H.R. 480 (112th): Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Restoration Act of 2011

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Jan 26, 2011 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 480

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 26, 2011

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Energy and Commerce, and Science, Space, 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

A BILL

To establish programs to aid in the economic, environmental, and public health recovery of the Gulf States from the damage and harm caused by the blowout of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon and the resulting degradation of the Gulf over time, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Restoration Act of 2011.

2.

Gulf of Mexico Recovery Council

(a)

Establishment

There is established the Gulf of Mexico Recovery Council.

(b)

Membership

The Council shall consist of each member of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force established by Executive Order 13554 (75 Fed. Reg. 62313).

(c)

Chair

The Chair of the Council shall be the member designated as the Chair of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force under Executive Order 13554 (75 Fed. Reg. 62313).

(d)

Duties of the Council

The Council shall—

(1)

establish guidelines for State comprehensive restoration plans under section 4(b);

(2)

approve or disapprove State comprehensive restoration plans under section 4(d);

(3)

distribute funds under section 4(e) to States that have State comprehensive restoration plans approved under section 4(d);

(4)

annually review State comprehensive restoration plans under section 4(e)(2);

(5)

establish a Gulf of Mexico Observation System under section 5;

(6)

establish a Gulf of Mexico sea grant program under section 6;

(7)

establish a Gulf of Mexico seafood marketing program under section 7;

(8)

establish a Gulf of Mexico clean energy program under section 8;

(9)

establish a Gulf coast-based working group that includes representatives of members of the Council and other local agencies and representatives as appropriate for the purposes of recommending, coordinating, and implementing policies, programs, activities, and projects to accomplish Gulf coast economic development, ecosystem restoration, and public health rehabilitation under this Act;

(10)

coordinate the sharing of scientific information and other research associated with Gulf coast economic development, ecosystem restoration, and public health rehabilitation; and

(11)

submit an annual report to Congress under subsection (e).

(e)

Report

Not later than September 30 of each year, the Council shall submit to Congress a report that summarizes the activities of the Council and the policies, plans, activities, and projects carried out under this Act.

(f)

Nonapplicability of Federal Advisory Committee Act

The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Council or the working group established under subsection (d)(9).

3.

Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Recovery Fund

(a)

Establishment

There is established in the Treasury of the United States a fund to be known as the Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Recovery Fund.

(b)

Transfers to fund

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Treasury shall deposit into the Fund amounts equal to not less than 80 percent of any amounts collected by the United States before, on, or after the date of the enactment of this Act as penalties, settlements, or fines under sections 309 and 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1319, 1321) in relation to the Gulf oil spill.

(c)

Authorized uses

(1)

In general

The Fund shall be available to the Council, as provided in appropriations Acts, only for activities related to Gulf coast economic development, ecosystem restoration, and public health rehabilitation in accordance with this Act.

(2)

Grants to States

(A)

In general

The Council shall distribute 80 percent of the amounts made available for expenditure from the Fund in a fiscal year to the Gulf States to be used to carry out their respective State comprehensive restoration plans approved by the Council under section 4(d)(2), in accordance with section 4(e).

(B)

Proportional distribution

The Council shall allocate the amounts to be distributed to each Gulf State under this paragraph as follows:

(i)

Sixty percent shall be allocated based on each Gulf State’s proportionate share of the length of Gulf coast shoreline in the Gulf States, as determined by the Council based on the most recently available data from, or accepted by, the Office of Coast Survey of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

(ii)

Forty percent shall be allocated based on each Gulf State’s proportionate share of the aggregate population of all counties contained in whole or in part within the designated Gulf coast boundaries of the Gulf States, as determined by the Council based on the most recent United States census.

(3)

Regional grants

(A)

Use of funds

The Council shall distribute the remaining 20 percent of the amounts made available for expenditure from the Fund in such fiscal year in the form of grants as follows:

(i)

Forty percent for the Gulf of Mexico Observation System established under section 5.

(ii)

Fifteen percent for the Gulf of Mexico sea grant program established under section 6.

(iii)

Fifteen percent for the Gulf of Mexico seafood marketing program established under section 7.

(iv)

Thirty percent for the Gulf of Mexico clean energy program established under section 8.

