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106th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     106-594

======================================================================



 
            LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN BASIN RESTORATION ACT OF 2000





  May 2, 2000.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Shuster, from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2957]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 2957) to amend the Federal Water 
Pollution Control Act to authorize funding to carry out certain 
water quality restoration projects for Lake Pontchartrain 
Basin, Louisiana, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon with an amendment and 
recommends that the bill as amended do pass.
  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE

  This Act may be cited as the ``Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration 
Act of 2000''.

SEC. 2. NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM.

  (a) Finding.--Congress finds that the Lake Ponchartrain Basin is an 
estuary of national significance.
  (b) Addition to National Estuary Program.--Section 320(a)(2)(B) of 
the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1330(a)(2)(B)) is 
amended by inserting ``Lake Ponchartrain Basin, Louisiana and 
Mississippi;'' before ``and Peconic Bay, New York.''.

SEC. 3. LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN BASIN.

  (a) In General.--Title I of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act 
(33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 121. LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN BASIN.

  ``(a) Establishment of Restoration Program.--The Administrator shall 
establish within the Environmental Protection Agency the Lake 
Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program.
  ``(b) Purpose.--The purpose of the program shall be to restore the 
ecological health of the Basin by developing and funding restoration 
projects and related scientific and public education projects.
  ``(c) Duties.--In carrying out the program, the Administrator shall--
          ``(1) provide administrative and technical assistance to a 
        management conference convened for the Basin under section 320;
          ``(2) assist and support the activities of the management 
        conference, including the implementation of recommendations of 
        the management conference;
          ``(3) support environmental monitoring of the Basin and 
        research to provide necessary technical and scientific 
        information;
          ``(4) develop a comprehensive research plan to address the 
        technical needs of the program;
          ``(5) coordinate the grant, research, and planning programs 
        authorized under this section; and
          ``(6) collect and make available to the public publications, 
        and other forms of information the management conference 
        determines to be appropriate, relating to the environmental 
        quality of the Basin.
  ``(d) Grants.--The Administrator may make grants--
          ``(1) for restoration projects and studies recommended by a 
        management conference convened for the Basin under section 320;
          ``(2) for public education projects recommended by the 
        management conference; and
          ``(3) for the inflow and infiltration project sponsored by 
        the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board and Jefferson Parish, 
        Louisiana.
  ``(e) Definitions.--In this section, the following definitions apply:
          ``(1) Basin.--The term `Basin' means the Lake Pontchartrain 
        Basin, a 5,000 square mile watershed encompassing 16 parishes 
        in the State of Louisiana and 4 counties in the State of 
        Mississippi.
          ``(2) Program.--The term `program' means the Lake 
        Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program established under 
        subsection (a).
  ``(f) Authorization of Appropriations.--
          ``(1) In general.--There is authorized to be appropriated--
                  ``(A) $100,000,000 for the inflow and infiltration 
                project sponsored by the New Orleans Sewerage and Water 
                Board and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; and
                  ``(B) $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2001 
                through 2005 to carry out this section.
        Such sums shall remain available until expended.
          ``(2) Public education projects.--Not more than 15 percent of 
        the amount appropriated pursuant to paragraph (1)(B) in a 
        fiscal year may be expended on grants for public education 
        projects under subsection (d)(2).''.

