|Sponsor||Rep. Bishop, Timothy H.|
|Committee||Transportation and Infrastructure|
|Date||April 15, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)|
|Staff Contact||John Gray|
H.R. 4715 is expected to be considered on the floor on Thursday, April 15, 2010, under a structured rule making in order seven amendments. The rule also provides same day and suspension authority through April 16, 2010, for a measure regarding the extension of unemployment insurance.
This legislation was introduced by Representative Tim Bishop (D-NY) on March 2, 2010, and referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which held a mark-up and reported the bill by voice vote the following day.
H.R. 4715, the Clean Estuaries Act of 2010, reauthorizes section 320 of the Clean Water Act which extends the Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program through FY2016, and increases the authorization to $50 million (currently $35 million) in each fiscal year for the next five year.
The bill requires the estuary management conferences, which are composed of state, local, federal, private and nonprofit entities, to develop a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plans (CCMP). The plans would identity candidate estuaries and associated upstream water, recommend priority corrective actions and compliance schedules, and determine current and future sustainable commercial activities in the estuary. The bill would also require that the plans address the impact of climate change on the estuary.
The bill requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state officials in which the estuary is located, to monitor the estuary and associated water quality conditions, monitor habitat conditions related to the ecological health and water quality conditions, and to monitor the effectiveness of the actions taken as part of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.
The measure directs the EPA to approve and implement the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan no later than 120 days after the plan is submitted. The bill increases the evaluation of the implementation of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan by requiring each National Estuary Program (NEP) to be evaluated every four years.
The bill requires that any federal agency activities affecting the estuary be conducted, to the extent possible, in a consistent manner with the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP).
An estuary is the area at the mouth of a river where freshwater and seawater mix and includes marshes, bays, and mudflats. Estuaries experience both outflows from rivers and inflows from the ocean, which provides a unique environment for a variety of plant and aquatic wildlife.
In 1987, Congress added section 320 to the Clean Water Act establishing, within the EPA, the National Estuaries Program (NEP). The program is intended to promote comprehensive evaluation and planning efforts to protect estuaries in the United States that are deemed to be threatened by pollution, development, or overuse.
Currently, 28 National Estuary Programs receive federal funding. The funding is used for grants planning and management activities to address the degradation of the estuaries. The EPA implements this program and oversees all NEP activities in each of the 28 estuaries.
Congress reauthorized section 320 of the Clean Water Act in 2000 for five years and increased the authorization amount to $35 million. It had previously been authorized $12 million for each fiscal year. In 2004, Congress again reauthorized section 320 at the same annual funding level through fiscal year 2010.
According to CBO, H.R. 4715 would increase the authorized annual funding level to $50 million from 2011 to 2015. CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost $216 million over the 2011-2015 period, assuming appropriation of the authorized amount.