H.R. 6422 (112th): International Conservation Corps Act of 2012

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Sep 14, 2012 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6422

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 14, 2012

(for himself and Mr. Crenshaw) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, 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 establish a program to provide grants to nonprofit organizations to enable such organizations to assign and support volunteers to assist foreign countries in the administration of their natural resources in an environmentally sustainable manner.

1.

Short Title

This Act may be cited as the International Conservation Corps Act of 2012.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

There is a significant deficit in the capability of many developing countries to manage their natural resources sustainably, which is fundamental to achieving economic development, poverty alleviation, conflict avoidance, good governance, and regional security.

(2)

Developing countries with a great wealth of natural resources are facing a great risk of conflict. Issues that arise in these countries include corruption, disputes over control and distribution of the resources and resulting wealth, fighting over and destruction of resources and resource-rich areas, and human rights abuses.

(3)

Developing countries that successfully manage their natural resource wealth, however, continue to benefit from these resources without resulting conflict.

(4)

It is in the security interest of the United States to share the vast experience and proven methodologies that the United States has achieved over many decades with developing countries struggling to establish their own successful natural resource management programs and policies.

(5)

The many United States senior professionals retiring from both the public and private sector with extensive experience and expertise in the field of natural resource management, acting in a voluntary capacity, presents a unique and important opportunity to help other countries develop the capacity to manage their natural resources sustainably.

3.

Establishment of program

(a)

In general

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall establish a program to provide grants to qualifying nonprofit organizations to enable such organizations to assign and support volunteers to assist foreign countries identified under section 4 in the administration of their natural resources in an environmentally sustainable manner.

(b)

Details of the program

The Secretary shall develop and implement the program such that it includes providing professional, scientific, and technical assistance and training to aid foreign countries in their efforts to—

(1)

develop, manage, and protect national parks, natural and cultural heritage sites, and other protected areas;

(2)

protect wildlife; and

(3)

develop capacity to sustainably manage their natural resources.

4.

Identification of foreign countries

(a)

In general

The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, shall—

(1)

identify foreign countries as appropriate for participation in the program;

(2)

notify such foreign countries of the program; and

(3)

encourage such foreign countries to seek to participate in the program.

5.

Award of grants to qualifying nonprofit organizations

(a)

Application

(1)

Required information

To be eligible to receive a grant under the program, a qualifying nonprofit organization shall submit to the Secretary an application including information regarding the expertise, past experience, and demonstrated capacity of the organization, as well as such other information as the Secretary may require.

(2)

Time, form, and manner of application

The application described in paragraph 1 shall be submitted to the Secretary at such time, and in such form and manner, as the Secretary may require.

(3)

Solicitation of applications

The Secretary shall solicit from qualifying nonprofit organizations applications for grants in accordance with this section.

(b)

Approval process

As soon as is practicable after the date of receipt of an application by the Secretary under subsection (a), the Secretary shall approve or disapprove the application.

(c)

Provision of grant

As soon as is practicable after the date on which the Secretary approves an application of a qualifying nonprofit organization under subsection (b), the Secretary shall provide a grant to such organization.

6.

Use of funds

Any organization that receives a grant under section 5 shall use funds received under such grant to—

(1)

recruit highly skilled and experienced volunteers to participate in the program; and

(2)

place such volunteers with foreign countries participating in the program to work in appropriate projects in the program, subject to section 8.

7.

Reporting requirement

(a)

Submission of periodic reports

At times specified by the Secretary, any organization that receives a grant under section 5 shall submit to the Secretary periodic reports that include all information that the Secretary determines is necessary to evaluate the progress and success of projects in the program for the purposes of ensuring positive results, assessing problems, and fostering improvements.

(b)

Internet publication of reports

The Secretary shall make reports under subsection (a) available to the public through the Internet website of the Department of the Interior.

8.

Terms and conditions of volunteer service

(a)

Assignment of volunteers

Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the assignment of volunteers in appropriate projects in the program shall be on such terms and conditions as the Secretary may determine.

(b)

Compensation of volunteers

Volunteers selected for participation in projects in the program shall not be compensated except for a stipend to cover travel costs, health and travel insurance costs, living costs, and accommodations, awarded in such amounts as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

9.

Funding

Of the unobligated amounts available to the Department of the Interior for fiscal years 2013 through 2017, notwithstanding any other provision of law specifying the purpose for which such amounts are provided, $10,000,000 is authorized to be made available to carry out this Act for each of the fiscal years 2013 through 2017.

10.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Program

The term program means the program established pursuant to section 3.

(2)

Qualifying nonprofit organization

The term qualifying nonprofit organization means an entity described in section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code.

(3)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior.