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                                                       Calendar No. 313
108th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    108-167
======================================================================

 
                 MARINE TURTLE CONSERVATION ACT OF 2003

                                _______
                                       

                October 17, 2003.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                       

    Mr. Inhofe, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [to accompany S. 1210]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred a bill (S. 1210) to assist in the conservation of 
marine turtles and the nesting habitats of marine turtles in 
foreign countries, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon and recommends that the bill do pass.

                    General Statement and Background

    Marine turtles, once abundant throughout the world, are now 
in very serious trouble. Some populations are expected to 
become extinct within the next few years. Because marine 
turtles are long-lived, late maturing, and highly migratory, 
they are particularly vulnerable to human exploitation and 
habitat loss. Of the species found in U.S. waters the 
Leatherback, Green, Hawksbill, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead, and 
Kemp's Ridley turtles-all are listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Endangered Species Act. All seven of the 
world's species are included in Appendix I of the Convention on 
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and 
Flora (CITES). The life cycles of marine turtles are very 
complex. They depend on a diversity of environments, including 
terrestrial sites on sandy beaches where nests are made and 
eggs are deposited and left to incubate for about 2 months. The 
newly hatched turtles instinctively run to the sea. Some 
turtles may spend decades on the high seas before returning to 
coastal waters. Dispersing across ocean basins is routine for 
many turtles as part of the normal maturation process. Most 
species appear to pass through a series of developmental 
habitats living in the territorial waters of several sovereign 
states. On reaching maturity, which may take as much as half a 
century in some populations, the adults migrate between feeding 
grounds and breeding grounds. Because marine turtles migrate 
far beyond U.S. borders, activities outside the United States 
compromise national recovery efforts. While international 
projects, largely focused on conservation of nesting beaches, 
have in some instances helped foster population recovery, lack 
of adequate funding remains a critical stumbling block.

                     Objectives of the Legislation

    This legislation will assist in the recovery and protection 
of marine turtles by supporting and providing financial 
resources for projects to conserve nesting habitats of marine 
turtles in foreign countries and marine turtles while they are 
found in such habitats and to address other threats to the 
survival of marine turtles.
    S. 1210 directs the Secretary of the Interior to establish 
a program to review, approve, and fund qualified marine turtle 
conservation projects. It authorizes $5 million in annual 
appropriations through 2009 to be deposited in a Marine Turtle 
Conservation Fund, established for this purpose.

