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108th Congress 
 1st Session                     SENATE                          Report
                                                                108-158
_______________________________________________________________________
                                                       Calendar No. 297
 
               COASTAL AND ESTAURINE LAND PROTECTION ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 861



                                     

                October 1, 2003.--Ordered to be printed
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                      one hundred eighth congress
                             first session

                     JOHN McCAIN, Arizona, Chairman
TED STEVENS, Alaska                  ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, South Carolina
CONRAD BURNS, Montana                DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii
TRENT LOTT, Mississippi              JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West 
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas              Virginia
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine              JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas                JOHN B. BREAUX, Louisiana
GORDON SMITH, Oregon                 BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota
PETER G. FITZGERALD, Illinois        RON WYDEN, Oregon
JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada                  BARBARA BOXER, California
GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia               BILL NELSON, Florida
JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire        MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
                                     FRANK LAUTENBERG, New Jersey
           Jeanne Bumpus, Staff Director and General Counsel
                   Ann Begeman, Deputy Staff Director
                  Robert W. Chamberlin, Chief Counsel
      Kevin D. Kayes, Democratic Staff Director and Chief Counsel
                Gregg Elias, Democratic General Counsel
                                                       Calendar No. 297
108th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    108-158

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


               COASTAL AND ESTUARINE LAND PROTECTION ACT

                                _______
                                

                October 1, 2003.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

       Mr. McCain, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 861]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 861) ``to authorize the 
acquisition of interests in undeveloped coastal areas in order 
better to ensure their protection from development'', having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of S. 861, the Coastal and Estuarine Land 
Protection Act, is to authorize a competitive matching grant 
program in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
(NOAA) to facilitate coastal State acquisition of interests in 
land from willing sellers of important coastal areas to 
permanently protect them from conversion or development.