(B)

Consistency with regional ecosystem restoration strategy

The Council shall ensure that any funds made available under this paragraph are used for projects and activities that are not inconsistent with the regional ecosystem restoration strategy developed by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force established by Executive Order 13554 (75 Fed. Reg. 62313).

4.

State comprehensive restoration plans

(a)

In general

In order to be eligible to receive funds under section 3(c)(2), a Gulf State shall submit to the Council a State comprehensive restoration plan regarding Gulf coast economic development, ecosystem restoration, and public health rehabilitation in the State, in accordance with this section.

(b)

Guidelines

(1)

In general

Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and after providing notice and an opportunity for public comment, the Council shall make available to the public guidelines for the development and submission of State comprehensive restoration plans under this section.

(2)

Contents of plan

(A)

In general

The Council shall require a State submitting a State comprehensive restoration plan under this section to ensure that the plan addresses the effects in the State of the Gulf oil spill with regards to the economy, the environment, and public health, both physical and mental.

(B)

Specific elements

The Council shall require a State submitting a State comprehensive restoration plan under this section to ensure that the plan specifically addresses the following elements:

(i)

Environmental restoration and remediation, including in coastal and marine ecosystems.

(ii)

Academic and applied research regarding the economy, environment, and public health.

(iii)

Seafood marketing.

(iv)

Tourism marketing.

(v)

Coastal land acquisition.

(vi)

Ecosystem resource planning and coastal and marine spatial planning (as that term is defined in Executive Order 13547 (75 Fed. Reg. 43023)).

(vii)

Renewable and clean energy production and development, energy conservation, and related retrofitting projects.

(c)

Deadline

A State submitting to the Council a State comprehensive restoration plan under this section shall do so not later than 90 days after the date on which the Council makes guidelines available to the public under subsection (b).

(d)

Review, approval, and disapproval

(1)

Review

Not later than 30 days after a State submits to the Council a State comprehensive restoration plan under subsection (a), the Council shall review and either approve or disapprove the State comprehensive restoration plan in accordance with this subsection.

(2)

Approval

The Council may approve a State comprehensive restoration plan from a State under this subsection if the plan meets all of the requirements of subsection (b) and the guidelines made available under such subsection.

(3)

Disapproval

If the Council disapproves a State comprehensive restoration plan under this subsection—

(A)

the Council shall provide to the State the reasons for the disapproval; and

(B)

the State may submit a revised State comprehensive restoration plan not later than 30 days after the date of such disapproval.

(e)

Distribution of funds

(1)

Timeline

If the Council approves a State comprehensive restoration plan under subsection (d), the Council shall establish a timeline for distributing funds to the State under section 3(c)(2) and distribute the funds according to such timeline.

(2)

Annual review

Not later than September 30 of each year during which funds are distributed to a State for a State comprehensive restoration plan under section 3(c)(2), the Council shall conduct a review of the implementation of the plan.

(3)

Withholding of funds

If the Council finds, based on an annual review conducted under paragraph (2), that a State is not fully implementing its State comprehensive restoration plan or the implementation of such plan is not achieving its stated objectives, the Council may withhold funds that have not yet been distributed under the timeline established under paragraph (1).

5.

Gulf of Mexico Observation System

(a)

Establishment

The Council shall establish a Gulf of Mexico Observation System to observe, monitor, and map the Gulf in a comprehensive manner in accordance with this section.

(b)

Administration

(1)

In general

The Gulf of Mexico Observation System established under subsection (a) shall be implemented through a Gulf of Mexico Exploration Research Center administered by an eligible entity chosen by the Council based on an application demonstrating the ability of the eligible entity to carry out the requirements of this section.

(2)

Grants

The Council shall make grants under section 3(c)(3)(A) to an eligible entity chosen under paragraph (1) for the administration of the Gulf of Mexico Exploration Research Center.

(c)

Facilitation of existing technologies

An eligible entity administering the Gulf of Mexico Observation System under subsection (b) shall facilitate the use of existing technologies in order to quickly increase observation and monitoring capabilities in the Gulf, including facilitating—

(1)

enhancement of existing ocean-based monitoring systems, including satellite imagery, moorings and autonomous observation platforms, oceanographic research vessels, subsurface sea floor mapping, coastal and wetland monitoring stations, robotic technology, computational modeling and forecasting, and vessels to support coastal monitoring and fishery assessment;

(2)

enhancement of the existing land-based monitoring facilities through the acquisition, construction, and development of laboratories, port infrastructure, equipment, and personnel that support, interface, communicate with, and provide integrated observation functions that supplement the ocean-based monitoring system;

(3)

support of operational costs for staffing relating to existing technologies; and

(4)

the development of academic programs focused on training in supportive fields, such as data assimilation, information synthesis and modeling, data visualization capabilities, and data management and analysis.