                          Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of H.R. 2957, the ``Lake Pontchartrain Basin 
Restoration Act,'' is to provide financial and technical 
assistance for water quality restoration activities in the Lake 
Pontchartrain Basin.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The Lake Pontchartrain Basin watershed covers a 5,000 
square mile area and includes 16 Louisiana parishes and four 
Mississippi counties. Almost 1.5 million people live in the 
area of Lake Pontchartrain, the 630 square mile lake at the 
center of the basin, making it the most densely populated area 
in Louisiana. The Basin also includes Lakes Borgne and 
Maurepas, and these three lakes comprise one of the largest 
estuaries in the U.S. The Basin supports numerous species of 
fish, birds, mammals, and plants, and its fisheries contribute 
over $35 million to the local economy by providing much of the 
seafood harvested in the Gulf Coast.
    Since the 1940s, increasing population, urbanization, and 
land use changes have adversely affected the Basin leading to 
mounting environmental problems and declining health of the 
watershed. Increasing growth and development coupled with 
inadequate wastewater treatment, stormwater and agricultural 
runoff, saltwater intrusion, and land subsidence have 
contributed to shore erosion, wetland losses, and degraded 
water quality. Since the 1960s, Lake Pontchartrain's famous 
south shore has been closed for swimming and other recreational 
activities, and by the mid-1980s most rivers, tributaries, and 
lakes in the watershed failed to meet their ``designated uses'' 
under the Clean Water Act.
    H.R. 2957 creates a Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration 
Program within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to 
coordinate federal, state, and local efforts to reduce 
pollution and to restore the ecological health of the Basin.

      Discussion of Committee Bill and Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    Provides that the Act may be cited as the ``Lake 
Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Act of 2000.''

Section 2. National Estuary Program

    (a) Finding.--Finds that Lake Pontchartrain Basin is an 
estuary of national significance.
    (b) Addition to the National Estuary Program.--Amends 
section 320(a)(2)(B) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act 
(the Clean Water Act) to add Lake Pontchartrain Basin to the 
list of estuaries to receive priority consideration for 
inclusion in the National Estuary Program.

Section 3. Lake Pontchartrain Basin

    Adds new section 121 to title I of the Clean Water Act as 
follows:
    (a) Establishment of Restoration Program.--Establishes the 
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Program within the EPA.
    (b) Purpose.--Establishes as the purpose of the program the 
restoration of the ecological health of the Basin by developing 
and funding restoration projects and related scientific and 
public education projects.
    (c) Duties.--Requires EPA to: provide administrative and 
technical assistance to a management conference for the Lake 
Pontchartrain Basin convened under National Estuary Program 
(section 320 of the Clean Water Act); assist and support the 
activities of the management conference, including 
implementation of recommendations of the management conference; 
support environmental monitoring of the Basin and research to 
provide necessary technical and scientific information; develop 
a comprehensive research plan to address the technical needs of 
the program; coordinate the grant, research, and planning 
programs authorized under this section; and collect and make 
available to the public publications and other forms of 
information the management conference determines to be 
appropriate, relating to the environmental quality of the 
Basin.
    In carrying out the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration 
Program, the Committee intends EPA to convene a management 
conference for the Basin under section 320 that includes the 
Governor of the State of Louisiana, the Chairman of the 
Regional Planning Commission for Jefferson, Orleans, St. 
Bernard, and St. Tammany Parishes, the Chancellor of the 
University of New Orleans (who will coordinate scientific input 
from all universities in the basin with the aid of Southeastern 
Louisiana University), the Executive Director of the Lake 
Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, one northshore citizen 
nominated by the parish executives in the basin north of Lake 
Pontchartrain, and one southshore citizen nominated by the 
parish executives in the basin south of Lake Pontchartrain. The 
management conference should also include appropriate 
representation from watershed areas in Mississippi.
    The Committee intends that this management conference be 
subject to all appropriate open meeting and ethics laws and 
regulations. In addition, the Committee understands that this 
legislation focuses on restoration projects and does not create 
new additional regulatory authority.
    (d) Grants.--Authorizes EPA to make grants for restoration 
projects and studies and public education projects recommended 
by the management conference. Also authorizes grants for the 
inflow and infiltration project sponsored by the New Orleans 
Sewerage and Water Board and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
    Annually, Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish each should 
submit to the management conference inflow and infiltration 
plans for the coming fiscal year. Themanagement conference 
should ensure that each parish inflow and infiltration plan advances 
the overall goals of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program.
    (e) Definitions.--Defines the terms ``Basin'' and 
``program.''
    (f) Authorization of Appropriations.--Authorizes 
$100,000,000 for the inflow and infiltration project sponsored 
by the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board and Jefferson 
Parish, Louisiana. Also authorizes $5,000,000 for each of 
fiscal years 2001 through 2005 to carry out new section 121 of 
the Act; provided, however, no more than 15 percent of annual 
appropriations for such purposes may be expended on grants for 
public education projects.

