|Sponsor||Rep. Larsen, Rick|
|Date||December 7, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)|
|Staff Contact||Andy Koenig|
The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 1672, on Monday, December 7, 2009, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 1672 was introduced on March 23, 2009, by Rep. Rick Larson (D-WA) and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which held a mark-up and reported the bill, as amended, by voice vote on November 18, 2009.
H.R. 1672 would reauthorize the Northwest Straits Initiative, an intergovernmental partnership that uses federal and other funds to protect marine resources in the State of Washington.
In addition, the legislation would codify a number of components of the Initiative, including:
• Reauthorizes the Northwest Straits Advisory Commission and specifies how the make-up of the 14 member Commission is to be determined.
• Defines the duties of the Commission and its goal "to protect and restore the marine waters, habitats, and species of the Northwest Straits region to achieve ecosystem health and sustainable resource use."
• Requires the Commission to make annual reports describing the activities of the Commission and their progress in achieving certain benchmarks.
• Authorizes the Department of Ecology of the State of Washington to appoint a Director of the Commission with the ability hire personnel.
• Establishes marine resources committees to address issues affecting the marine ecosystems in particular counties.
• Allows the Director of the Commission to establish a nonprofit organization called the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Foundation to receive grants to assist the Commission and the marine resources committees in carrying out their duties.
The Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative was created by Congress in 1998 to coordinate local, federal, State, and tribal conservation efforts to restore the marine environment in Washington State. Congress established the Northwest Straits Advisory Commission to oversee seven county-based Marine Resources Committees. According to findings listed in the bill, "Ocean literacy and identification and removal of marine debris projects are examples of on-going partnerships between the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative." CBO reports that the original authorization for the Northwest Straits Initiative expired in FY 2004 and that the Initiative has since received annual appropriations ranging from $1 million to $2 million, including $1.6 million in fiscal year 2009. CBO predicts that annual funding for the Initiative will remain at approximately $2 million for the FY 2010-FY 2014 period.
According to CBO, H.R. 1672 would cost $2 million annually over the FY 2010-FY 2014 period.