(d)

Development of new technologies

An eligible entity administering the Gulf of Mexico Observation System under subsection (b) shall facilitate the development of new monitoring technologies.

(e)

Specific technologies

(1)

Deployment

An eligible entity administering the Gulf of Mexico Observation System under subsection (b) shall deploy monitoring technologies, including the following:

(A)

Coastal sensor moorings.

(B)

Deep sea sensor moorings.

(C)

Sea floor sensor moorings in deep water.

(D)

Sensor moorings on oil and gas platforms and other structures.

(E)

Data transmission systems, including local- and regional-scale data nodes.

(F)

Research vessels for system deployment, system maintenance, and emergency response.

(G)

Port facilities to support research vessels, sensor moorings, and data transmission systems.

(H)

Sensor development and testing programs.

(I)

High-frequency radars to monitor physical properties of the surface water of the Gulf.

(2)

Support

An eligible entity administering the Gulf of Mexico Observation System under subsection (b) shall support monitoring technologies, including the following:

(A)

Autonomous underwater vehicles.

(B)

Satellite and acoustic tagging programs for migratory fishes, cetaceans, and sea turtles.

(C)

Computer modeling systems.

(f)

Definitions

In this section, the following definitions apply:

(1)

Eligible entity

The term eligible entity means an organization that—

(A)

is a consortium of public and private institutions of higher education in a Gulf State;

(B)

is formally established by a board of higher education in a Gulf State for the purpose of collaborating on marine science research;

(C)

has its operations physically located in the Gulf coast; and

(D)

demonstrates experience in carrying out the kinds of activities described in this section and the ability to carry out the requirements of subsections (c), (d), and (e).

(2)

Gulf

The term Gulf means the submerged lands of the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States, and the areas of the exclusive economic zone of the United States, within the Gulf of Mexico, including the associated coastal watersheds, estuaries, beaches, and wetlands.

(g)

Coordination with National Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System

The Council shall ensure that the Gulf of Mexico Observation System established under subsection (a) is developed in coordination with the National Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System established under section 12304 of the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 (33 U.S.C. 3603).

6.

Gulf of Mexico sea grant program

(a)

Establishment

The Council shall establish a grant program to fund Gulf coast restoration projects carried out by sea grant colleges or institutions, as designated under the National Sea Grant College Program Act (33 U.S.C. 1121 et seq.), that are located in Gulf States.

(b)

Application

In order to be eligible to receive a grant under this section, a sea grant college or institution located in a Gulf State shall submit to the Council an application describing the research on Gulf coast restoration activities to be carried out with funds made available through such grant, and how such research is consistent with the purposes of both the National Sea Grant College Program and this Act.

(c)

Report

A sea grant college or institution receiving a grant under this section shall submit an annual report to the Council containing such information as the Council may require.

7.

Gulf of Mexico seafood marketing program

(a)

Establishment

The Council shall establish a Gulf of Mexico seafood marketing program to be carried out in accordance with this section.

(b)

Gulf of Mexico Seafood Marketing Board

(1)

Establishment

The Council shall establish a Gulf of Mexico Seafood Marketing Board in accordance with this subsection.

(2)

Members

(A)

In general

The Board shall consist of 13 members appointed by the Council to reflect the expertise and interests of the seafood industry located within the Gulf States.

(B)

Selection

(i)

Solicitation of nominees

Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Council shall solicit from the Governors of the Gulf States nominations of individuals to be appointed as members.

(ii)

Appointment

Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Council shall appoint members from among the individuals nominated under clause (i).

(C)

Representation

The Council shall ensure that the members fairly reflect the seafood industry located within the Gulf States. The Board shall include the following:

(i)

Three individuals with experience in the harvesting of seafood.

(ii)

One individual with experience in managing a large seafood processing operation.

(iii)

One individual with experience in managing a small seafood processing operation.

