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                                                       Calendar No. 319
108th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    108-171
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 319

               OCEAN AND COASTAL OBSERVATION SYSTEMS ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 1400



                                     

       DATE deg.October 23, 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

                                  (ii)


                                                       Calendar No. 319
108th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    108-171

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



 
               OCEAN AND COASTAL OBSERVATION SYSTEMS ACT

                                _______
                                

                October 23, 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. 1400]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 1400) to develop a system that 
provides for ocean and coastal observations, to implement a 
research and development program to enhance security at United 
States ports, to implement a data and information system 
required by all components of an integrated ocean observing 
system and related research, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute and recommends that the 
bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of S. 1400, the Oceans and Coastal Observation 
Systems Act, is to establish a national, integrated ocean and 
coastal observing system that will collect, compile, and make 
available data on ocean conditions in the United States 
Exclusive Economic Zone, including the Great Lakes.

                          Background and Needs

  Advances in ocean and coastal science, management, and use 
are currently limited by a lack of real-time, comprehensive, 
and accessible data on key environmental variables such as 
temperature, currents, wind speed, wave height, salinity, and 
dissolved oxygen. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA) has emphasized that programs throughout 
NOAA do not have the basic environmental data needed to create 
effective models used in the management process. Additionally, 
NOAA and other agencies need long term oceanographic databases 
to effectively monitor cyclical changes in the environment, 
such as El Nino events and global climate change. To meet these 
data needs, the National Ocean Research Leadership Council 
(NORLC), consisting of the leadership of the NOAA, the Navy, 
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and 
the National Science Foundation (NSF), has called for the full 
implementation of an integrated and sustained ocean observing 
system by 2010.
  A number of statutory mandates explicitly or implicitly 
require routine ocean observations. For example, the Marine 
Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, title V, requires 
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the NOAA to 
administer a national coastal water quality monitoring program. 
Further, the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 created the 
National Estuarine Research Reserves System that includes a 
requirement to monitor the status and trends in coastal 
ecosystem health. Data on marine ecosystems also are required 
for effective enforcement of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
  Regional ocean observation systems such as the Gulf of Maine 
Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS), the Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem 
Monitoring and Research Program, and dozens of other current 
and planned systems around the United States coastline have 
attempted to fill these information needs on a regional basis. 
GoMOOS, for example, is a prototype system of integrated ocean 
observing devices (buoys, radar, satellites, etc.) that are 
linked to provide for real-time ocean data collection via the 
internet so that ocean prediction models and systems can be 
developed, similar to how weather predictions are made. Other 
regional systems are being developed to meet local or project-
based research needs, collecting different types of data in 
different ways and using various approaches for organizing, 
managing, and communicating these data.
  As a result of these regional efforts developed in an ad hoc, 
fragmented manner, the uniformity, consistency, and 
compatibility of data among systems are limited. NOAA and other 
users of ocean and coastal data are unable to link these 
systems, thereby losing a valuable opportunity to develop a 
comprehensive picture of coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes 
conditions around the nation, as required by their many 
mandates. Regional systems also are limited by uneven and 
unpredictable funding constraints, which further limit their 
ability to meet their own basic needs.
  To overcome these challenges, regional and national ocean 
observation partners have worked together through Ocean.US to 
promote a comprehensive, integrated, and nation-wide ocean and 
coastal observation system. Ocean.US is an interagency ocean 
observation office (with 12 Federal agencies represented) 
created by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program to 
coordinate the development of an operational, integrated, and 
sustained ocean observing system. The Ocean and Coastal 
Observation System to be established by S. 1400 would build 
upon the activities and implement the recommendations of 
Ocean.US.
  The Ocean and Coastal Observation Systems Act would further 
advance and better coordinate the ocean data collection systems 
around the country and formalize their long-term relationship 
with the Federal government. The goal of this bill is to 
establish an ocean observing program that would produce 
continuous and comprehensive ocean observations in the United 
States Exclusive Economic Zone, including the Great Lakes. With 
continued funding and administration support, managers of the 
ocean and coastal observation system would: (1) provide a 
continuous stream of near real-time data for oceanographic 
parameters of national priority; (2) develop standards and 
protocols for data transfer and archiving; and (3) improve 
linkages between regional observing systems to facilitate 
coverage around the continental United States.
  An integrated and institutionalized ocean and coastal 
observing system would provide NOAA with critical nation-wide 
environmental data (including currents; nutrient flows; coastal 
flooding or erosion; presence of pathogens and contaminants; 
larval transport patterns; and other physical, chemical, and 
biological information) that can be utilized to improve 
fisheries modeling and management, coastal planning, harmful 
algal blooms and hypoxia management and mitigation, prediction 
of climate change, and other marine ecosystem activities. All 
of these functions support and supplement other legislative 
mandates established in the Coastal Zone Management Act, the 
Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act, and 
other legislation related to fisheries and atmospheric science.
  In addition, this national system would provide the Coast 
Guard with real-time information on sea-state conditions that 
they could use to determine when and how to conduct their many 
missions, and it would be especially applicable in determining 
how to carry out search-and-rescue activities. Observing 
systems would also provide the Navy with detailed observations 
to support core Navy missions, including development of 
improved sensor technologies and predictive and tactical models 
for littoral environments.
  Applications of this program would extend to multiple sectors 
of the general public, as user-friendly products based on these 
ocean and coastal data are intended to be easily and freely 
accessible to anyone seeking the data. For example, fisheries 
scientists and managers could use the information to predict 
ocean conditions linked to productivity and incorporate this 
information into their management system. Fishermen, sailors, 
and others who traverse the ocean could better predict sea 
conditions to know when and where to go out safely, and 
shippers could transport goods more efficiently. Ocean 
scientists and regulators could better understand, predict, and 
rapidly respond to the distribution and impacts of marine 
pollution. Educators and students could learn more about how 
and why oceans function as they do.
  Once established, this ocean and coastal observation system 
would help improve weather forecasting, promote understanding 
of global change processes, enhance safety and efficiency of 
marine operations, facilitate research, improve management of 
marine and coastal ecosystems, strengthen homeland security, 
reduce public health risks, sustain living marine resources, 
evaluate effectiveness of ocean and coastal policies, and 
provide information to raise public awareness of oceans.

