection, monitoring, prediction, prevention, control, mitigation, and response activities;

(B)

tools available to predict and model events; and

(C)

current or developing technologies for detection, monitoring, prediction, prevention, control, mitigation, and response, including remediation.

(2)

Toxin standards

The Under Secretary, in coordination with the Administrator, shall—

(A)

develop a mechanism to provide a reliable and cost-effective supply of toxin standards for comparative research; and

(B)

notify the Congress of such mechanism as part of the report required under subsection (i).

(i)

Report

Not later than 1 year after the submission of the Plan, the Under Secretary, in coordination with the Administrator, shall prepare and transmit to the Congress a report that describes—

(1)

the activities carried out under the Program and the Plan and the budget related to such activities;

(2)

the progress made on implementing the action strategy; and

(3)

the need to revise or terminate activities or projects under the Program.

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6.

Comprehensive research plan and action strategy

The Act is amended by inserting after section 604, as added by section 5(3) of this Act, the following:

605.

Comprehensive research plan and action strategy

(a)

In general

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2011, the Under Secretary, through the Task Force, shall transmit to the Congress a comprehensive research plan and action strategy to address marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia that identifies—

(1)

the specific activities to be carried out by the Program and the timeline for carrying out such activities;

(2)

the roles and responsibilities of each Federal agency in the Task Force in carrying out Program activities; and

(3)

appropriate regions and subregions requiring specific research and activities to address local, State, and regional harmful algal blooms and hypoxia.

(b)

Regional focus

The regional and subregional parts of the Plan shall identify—

(1)

regional priorities for ecological, economic, and social research on issues related to the impacts of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

(2)

research, development, and demonstration activities needed to develop and advance technologies and techniques for minimizing the occurrence of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia and improving capabilities to detect, predict, monitor, control, mitigate, respond to, and remediate harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

(3)

ways to reduce the duration and intensity of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, including deployment of response technologies in a timely manner;

(4)

research and methods to address human health dimensions of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

(5)

mechanisms, including the potential costs and benefits of those mechanisms, to protect ecosystems that may be or have been affected by harmful algal blooms and hypoxia events;

(6)

mechanisms by which data, information, and products may be transferred between the Program and State, tribal, and local governments and relevant research entities;

(7)

communication and information dissemination methods that State, tribal, and local governments may undertake to educate and inform the public concerning harmful algal blooms and hypoxia; and

(8)

the roles that Federal agencies may have to assist in the implementation of the Plan.

(c)

Utilizing available studies and information

In developing the Plan, the Under Secretary shall utilize existing research, assessments, reports, and program activities, including—

(1)

those carried out pursuant to existing law; and

(2)

other relevant peer-reviewed and published sources.

(d)

Development of the Plan

In developing the Plan, the Under Secretary shall, as appropriate—

(1)

coordinate with—

(A)

State coastal management and planning officials;

(B)

tribal resource management officials; and

(C)

water management and watershed officials from both coastal States and noncoastal States with water sources that drain into water bodies affected by harmful algal blooms and hypoxia; and

(2)

consult with—

(A)

public health officials;

(B)

emergency management officials;

(C)

science and technology development institutions;

(D)

economists;

(E)

industries and businesses affected by marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

(F)

scientists with expertise concerning harmful algal blooms or hypoxia from academic or research institutions; and

(G)

other stakeholders.

(e)

Federal Register

The Under Secretary shall publish the Plan in the Federal Register.

(f)

Periodic revision

The Under Secretary, in coordination and consultation with the individuals and entities identified in subsection (d), shall periodically review and revise the Plan prepared under this section, as necessary.

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7.

Northern Gulf of Mexico hypoxia

Section 606, as redesignated by section 5(2) of this Act, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(c)

Required update

(1)

In general

Prior to the implementation of any plan developed under this section, including the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan 2008, the Administrator, through the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force, shall complete and submit to the Congress and the President an updated assessment and a revised action plan based on the updated assessment.

(2)

Requirements

The updated assessment shall take into account the following:

(A)

The role of nutrient influx in the context of water column stratification, seasonal flows and conditions, and wind and current dynamics in the Gulf of Mexico.

(B)

The contribution of the topography of the Gulf of Mexico in the effects of the characteristics described in subparagraph (A) on the hypoxic zone.

(C)

The frequency and availability of monitoring to measure the size of the hypoxic zone.

(D)

The potential of hypoxia hot-spot formation within the Gulf of Mexico and possible causes of such hot-spots.

(E)

The contribution of wetland loss to hypoxia events in the Gulf of Mexico.

(F)

The actual effect of hypoxia on the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico and the benefits resulting from a reduced hypoxic zone size.