(iv)

One individual with experience in seafood-related transportation and logistics.

(v)

One individual with experience in mass-market seafood distribution.

(vi)

One individual with experience in mass-market seafood retail or food service.

(vii)

One individual with experience in the marketing of seafood.

(viii)

One individual recommended by a Gulf coast region or State seafood marketing organization.

(ix)

One individual representing the aquaculture production of seafood.

(x)

Two individuals representing the general public who are familiar with the seafood industry as a whole.

(D)

Terms

(i)

In general

Each member shall be appointed for a term of 3 years.

(ii)

Term limit

No member may serve more than 3 consecutive terms.

(iii)

Vacancies

A vacancy on the Board shall not affect the ability of the Board to function. The Council shall appoint a new member in the manner in which the original appointment was made not later than 30 days after a vacancy occurs to fill the unexpired term of the vacated member.

(E)

Removal

The Board may remove a member from office for failure to attend 3 consecutive Board meetings without reasonable excuse.

(F)

Compensation

Members shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed in accordance with section 5703 of title 5, United States Code, for reasonable travel costs and expenses incurred in performing their duties as a member.

(3)

Administration

(A)

Chair

The Board shall be chaired by a member selected by a majority of members voting.

(B)

Quorum

A simple majority of members shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.

(C)

Executive director

(i)

In general

The Board shall employ an executive director.

(ii)

Salary limit

The salary of an executive director employed under clause (i) may not exceed the highest rate of basic pay established for the Senior Executive Service under section 5382 of title 5, United States Code.

(iii)

Qualifications

In order to be qualified to be employed as an executive director under clause (i), an individual must have demonstrated experience in the marketing and promotion of food products.

(D)

Staff

An executive director employed by the Board under subparagraph (C), with the approval of the Board, may select and employ such additional staff as the executive director determines necessary.

(E)

Limitation on administrative expenses

Not more than 5 percent of the funds distributed by the Council to the Board each year may be used by the Board to pay its administrative expenses.

(4)

Seafood marketing plans

(A)

In general

Not later than September 30 of each year, the Board shall submit to the Council a seafood marketing plan that describes the consumer education, research, and other marketing activities planned by the Board for the following year, including the selection procedures and criteria the Board plans to use for the awarding of grants.

(B)

Purposes

The Board shall design a seafood marketing plan submitted under this paragraph for the purposes of—

(i)

increasing consumer demand for seafood;

(ii)

encouraging, expanding, or improving the marketing and utilization of seafood; and

(iii)

improving consumer education, research, and other marketing activities regarding seafood.

(C)

Specific marketing activities permitted

The Board may include in a seafood marketing plan submitted under this paragraph marketing activities that reference a particular brand or trade name.

(D)

Review; approval; disapproval

(i)

Review

Not later than 30 days after the Board submits to the Council a seafood marketing plan under this paragraph, the Council shall review the marketing plan and approve or disapprove the plan in accordance with this subparagraph.

(ii)

Approval

If the Council determines that the plan meets the requirements of this paragraph, the Council shall approve the plan and make a grant to the Board in accordance with section 3(c)(3)(A).

(iii)

Disapproval

If the Council does not approve a plan under clause (ii)—

(I)

the Council shall provide to the Board the reasons for the disapproval; and

(II)

the Board shall submit a revised plan not later than 30 days after the date of such disapproval.

(5)

Grants to organizations and individuals

(A)

In general

The Board shall make grants to organizations and individuals, subject to such terms and conditions as the Board may require and consistent with the purposes of this section and the marketing plan approved by the Council.

(B)

Promotion of partnerships

In making grants under this subsection, the Board shall promote cost-sharing partnerships with non-Federal entities and may limit grant amounts to a portion of the estimated cost of a project.

(C)

Matching funds

If the Board conditions the making of a grant under this subsection on the availability of matching funds, such matching funds may include funds from private sources, funds from State or local governments, or the value of in-kind contributions.

(D)

Distribution goal

The Board shall seek to distribute not less than 10 percent of the funds it distributes under this subsection in a fiscal year through grants to minority-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, and small businesses.

(6)

Records

The Board shall maintain accounting records of the receipt and disbursement of all funds of the Board, which shall be subject to the review of the Council.