                          Background and Needs

  Coastal regions are critical to the economic and 
environmental health of the United States. The 425 coastal 
counties generate $1.3 trillion of the Gross National Product 
(GNP), and coastal industries account for more than 28 million 
jobs, over one-third of our national employment. At the same 
time, coastal estuaries are among the most biologically 
productive regions in the nation. Estuaries, wetlands, and the 
watersheds that flow into them support critical life cycle 
stages of many species of fish and wildlife, and these areas 
help improve surface water quality by filtering out 
contaminants. Additionally, coastal areas provide recreational 
opportunities for more than 180 million Americans each year.
  Over sixty percent of all Americans live within 50 miles of 
the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the 
five Great Lakes. The population density of these areas is four 
times the national average, and the coastal population is 
expected to grow by 15 percent during the next two decades. 
Increasing numbers of people--estimated at more than 3,000 
people every day--move to coastal areas, and with this rise in 
population, there has been a tremendous increase in the 
competing uses of coastal resources. Many communities do not 
have the ability to plan for or respond to new pressures on the 
coastal zone, such as increases in solid waste production, non-
point source pollution, losses of green space and wildlife 
habitat, water quality degradation, and other stresses on 
coastal and marine environments. Recent studies have concluded 
that as the amount of impervious surface increases beyond 10 
percent, abundance and diversity of aquatic species decline. 
These pressures of urbanization and pollution along our 
nation's coasts threaten to cause irreparable damage to fragile 
coastal ecosystems.
  Congress enacted the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) in 
1972 in an effort to encourage states to establish coordinated 
coastal zone management programs and help balance coastal 
development with protection. Since the CZMA became law, 34 of 
the 35 coastal states have established approved programs to 
help preserve and utilize their coastal resources, and the 
program has proven to be a successful partnership between the 
Federal government and states. The CZMA provides grants to 
States that develop and implement Federally approved coastal 
zone management plans. It also allows States with approved 
plans the right to review Federal actions to ensure they are 
consistent with State plans, and it authorizes the National 
Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) system. This reserve system, 
a network of 25 protected areas representing different 
biogeographic regions of the United States, protects more than 
one million acres of estuarine habitat, conducts essential 
research, and provides a variety of educational opportunities.
  While there have been great strides in managing much of the 
nation's coastal zones under the CZMA, many coastal ecosystems 
remain vulnerable to the pressures of industrialization and 
development. Further conservation efforts are limited because 
there is currently no Federal program explicitly setting aside 
funding for conservation of coastal or estuarine lands, or for 
coordinating coastal conservation partnerships among the 
Federal government, State agencies, local governments, private 
landowners, and non-profit organizations. Such partnership 
programs that protect coastal lands through purchase from a 
willing seller of interests in property can be a cost-effective 
means of providing areas with permanent protection from 
development, and they are strongly supported by coastal States, 
which work with private land trusts and others to protect 
coastal property around the nation.
  A number of successful coastal land acquisition partnerships 
have demonstrated the benefits of such programs. For example, 
the ACE Basin Project in South Carolina has developed a 
coordinated protection program covering more than 350,000 
acres. The Great Bay Resource Protection Partnership in New 
Hampshire has permanently protected 3,963 coastal acres, either 
through purchase or easement. Through the Mobile-Tensaw 
Watershed Project in Alabama, Federal and State conservation 
agencies have protected more than 104,000 acres within an area 
spanning 280,000 acres that is extremely threatened by 
development. California's 5-county Natural Communities 
Conservation Plan partnership has resulted in leveraging tens 
of millions of local, State, and private dollars throughout the 
region.
  Recent reports have highlighted the urgent need for further 
developing a national land acquisition partnership program. The 
2001 National Coastal Condition Report, issued jointly by the 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NOAA, the Department of 
Interior, and the Department of Agriculture, found the poorest 
coastal conditions were associated with coastal wetland loss 
and eutrophic condition; both are conditions linked to coastal 
development pressures. The Southern Forest Resource Assessment, 
issued in 2001 by the U.S. Forest Service, the EPA, and the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, projected that the southeast 
alone could lose about 12 million acres to urbanization between 
1992 and 2020 and an additional 19 million acres between 2020 
and 2040, much of which is slated to occur along the coast. 
While programs such as the Forest Legacy Program make funds 
available for forest protection, there is no comparable fund 
for coastal land needs.
  S. 861 would authorize a coastal land acquisition program to 
address these needs. Specifically, this legislation would 
authorize the Secretary of Commerce to establish the Coastal 
and Estuarine Land Program within NOAA to facilitate protection 
of important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant 
conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic 
values and are threatened by development or conversion. The 
legislation would authorize the Secretary of Commerce to award 
competitive grants to coastal States with approved coastal 
management programs or to NERRs for the purpose of acquiring 
sensitive coastal property or interests in such property from 
willing sellers. Areas eligible for acquisition grants would be 
allowed to extend landward of the coastal plain into watershed 
drainage basins and flood plains where the integrity of the 
ecosystem is inextricably linked to coastal ocean ecosystem 
health and function.
  Proposals eligible for funding would be those that would 
further the goals of an approved coastal zone management plan, 
a NERR plan, or a regional or State watershed protection plan 
involving States with approved coastal zone management plans. 
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 
(the Committee) expects that proposals that further the goals 
of plans developed under the National Estuary Program (section 
320 of the Federal Water Pollution and Control Act) would fall 
within these criteria. The legislation would direct coastal 
States to identify conservation needs and threats to sensitive 
habitats and to develop proposals that respond to such needs. 
The Committee encourages States to leverage acquisition funds 
by coordinating with other federally funded estuary and habitat 
programs.
  Additionally, the legislation would authorize the Secretary 
of Commerce to conduct a regional watershed demonstration 
project, which leverages an equal share of land acquisition 
funding from other Federal contributions, involves a broad 
spectrum of partners, creates conservation corridors and 
preserves unique habitats, protects areas under imminent 
threat, and helps protect the water quality of areas designated 
as an NERR.
  The bill would authorize $60 million annually for the Coastal 
and Estuarine Land Program and would require that at least 15 
percent of the funds be used for the benefit of NERRs. It 
further authorizes $5 million for the regional watershed 
demonstration project, to remain available until expended.

                          Legislative History

  S. 861 was introduced by Senators Hollings and Gregg, along 
with 23 co-sponsors, on April 10, 2003, and referred to the 
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. On 
June 19, 2003, the bill was considered by the Committee in an 
open executive session. The Committee, without objection, 
ordered S. 861 be reported with an amendment.

                            Estimated Costs

  In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 861--Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Act

    Summary: S. 861 would establish a new grant program to be 
carried out by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA). Assuming appropriation of the amount 
authorized by the bill, CBO estimates that the federal 
government would spend about $5 million in fiscal year 2004 and 
about $190 million over the 2004-2008 period to implement the 
legislation. The remaining $115 million authorized would be 
spent after 2008. Enacting S. 861 would not affect revenues or 
direct spending.
    This legislation 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: S. 861 would 
authorize the appropriation of $60 million for each of fiscal 
years 2004 through 2008 for competitive grants to eligible 
states. The grants would be used to finance up to 75 percent of 
the costs of acquiring land in coastal zone management areas or 
national estuarine research reserves. (These are undeveloped 
but vulnerable coastal areas that are protected by NOAA and the 
states under the Coastal Zone Management Act.) In addition, the 
bill would authorize the appropriation of $5 million in 2004 
for a demonstration project to protect coastal habitat.
    The estimated budgetary impact of S. 861 is shown in the 
following table. The costs of this legislation fall within 
budget function 300 (natural resources and environment). For 
this estimate, CBO assumes that the full amounts authorized by 
the bill will be appropriated for each year and that outlays 
will follow historical spending patterns for other NOAA grant 
programs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       By fiscal year in millions of dollars--
                                                                    --------------------------------------------
                                                                       2004     2005     2006     2007     2008
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Authorization Level................................................       65       60       60       60       60
Estimated Outlays..................................................        5       25       40       60       60
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 861 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. The bill would authorize grants to states to 
acquire property to protect certain coastal or estuarine areas. 
Grantees would be able to allocate a portion of the funds 
received under the program to qualified local entities to 
acquire land in cooperation with other organizations. Any costs 
to state or local governments would be the result of complying 
with grant conditions.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Deborah Reis; Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Marjorie Miller; 
Impact on the private sector: Lauren Marks.
    Estimate approved by: Robert A. Sunshine, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