                                Hearings

    On February 29, 2000, the Subcommittee on Water Resources 
and Environment held a hearing on H.R. 2957 and other 
legislation. Testimony on H.R. 2957 was given by Representative 
Vitter (LA), and Representative Jefferson (LA). In addition, 
testimony was given by representatives of local government and 
academic organizations.

                        Committee Consideration

    On April 5, 2000, the Subcommittee reported H.R. 2957 
favorably to the Full Committee. The Subcommittee adopted a 
substitute amendment that made technical changes; identified 
Lake Pontchartrain Basin as an estuary of national significance 
under EPA's National Estuary Program (NEP); established a Lake 
Pontchartrain Basin Program within EPA; authorized EPA 
assistance to an NEP Management Conference to develop and 
implement a comprehensive conservation management plan; 
authorized grants for public education projects; and, 
authorized funding for inflow and infiltration projects.
    On April 11, 2000, the Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure met in open session and ordered the bill 
reported to the House by unanimous voice vote.

                             Rollcall Votes

    Clause 3(b) of Rule XIII of the House of Representatives 
requires each committee report to include the total number of 
votes cast for and against on each roll call vote on a motion 
to report and on any amendment offered to the measure or 
matter, and the names of those members voting for and against. 
There were no recorded votes taken in connection with ordering 
H.R. 2957 reported.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(1) of Rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in this report.

                          Cost of Legislation

    Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives does not apply where a cost estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974 has been timely submitted prior to the filing of the 
report and is included in the report. Such a cost estimate is 
included in this report.

                    Compliance With House Rule XIII

    1. With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(2) of 
Rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, and 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee 
references the report of the Congressional Budget Office 
included below.
    2. With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(4) of 
Rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee has received no report of oversight findings and 
recommendations from the Committee on Government Reform and 
Oversight on the subject of H.R. 2957.
    3. With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(3) of 
Rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the 
Committee has received the following cost estimate for H.R. 
2957 from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office.
                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, April 18, 2000.
Hon. Bud Shuster,
Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2957, the Lake 
Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Act of 2000.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Susanne S. 
Mehlman (for federal costs) and Victoria Heid Hall (for the 
state and local impact).
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

               congressional budget office cost estimate

H.R. 2957--Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Act of 2000

    Summary: H.R. 2957 would authorize the appropriation of $5 
million for each of fiscal years 2001 through 2005 for the 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a Lake 
Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program. This new program would 
coordinate federal, state, and local efforts to restore the 
basin. The bill also would authorize a one-time appropriation 
of $100 million for an inflow and infiltration project 
sponsored by the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board and 
Jefferson Parish. CBO estimates that implementing this 
legislation would cost $108 million over the next five years, 
assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts.
    The bill would not affect direct spending or receipts; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. H.R. 2957 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would 
impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: For purposes of 
this estimate, CBO assumes that the amounts authorized will be 
appropriated for each fiscal year and that outlays will occur 
at rates similar to those for other EPA activities associated 
with water restoration projects. The estimated budgetary impact 
of H.R. 2957 is shown in the following table. The costs of this 
legislation fall within budget function 300 (natural resources 
and the environment).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      By fiscal year, in million of dollars
                                                               -------------------------------------------------
                                                                  2001      2002      2003      2004      2005
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Estimated authorization level.................................       105         5         5         5         5
Estimated outlays.............................................         5        16        33        34        20
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Pay-as-you-go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 2957 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments. Implementing the bill would benefit 
jurisdictions in Louisiana and Mississippi within the Lake 
Pontchartrain Basin if the Congress appropriates funds for 
restoration projects and related scientific and public 
education projects. Any costs to these jurisdictions would be 
incurred voluntarily.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Susanne S. Mehlman, 
impact on State, local, and tribal governments: Victoria Heid 
Hall, and impact on the private sector: Jean Wooster.
    Estimate approved by: Robert A. Sunshine, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause (3)(d)(1) of Rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, committee reports on a bill or 
joint resolution of a public character shall include a 
statement citing the specific powers granted to the Congress in 
the Constitution to enact the measure. The Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure finds that Congress has the 
authority to enact this measure pursuant to its powers granted 
under article I, section 8 of the Constitution.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act. (Public Law 104-4.)