(G)

A scientifically generated, peer-reviewed goal for the size of the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

(3)

Research strategy

The updated plan shall include a research strategy—

(A)

to enhance understanding of the contribution of topography, water column stratification, seasonal flows and conditions, and wind and current dynamics on the size of the hypoxic zone;

(B)

to develop models able to—

(i)

simulate different shelf regions and the fundamental processes that act in each shelf region;

(ii)

differentiate between the separate effects of stratification and nutrient loading in the formation of hypoxia; and

(iii)

be informed by realistic three-dimensional hydrodynamic and biogeochemical models;

(C)

that determines the appropriate amount of monitoring and measuring necessary to get a scientifically robust accounting on the size of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone; and

(D)

that examines several potential solutions based on information provided by the updated assessment in paragraph (1).

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8.

Chesapeake Bay dead zone

(a)

In general

The Act is amended by inserting after section 606, as redesignated by section 5(2) of this Act, the following:

607.

Chesapeake Bay dead zone

(a)

Assessment plan

Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2011, the Task Force, in accordance with the authority under section 603, shall complete and submit to the Congress and the President an integrated assessment of hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay that examines the status of and gaps within current research, monitoring, prevention, response, and control activities by—

(1)

Federal agencies;

(2)

state agencies;

(3)

regional research consortia;

(4)

academia;

(5)

private industry; and

(6)

nongovernmental organizations.

(b)

Research plan

(1)

In general

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2011, the Task Force shall develop and submit to the Congress a plan, based on the integrated assessment submitted under subsection (a), for reducing, mitigating, and controlling hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay.

(2)

Requirements

In developing such plan, the Task Force shall—

(A)

consult with State and local governments and representatives from academic, agricultural, industry, and other stakeholder groups;

(B)

include incentive-based partnership approaches;

(C)

include an economic cost-benefit analysis of the measures for reducing, mitigating, and controlling hypoxia events;

(D)

utilize existing research, assessments, reports, and program activities;

(E)

publish a summary of the proposed plan in the Federal Register 90 days prior to the submission to the Congress of the completed plan; and

(F)

provide progress reports every 2 years after the submission to the Congress of the completed plan on the activities leading toward attainment of the goals set forth in the plan.

(3)

Contents

The plan shall—

(A)

address the monitoring needs identified in the integrated assessment submitted under subsection (a) and develop a timeline and budgetary requirements for deployment of future assets;

(B)

detail procedures for the development and verification of Chesapeake Bay hypoxia models, including making available to the public—

(i)

all assumptions built into the models; and

(ii)

data quality methods used to ensure the best available data is utilized; and

(C)

describe efforts to improve the assessment of the impacts of hypoxia by—

(i)

characterizing current and past biological conditions in ecosystems affected by hypoxia; and

(ii)

quantifying effects, including economic effects, at the population and community level.

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9.

Authorization of appropriations

(a)

Authorization

Section 608, as redesignated by section 5(1) of this Act, is amended to read as follows:

608.

Authorization of appropriations

(a)

In general

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Under Secretary to carry out this Act $18,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2012 through 2015, of which, for each fiscal year—

(1)

$1,000,000 may be used for the development of the comprehensive research plan and action strategy under section 605 and the assessment and reports required by sections 606 and 607;

(2)

$4,000,000 may be used for the research and assessment activities related to marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms at research laboratories of NOAA;

(3)

$4,000,000 may be used to carry out the Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms Program (ECOHAB);

(4)

$1,500,000 may be used to carry out the Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Blooms Program (MERHAB);

(5)

$2,000,000 may be used to carry out research and assessment for the Northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and hypoxia activities;

(6)

$1,500,000 may be used to carry out coastal hypoxia research activities;

(7)

$1,500,000 may be used to carry out prevention, control, and mitigation activities;

(8)

$500,000 may be used to carry out event response activities; and

(9)

$500,000 may be used to carry out infrastructure activities.

(b)

Use of funds

From funds made available under section 2(a)(2) of the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1981 (Public Law 96–569; 94 Stat. 3335), the Administrator may utilize up to $3,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2012 through 2015 to carry out the authorized activities under this Act.

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(b)

Extramural research activities

The Under Secretary shall ensure that a substantial portion of funds appropriated pursuant to section 608 of the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 that are used for research purposes are allocated to extramural research activities.

10.

Clerical amendments

(a)

Table of contents amendment

The table of contents in section 2 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1998 is amended by striking the items relating to sections 602 through 606 and inserting the following:

602. Definitions.

603. Assessments.

604. National harmful algal bloom and hypoxia program.

605. Comprehensive research plan and action strategy.

606. Northern Gulf of Mexico hypoxia.

607. Chesapeake Bay dead zone.

608. Authorization of appropriations.

609. Protection of States’ rights.

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(b)

References

Section 609, as redesignated by section 5(1) of this Act, is amended by striking Clean Water Act or each place it appears and inserting Federal Water Pollution Control Act or the.