|Sponsor||Rep. Bishop, Rob|
|Date||September 19, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)|
|Staff Contact||Andy Koenig|
On Wednesday, September 19, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 6060, the Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority for approval. The bill was introduced on June 29, 2012, by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which held a mark up and reported the bill by voice vote on September 14, 2012.
H.R. 6060 would extend and maintain annual base funding for the Upper Colorado and San Juan fish recovery programs through fiscal year 2019, which are currently $4 million and $2 million per year, respectively. The Secretary would be required to submit a report by the end of FY 2018, similar to one that was required in 2008, on the “utilization of power revenues for base funding” that includes a recommendation regarding the “need for continued base funding after fiscal year 2019.” H.R. 6060 adds that the report must describe the programs’ actions and accomplishments, the status of and projections for delisting four endangered species of fish.
H.R. 6060 limits the amount of overhead that can be charged on transfers of funds for the purpose of funding these two programs to 3 percent. The current limit is 22 percent. The bill also stipulates that no federal funds may be used by Interior employees or designees for the purpose of advocating for the Recovery Implementation Programs outside of their designated duty stations.
According to Committee Report 112-672, the Upper Colorado and San Juan River basins are important both as sources of water and hydroelectric power and as the habitats of four endangered species of fish. The Upper Colorado and San Juan River Recovery Implementation Programs have helped 2,300 governmental and non-governmental water and power projects come into compliance with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act. This has helped increase water and power delivery while dramatically reducing the number of ESA lawsuits. Since the establishment of the programs water use in the basins has increased by more than 1.2 million acre feet.
Aside from extending funding for the programs, H.R. 6060 also reforms them and increases transparency. Under current law, agencies can charge overhead on up to 22 percent of fund transfers. Also, under current law employees are allowed to use these funds to travel and advocate for more funding. By limiting overhead charges to 3 percent and restricting employees from using federal funds for advocacy, H.R. 6060 ensures more money is going to fund on-the-ground projects. H.R. 6060 also requires that agencies report on the effectiveness of the program and how power revenues are being used, allowing Congress to be able to maintain more effective oversight over the programs.
According to CBO, H.R. 6060 would not affect the federal budget. The recovery programs are currently funded by revenues from the sale of hydroelectric power at levels of about $3 million per year.