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

                Applicability to the Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act. (Public Law 
104-1.)

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                  FEDERAL WATER POLLUTION CONTROL ACT


                TITLE I--RESEARCH AND RELATED PROGRAMS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 121. LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN BASIN.

    (a) Establishment of Restoration Program.--The 
Administrator shall establish within the Environmental 
Protection Agency the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration 
Program.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of the program shall be to 
restore the ecological health of the Basin by developing and 
funding restoration projects and related scientific and public 
education projects.
    (c) Duties.--In carrying out the program, the Administrator 
shall--
          (1) provide administrative and technical assistance 
        to a management conference convened for the Basin under 
        section 320;
          (2) assist and support the activities of the 
        management conference, including the implementation of 
        recommendations of the management conference;
          (3) support environmental monitoring of the Basin and 
        research to provide necessary technical and scientific 
        information;
          (4) develop a comprehensive research plan to address 
        the technical needs of the program;
          (5) coordinate the grant, research, and planning 
        programs authorized under this section; and
          (6) collect and make available to the public 
        publications, and other forms of information the 
        management conference determines to be appropriate, 
        relating to the environmental quality of the Basin.
    (d) Grants.--The Administrator may make grants--
          (1) for restoration projects and studies recommended 
        by a management conference convened for the Basin under 
        section 320;
          (2) for public education projects recommended by the 
        management conference; and
          (3) for the inflow and infiltration project sponsored 
        by the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board and 
        Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
    (e) Definitions.--In this section, the following 
definitions apply:
          (1) Basin.--The term ``Basin'' means the Lake 
        Pontchartrain Basin, a 5,000 square mile watershed 
        encompassing 16 parishes in the State of Louisiana and 
        4 counties in the State of Mississippi.
          (2) Program.--The term ``program'' means the Lake 
        Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program established 
        under subsection (a).
    (f) Authorization of Appropriations.--
          (1) In general.--There is authorized to be 
        appropriated--
                  (A) $100,000,000 for the inflow and 
                infiltration project sponsored by the New 
                Orleans Sewerage and Water Board and Jefferson 
                Parish, Louisiana; and
                  (B) $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2001 
                through 2005 to carry out this section.
        Such sums shall remain available until expended.
          (2) Public education projects.--Not more that 15 
        percent of the amount appropriated pursuant to 
        paragraph (1)(B) in a fiscal year may be expended on 
        grants for public education projects under subsection 
        (d)(2).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                 TITLE III--STANDARDS AND ENFORCEMENT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 320. NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM.

    (a) Management Conference.--
          (1) * * *
          (2) Convening of conference.--
                  (A) * * *
                  (B) Priority consideration.--The 
                Administrator shall give priority consideration 
                under this section to Long Island Sound, New 
                York and Connecticut; Narragansett Bay, Rhode 
                Island; Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts; 
                Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts (including 
                Cape Cod Bay and Boston Harbor); Puget Sound, 
                Washington; New York-New Jersey Harbor, New 
                York and New Jersey; Delaware Bay, Delaware and 
                New Jersey; Delaware Inland Bays, Delaware; 
                Albermarle Sound, North Carolina; Sarasota Bay, 
                Florida; San Francisco Bay, California; Santa 
                Monica Bay, California; Galveston Bay, Texas; 
                Barataria-Terrebonne Bay estuary complex, 
                Louisiana; Indian River Lagoon, Florida; Lake 
                Ponchartrain Basin, Louisiana and Mississippi; 
                and Peconic Bay, New York.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *