S. 3613 (112th): Arctic Research, Monitoring, and Observing Act of 2012

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Sep 21, 2012 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3613

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

September 21, 2012

(for himself and Ms. Murkowski) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

A BILL

To promote research, monitoring, and observation of the Arctic and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Arctic Research, Monitoring, and Observing Act of 2012.

2.

Findings and purpose

(a)

Findings

Congress makes the following findings:

(1)

The United States is an Arctic Nation with—

(A)

an approximately 700-mile border with the Arctic Ocean;

(B)

more than 100,000,000 acres of land above the Arctic Circle; and

(C)

an even broader area defined as Arctic by temperature, which includes the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

(2)

The Arctic region of the United States is home to an indigenous population that has subsisted for millennia on the abundance in marine mammals, fish, and wildlife, many of which are unique to the region.

(3)

Temperatures in the United States Arctic region have warmed by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius over the past half-century, a rate of increase that is twice the global average.

(4)

The Arctic ice pack is rapidly diminishing and thinning, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates the Arctic Ocean may be ice free during summer months in as few as 30 years.

(5)

Such changes to the Arctic region are having a significant impact on the indigenous people of the Arctic, their communities and ecosystems, as well as the marine mammals, fish, and wildlife upon which they depend.

(6)

Such changes are opening new portions of the United States Arctic continental shelf to possible development for offshore oil and gas, commercial fishing, marine shipping, and tourism.

(7)

Existing Federal research and science advisory programs focused on the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of a changing Arctic lack a cohesive, coordinated, and integrated approach and are not adequately coordinated with State, local, academic, and private-sector Arctic research programs.

(8)

The lack of research integration and synthesis of findings of Arctic research has impeded the progress of the United States and international community in understanding climate change impacts and feedback mechanisms in the Arctic Ocean.

(9)

An improved scientific understanding of the changing Arctic is critical to the development of appropriate and effective regional, national, and global climate change adaptation strategies.

(b)

Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to establish a permanent program to conduct research, monitoring, and observation activities in the Arctic—

(1)

to promote and sustain a productive and resilient marine, coastal, and estuarine ecosystem in the Arctic and the human uses of its natural resources through greater understanding of how the ecosystem works and monitoring and observation of its vital signs; and

(2)

to track and evaluate the effectiveness of natural resource management in the Arctic in order to facilitate improved performance and adaptive management.

3.

Arctic Research Commission

(a)

Duties of the Arctic Research Commission

Section 104(a) of the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 (15 U.S.C. 4103(a)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (2), by striking assist in establishing and inserting establish;

(2)

by redesignating paragraphs (3) through (10) as paragraphs (4) through (11), respectively; and

(3)

by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:

(3)

provide—

(A)

grants to Federal, State, local, or tribal governments and academic and private organizations to conduct research on or related to the Arctic, including to the marine environment of the Arctic Ocean, its adjacent seas or associated lesser bodies of water; and

(B)

such grants on the basis of merit in accordance with such national Arctic research program plan;

.

(b)

Administration of the Commission

Section 106 of the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 (15 U.S.C. 4105) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (4), by striking and at the end;

(2)

in paragraph (5), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon and and; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(6)

enter into agreements with appropriate agencies or organizations to administer grants made pursuant to this title for Arctic research including reimbursement from funds of the Commission to administer such grants.

.

(c)

Compensation of Commission members

Section 103(d)(1) of the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 (15 U.S.C. 4102(d)(1)) is amended by striking for compensation in the second sentence and inserting by the Federal Government or any State or local government.

(d)

Conflicts of interest

(1)

Arctic Research Commission

Section 103 of the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 (15 U.S.C. 4102) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(e)

The Commission shall adopt conflict of interest and recusal provisions that apply to any decision by the Commission and to all members of the Commission as if each member of the Commission is an affected individual within the meaning of section 302(j) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1852(j)), except that in addition to the disclosure requirements of paragraph (2) of such section 302(j), each Commission member shall disclose any financial interest or relationship in an organization or with an individual that is applying for funding from the Commission held by the Commission member, including an interest as an officer, director, trustee, partner, employee, contractor, agent, or other representative.

.

(2)

North Pacific Research Board

Subsection (e) of section 401 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1998 (43 U.S.C. 1474d) is amended—

(A)

in paragraph (4)(B), by striking 15 percent and inserting 20 percent; and

(B)

by striking paragraph (5) and inserting the following:

(5)

The Board shall adopt conflict of interest and recusal provisions that apply to any decision by the Board and to all members of the Board as if each member of the Board is an affected individual within the meaning of section 302(j) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1852(j)), except that in addition to the disclosure requirements of paragraph (2) of such section 302(j), each Board member shall disclose any financial interest or relationship in an organization or with an individual that is applying for funding from the Board, including an interest as an officer, director, trustee, partner, employee, contractor, agent, or other representative.

.

4.

Environmental Improvement and Restoration Fund

(a)

Transfer and availability of amounts earned

Subsection (c) of section 401 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1998 (43 U.S.C. 1474d) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking To the extent provided in the subsequent appropriations Acts, 80 percent of such amounts shall be made available and inserting 40 percent of such amounts shall be made available without further appropriations;

(2)

in paragraph (2), by striking 20 percent and inserting 25 percent; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(3)

25 percent of such amounts shall be made without further appropriation to the United States Arctic Research Commission for the purposes of carrying out research and monitoring in the Arctic as provided in subsection (f).

(4)

10 percent of such amounts shall be made available without further appropriations to the Secretary of Commerce to fund the Alaska Ocean Observing Program as provided in subsection (g).

.

(b)

Use of funds

Section 401 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1998 (43 U.S.C. 1474d) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(f)

United States Arctic Research Commission

Funds available under subsection (c)(3) shall be used by the Arctic Research Commission established by section 103 of the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 to provide grants to Federal and State governments and academic and private organizations to conduct research and monitoring, including the identification of Important Ecological Areas, on or related to the Arctic, including the marine environment of the Arctic Ocean, its adjacent seas or associated lesser bodies of water. Not more than 20 percent of such funds may be used to provide support for the Arctic Research Commission and administer grants under this subsection.

.

(g)

Alaska Ocean Observing System

Funds available under subsection (c)(4) shall be used to support the Alaska Ocean Observing System in a manner consistent with the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 (33 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.), for the purpose of establishing long-term ocean observing systems and monitoring programs in waters of the United States in the North Pacific, Bering Sea, and Arctic Ocean. Not more than 20 percent of the funds made available pursuant to subsection (c)(4) may be used to provide administrative support under this subsection.

(h)

Duplication of effort; report

Programs and grants funded pursuant to paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of subsection (c) shall seek to avoid duplicating other research activities. The North Pacific Research Board, the Arctic Research Commission, and the Alaska Ocean Observing System shall—

(1)

meet not less than once annually to promote coordination among research programs and projects; and

(2)

submit to Congress and the President an annual report on the status of research conducted pursuant to this title.

(i)

Arctic defined

In this section, the term Arctic has the meaning given that term in section 112 of the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 (15 U.S.C. 4111).

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