                      Section-By-Section Analysis

Section 1. Short Title
    This Section cites the Act as the ``Marine Turtle 
Conservation Act of 2003''.
Sec. 2. Findings and Purposes
    This Section elaborates on the congressional findings that: 
marine turtle populations have declined to the point that the 
long term survival of the populations is in jeopardy; six of 
the seven recognized species of marine turtles are listed as 
threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973 and all seven species have been included in 
Appendix I of CITES; marine turtles are particularly vulnerable 
to the impacts of human exploitation and habitat loss; illegal 
international trade seriously threatens some marine turtle 
populations; resources available have not been sufficient to 
cope with the continued loss of nesting habitats due to human 
activities; marine turtles are flagship species for the 
ecosystems in which they are found and are important components 
of the ecosystems they inhabit; changes in marine turtle 
populations are most reliably indicated by changes in the 
numbers of nests and nesting females; and the reduction, 
removal, or other effective addressing of the threats to the 
long-term viability of populations of marine turtles will 
require the joint commitment and effort of countries that have 
within their boundaries marine turtle nesting habitats and 
others with demonstrated expertise in the conservation of 
marine turtles.
    In addition, this Section states that the purpose of this 
Act is to assist in the recovery and protection of marine 
turtles by supporting and providing financial resources for 
projects to conserve nesting habitats of marine turtles in 
foreign countries and marine turtles while they are found in 
such habitats and to address other threats to the survival of 
marine turtles.
Sec. 3. Definitions
    This Section defines ``CITES'', ``conservation'', ``Fund'', 
```marine turtle'', ``Multinational Species Conservation 
Fund'', and ``Secretary'' for purposes of this Act.
Sec. 4. Marine Turtle Conservation Assistance
    This Section directs the Secretary of the Interior to 
provide financial assistance for projects for the conservation 
of marine turtles. Projects may be submitted by wildlife 
management authorities of foreign countries or other persons or 
groups with expertise in the conservation of marine turtles. 
The Secretary shall review each project proposal in a timely 
manner to determine if the proposal meets the criteria 
specified. The Secretary, after consulting with other 
appropriate Federal officials, shall consult on the proposal 
with the government of each country in which the project is to 
be conducted and approve or disapprove the proposal.
    The Secretary of the Interior may approve a project 
proposal under this Section if the project will help recover 
and sustain viable populations of marine turtles in the wild by 
assisting efforts in foreign countries to implement marine 
turtle conservation programs. The Secretary shall give 
preference to conservation projects that are designed to ensure 
effective, long-term conservation of marine turtles and their 
nesting habitats and give preference to projects for which 
matching funds are available. Each person that receives 
assistance under this section for a project shall submit to the 
Secretary periodic reports to determine the progress and 
success of the project for the purposes of ensuring positive 
results, assessing problems, and fostering improvements. These 
reports shall be made available to the public.
Sec. 5. Marine Turtle Conservation Fund
    This Section establishes the Marine Turtle Conservation 
Fund in the Multinational Species Conservation Fund. The 
Secretary of the Interior may expend not more than 3 percent or 
up to $80,000 for administrative expenses. The Secretary may 
accept and use donations to provide assistance under the Act.
Sec. 6. Advisory Group
    This Section authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to 
convene an advisory group of individuals representing public 
and private organizations actively involved in the conservation 
of marine turtles. The Secretary shall provide public notice of 
each meeting of the advisory group. The meetings shall be open 
to the public and the minutes of the meetings shall be made 
available to the public. The Federal Advisory Committee Act 
shall not apply to the advisory group authorized under this 
section.
    The creation of an advisory group will help increase public 
involvement and Federal and private partnerships. Also, it will 
provide consistency with the Great Ape Conservation Act and the 
Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, both of which were 
enacted during the 106th Congress and are administered under 
the Multinational Species Conservation Fund, along with the 
Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act and the Asian Elephant 
Conservation Act.
Sec. 7. Authorization of Appropriations
    This Section authorizes $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 
2005 through 2009.

                          Legislative History

    S. 1210, the ''Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2003'' was 
introduced on June 9, 2003, by Senator Jim Jeffords, I-VT.

                             Rollcall Votes

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works met to 
consider S. 1210 on July 30, 2003. The committee reported the 
bill out of committee by voice vote.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee finds that S. 1210 
does not create any additional regulatory burdens, nor will it 
cause any adverse impact on the personal privacy of 
individuals.

                          Mandates Assessment

    In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-4), the committee finds that S. 1210 would 
impose no Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on State, 
local, or tribal governments.

                          Cost of Legislation

    Section 403 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act requires that a statement of the cost of the 
reported bill, prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, be 
included in the report. That statement follows:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 11, 2003.

Hon. James M. Inhofe, Chairman,
Committee on Environment and Public Works,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1210, the Marine 
Turtle Conservation Act of 2003.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis 
who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                        Douglas Holtz-Eakin
                              ----------                              

S. 1210, Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2003, as ordered reported by 
        the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on July 
        30, 2003
Summary
    S. 1210 would direct the Department of the Interior to 
establish a program to protect and conserve marine turtles. The 
bill would authorize the appropriation of $5 million a year 
over the 2005-2009 period for the department to provide 
financial assistance to eligible government agencies, 
international or foreign organizations, or private entities 
engaged in such activities. CBO estimates that such assistance 
would cost $15 million over the 2004-2008 period and $10 
million after 2008, assuming appropriation of the authorized 
amounts.
    S. 1210 also would authorize the department to accept 
donations and invest unneeded funds. Amounts earned could be 
used without further appropriation for the program. Enacting 
this legislation could therefore increase both revenues (from 
donations) and direct spending (of interest income and 
donations), but CBO estimates that any net change would be 
insignificant.
    S. 1210 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would have no significant impact on the budgets of State, 
local, or tribal governments.
Estimated Cost to the Federal Government
    The estimated budgetary impact of S. 1210 is shown in the 
following table. For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
legislation will be enacted this fall and that authorized 
amounts will be provided as specified in the bill. Estimates of 
outlays are based on historical spending patterns for similar 
programs. The costs of this legislation fall within budget 
function 300 (natural resources and environment).


                 By Fiscal Year, in Millions of Dollars
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   2004    2005    2006    2007    2008
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO
          APPROPRIATION
Authorization Level.............       0       5       5       5       5
Estimated Outlays...............       0       1       4       5       5
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Intergovernmental and Private-Sector Impact
    S. 1210 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in UMRA and would have no significant 
impact on the budgets of State, local, or tribal governments.

Estimate Prepared By: Federal Costs: Deborah Reis; Impact on 
State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Marjorie Miller; Impact 
on the Private Sector: Jean Talarico.

Estimate Approved By: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                        Changes to Existing Law

    Section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate 
requires the committee to publish changes in existing law made 
by the bill as reported. Passage of this bill will make no 
changes to existing law.