  In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:
  Because S. 861 would create a new program, the legislation 
would have additional regulatory impacts on participating 
entities. The Coastal and Estuarine Land Program would allow 
the Federal government, through the National Ocean Service of 
NOAA, to issue grants to participating States or NERR units for 
the purpose of acquiring property, or interests in property. 
Voluntary participants to the program would be subject to 
additional regulatory reporting requirements.

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  The Coastal and Estuarine Land Program would allow the 
Federal government to issue grants to participating States or 
NERR units for the purpose of acquiring property, or interests 
in property, of important coastal and estuarine areas that have 
significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, 
or aesthetic values and are threatened by development or 
conversion. The program requires a willing seller and purchaser 
of such interests; and therefore, the program would impact only 
voluntary participants and would not subject any private 
citizens or businesses not participating in the program to 
additional regulation.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  The bill would authorize funding for the Coastal and 
Estuarine Land Program at a level of $60 million for fiscal 
year (FY) 2004 through FY 2008, and $5 million for the regional 
watershed demonstration project, to remain available until 
expended. These authorization levels are intended to improve 
the performance of the Federal and State bodies implementing 
the CZMA and should have a beneficial impact on the long-term 
economy of the United States.

                                PRIVACY

  This legislation would not have any adverse impact on the 
personal privacy of the individuals that will be impacted by 
this legislation.

                               PAPERWORK

  S. 861 would not impose any new paperwork requirements on 
private citizens or businesses that do not choose to 
participate in the Coastal and Estuarine Land Program; entities 
choosing to participate in the program may be subject to some 
changes in the paperwork requirements of the program.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

  This section states the short title is cited as the ``Coastal 
and Estuarine Land Protection Act.''

Section 2. Findings

  This section includes a number of Congressional findings, as 
follows--
          (1) coastal and estuarine areas provide important 
        habitats and ecological functions;
          (2) the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) 
        establishes a Federal-state partnership for protecting 
        natural reserves and managing growth;
          (3) the National Estuarine Research Reserve system 
        relies on the protection of pristine designated areas;
          (4) coastal managers need a range of tools to protect 
        and conserve sensitive areas;
          (5) acquiring coastal property from a willing seller 
        is a cost-effective means of protecting these areas;
          (6) permanent protection of coastal lands is 
        necessary to maintain and enhance coastal and estuarine 
        areas;
          (7) Federal, State, and non-governmental pilot land 
        acquisition projects have contributed to the long-term 
        health and viability of coastal and estuarine systems; 
        and
          (8) enhanced estuarine and coastal protection can be 
        attained through watershed-based acquisition strategies 
        coordinated through Federal, State, regional, and local 
        efforts.

Section 3. Establishment of Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection 
        Program