(7)

Report

Not later than September 1 of each year, the Board shall submit to the Council a report detailing the expenditures of the Board during the previous 12 months and the results of such expenditures.

(c)

Report

Not later than September 30 of each year, the Council shall submit to Congress a report regarding the results of the operations of the Gulf of Mexico seafood marketing program.

(d)

Definitions

In this section, the following definitions apply:

(1)

Board

The term Board means the Gulf of Mexico Seafood Marketing Board established by subsection (b)(1).

(2)

Member

The term member means a member of the Board.

(3)

Minority-owned business

The term minority-owned business means a business—

(A)

not less than 51 percent of which is owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals or, in the case of any publicly owned business, not less than 51 percent of the stock of which is owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; and

(B)

the management and daily business operations of which are controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

(4)

Seafood

The term seafood means farm-raised and wild-caught fish and shellfish harvested in the Gulf coast for human consumption.

(5)

Small business

The term small business has the meaning given the term small business concern in section 3 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632).

(6)

Socially and economically disadvantaged individual

The term socially and economically disadvantaged individual means an individual described as socially and economically disadvantaged in section 8(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(a)).

(7)

Veteran

The term veteran has the meaning given that term in section 101(2) of title 38, United States Code.

(8)

Veteran-owned business

The term veteran-owned business means a business—

(A)

not less than 51 percent of which is owned by one or more veterans or, in the case of any publicly owned business, not less than 51 percent of the stock of which is owned by one or more veterans; and

(B)

the management and daily business operations of which are controlled by one or more veterans.

8.

Gulf of Mexico clean energy program

(a)

Establishment

The Council shall establish a Gulf of Mexico clean energy program to make grants to eligible entities for qualified clean energy projects and qualified energy efficiency projects, in accordance with this section.

(b)

Application

In order to be eligible to receive a grant under this section, an eligible entity shall submit to the Council an application at such time, in such form, and containing such information as the Council may require.

(c)

Report

An eligible entity receiving a grant under this section shall submit an annual report to the Council containing such information as the Council may require.

(d)

Definitions

In this section, the following definitions apply:

(1)

Clean energy project

The term clean energy project means any electricity generation, transmission, storage, heating, cooling, industrial process, or manufacturing project the primary purpose of which is the deployment, development, or production of an energy system or technology that avoids, reduces, or sequesters air pollutants or anthropogenic greenhouse gases, including projects based on the following energy technologies:

(A)

Solar.

(B)

Wind.

(C)

Geothermal.

(D)

Biomass.

(E)

Hydropower.

(F)

Ocean.

(G)

Fuel cell.

(H)

Advanced battery.

(I)

Carbon capture and sequestration.

(J)

Next generation biofuels.

(2)

Eligible entity

The term eligible entity means a State or local government, an individual, a nonprofit organization, or a private business.

(3)

Energy efficiency project

The term energy efficiency project means any project, technology, function, or measure that results in the reduction of energy use required to achieve the same level of service or output prior to the application of such project, technology, function, or measure, or substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions relative to emissions that would have occurred prior to the application of such project, technology, function, or measure.

(4)

Qualified clean energy project

The term qualified clean energy project means a clean energy project that—

(A)

is carried out within a Gulf State;

(B)

pays wages in accordance with subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40, United States Code (commonly known as the Davis-Bacon Act); and

(C)

satisfies any other conditions established by the Council.

(5)

Qualified energy efficiency project

The term qualified energy efficiency project means an energy efficiency project, including Smart Grid technologies and functions characterized in section 1301 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C. 17381) and end-use technologies for efficiency gains in new construction and across existing infrastructure, that—

(A)

is carried out within a Gulf State;

(B)

pays wages in accordance with subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40, United States Code (commonly known as the Davis-Bacon Act); and

(C)

satisfies any other conditions established by the Council.

9.

Definitions

In this Act, the following definitions apply:

(1)

Fund

The term Fund means the Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Recovery Fund established by section 3(a).

(2)

Council

The term Council means the Gulf of Mexico Recovery Council established by section 2(a).

(3)

Gulf coast

The term Gulf coast means the coastal zones, as determined pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.), of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi and adjacent State waters and submerged lands of the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico.

(4)

Gulf States

The term Gulf States means the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

(5)

Gulf oil spill

The term Gulf oil spill means the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon that began on April 20, 2010.