  Subsection (a) would require the Secretary of Commerce to 
establish a Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Program for 
protecting important coastal and estuarine areas that are 
threatened by development. The program would be administered by 
the National Ocean Service through the Office of Ocean and 
Coastal Resource Management.
  Subsection (b) would direct the Secretary to make grants to 
coastal States with approved coastal zone management plans or 
National Estuarine Research Reserve units for acquiring 
property or interests in property that will further the goals 
of those management plans or programs.
  Subsection (c) would require the Secretary to allocate funds 
through a competitive grant process under the following 
guidelines--
          (1) the Secretary shall consult with the State's 
        coastal zone or estuarine management program;
          (2) each participating State shall identify 
        conservation needs and threats;
          (3) each State shall evaluate any program impacts on 
        working waterfront needs;
          (4) the applicant shall identify the values to be 
        protected and identify how planned management 
        activities will affect the identified values;
          (5) awards shall be based on demonstrated need for 
        protection and ability to successfully leverage other 
        funds;
          (6) applications must be consistent with the approved 
        coastal zone plan, program, and policies;
          (7) priority shall be given to lands that can be 
        effectively managed and that have significant 
        ecological value;
          (8) in developing guidelines, the Secretary shall 
        consult with other groups that are expert in land 
        acquisition and conservation procedures;
          (9) eligible States or NERR units may allocate grants 
        to local governments or agencies and may acquire lands 
        in cooperation with non-governmental entities and 
        Federal agencies; and
          (10) the Secretary shall develop performance measures 
        for periodic evaluation of the program's effectiveness, 
        which shall be reported to Congress.
  Subsection (d) would require that Federal funds must be 
matched by non-Federal funds. The Federal share would be 
limited to 75 percent, unless specifically waived for 
underserved communities, communities unable to draw on other 
sources of funding, or for other reasons the Secretary deems 
appropriate. Where financial assistance represents only a 
portion of the total project cost, other Federal funding may be 
applied to the project, subject to match requirements under 
applicable law. The non-Federal cost share may be determined by 
taking into account the land value (if determined 3 years 
before or after submission), or costs or in-kind contributions 
associated with land management activities during the period of 
the grant award.
  Subsection (e) would establish a regional watershed 
demonstration project. Up to $5,000,000 would be provided for a 
regional watershed protection demonstration project that--
          (1) leverages equivalent or greater land acquisition 
        funding from other Federal land conservation or 
        acquisition programs;
          (2) involves partnerships from Federal, State, and 
        non-governmental entities;
          (3) creates conservation corridors and preserves 
        unique coastal habitat;
          (4) protects largely unfragmented habitat under 
        imminent threat of development or conversion;
          (5) provides water quality protection for research 
        areas under the National Estuarine Research Reserve 
        program; and
          (6) provides a model for future regional watershed 
        protection projects.
  Subsection (f) would provide that at least 15 percent of 
funds shall be available for acquisitions benefiting National 
Estuarine Research Reserve acquisitions.
  Subsection (g) would provide that no more than 5 percent of 
the funds shall be used for planning or administration. The 
Secretary shall submit a report to Congress accounting for 
expenditures for FY 2004 and FY 2005, and triennially 
thereafter.
  Subsection (h) would provide that if any property is acquired 
with funds made available through a grant, the State (as the 
grant recipient) shall assure that (a) it or its designated 
public agency will hold the title to the property in 
perpetuity; (b) the property will be managed in a manner 
consistent with the purposes of this program; and (c) if the 
property or interest in land is sold, exchanged, or divested, 
funds will be returned for re-distribution in the grant 
process. The term ``conservation easement'' includes an 
easement, recorded deed, or interest deed accompanied by all 
property rights, except those that are expressly reserved by a 
grantor and agreed to at the time of purchase.
  Subsection (i) defines the term ``coastal State'' as being 
consistent with the definition in section 304 of the Coastal 
Zone Management Act, and any other term in this Act that is 
defined in that section of the CZMA would take on the CZMA 
definition.
  Subsection (j) would authorize $60 million annually for FY 
2004 through FY 2008 (except for the watershed demonstration 
project, for which $5 million is authorized for FY 2004, to 
remain available until expended).

Section 4. Assistance from other agencies

  This section would amend the CZMA to allow the Secretary to 
enter into technical assistance program contracts with any 
Federal agency (including for interagency Coastal America 
activities), in addition to any other qualified person.

                        Changes in Existing Law

  
  In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, 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 material is printed 
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown 
in roman):
  

                  COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT OF 1972

SEC. 310. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.

                           [16 U.S.C. 1456C]

  (a) The Secretary shall conduct a program of technical 
assistance and management-oriented research necessary to 
support the development and implementation of State coastal 
management program amendments under section 309, and 
appropriate to the furtherance of international cooperative 
efforts and technical assistance in coastal zone management. 
Each department, agency, and instrumentality of the executive 
branch of the Federal Government may assist the Secretary, on a 
reimbursable basis or otherwise, in carrying out the purposes 
of this section, including the furnishing of information to the 
extent permitted by law, the transfer of personnel with their 
consent and without prejudice to their position and rating, and 
the performance of any research, study, and technical 
assistance which does not interfere with the performance of the 
primary duties of such department, agency, or instrumentality. 
The Secretary may enter into contracts or other arrangements 
with [any qualified person for the purposes of carrying out 
this subsection.] any other Federal agencies (including 
interagency financing of Coastal America activities) and any 
other qualified person for the purposes of carrying out this 
section.
  (b)(1) The Secretary shall provide for the coordination of 
technical assistance, studies, and research activities under 
this section with any other such activities that are conducted 
by or subject to the authority of the Secretary.
  (2) The Secretary shall make the results of research and 
studies conducted pursuant to this section available to coastal 
states in the form of technical assistance publications, 
workshops, or other means appropriate.
  (3) The Secretary shall consult with coastal states on a 
regular basis regarding the development and implementation of 
the program established by this section.