                          Legislative History

  S. 1400 was introduced on July 14, 2003, by Senators Snowe, 
Kerry, McCain, Hollings, Inouye, and Breaux. Additional co-
sponsors include Senators Collins, Lott, and Boxer. It was 
referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation. On July 17, 2003, the bill was considered by 
the Committee in an open executive session. The Committee, 
without objection, ordered S. 1400 be reported with an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute.

                            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:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                 Washington, DC, September 4, 2003.
Hon. John McCain,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1400, the Ocean and 
Coastal Observation Systems Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
            Sincerely,
                                       Douglas Holtz-Eakin,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

S. 1400--Ocean and Coastal Observation Systems Act

    Summary: S. 1400 would authorize appropriations for fiscal 
years 2004 through 2008 for an integrated system of ocean 
monitoring, data analysis, and research. The system would be 
developed and operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), the Navy, the National Science 
Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 
the U.S. Coast Guard, and other federal agencies.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 1400 would cost the federal 
government $65 million in 2004 and $885 million over the 2004-
2008 period. (About $300 million would be spent in 2009.) We 
estimate that enacting the bill would not affect direct 
spending or revenues.
    The bill 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: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 1400 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget functions 050 
(national defense), 250 (general science, space, and 
technology), 300 (natural resources and environment), and 400 
(transportation).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                                    --------------------------------------------
                                                                       2004     2005     2006     2007     2008
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Authorization level................................................      216      226      237      248      257
Estimated outlays..................................................       65      120      210      230      260
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
amounts authorized by the legislation will be appropriated for 
each fiscal year and the outlays will follow historical 
spending patterns for similar activities. S. 1400 would specify 
funding levels for five specified federal agencies that would 
be involved with this project, totaling $201 million for 2004, 
$211 million for 2005, $222 million for 2006, $233 million for 
2007, and $242 million for 2008. In addition, the bill would 
authorize the appropriation of $15 million annually over the 
same period for other federal agencies that operate or support 
coastal or ocean monitoring systems. Finally, S. 1400 would 
direct NOAA to use at least 51 percent of the funding it would 
receive under the bill for grants for regional coastal 
observing systems.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 1400 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on 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: Paige Piper/Bach.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 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:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  The bill would require the development of a national, 
integrated ocean and coastal observation system that will 
collect, compile, and make available data on ocean conditions. 
It would not authorize any new regulations and, therefore, 
would not subject any individuals or businesses to new 
regulations.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  Section 5 of the reported bill would authorize $216,000,000 
for fiscal year (FY) 2004, $226,150,000 for FY 2005, 
$232,950,000 for FY 2006, $248,000,000 for FY 2007, and 
$257,000,000 for FY 2008 for departments and agencies 
represented on the NORLC for the development and implementation 
of the national ocean and coastal observation system. These 
funding levels are not expected to have an inflationary impact 
on the nation's economy.

                                PRIVACY

  The reported bill would not have any adverse impact on the 
personal privacy of individuals.

                               PAPERWORK

  S. 1400 would not impose any new paperwork requirements on 
private citizens, businesses, or other entities that do not 
choose to participate in a regional ocean and coastal 
observation association; representatives of entities choosing 
to participate in these associations may be subject to some 
changes in the paperwork requirements of the program.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short Title

  Section 1 states the title of the bill would be the ``Ocean 
and Coastal Observation Systems Act.''

Section 2. Findings and Purposes

  Section 2 includes several findings related to ocean 
observations and the following purposes: to develop and 
maintain an integrated system that provides for sustained ocean 
and coastal observations; to implement a research and 
development program to enhance security at United States ports; 
and to implement a data and information system required by all 
components of an integrated ocean observing system.

Section 3. Integrated Ocean and Coastal Observing System

  Subsections (a) and (b) of section 3 would provide the 
president with the authority to establish and maintain a marine 
data monitoring and management system through the NORLC. The 
NORLC would serve as the lead entity providing Federal 
oversight. It would plan for the design, operation, and 
improvement of the system, establish an interagency planning 
office, coordinate and administer a research and development 
program, establish a joint operations center that will be 
maintained by NOAA, and provide representation on United States 
delegations to international meetings.
  Subsection (c) states that the interagency planning office 
would promote collaboration among agencies and regional coastal 
observing systems, prepare design and implementation plans for 
the integrated ocean observing system, provide information for 
agency budgets, identify common data measurement requirements, 
establish standards and protocols for quality control and data 
managemen, work with regional coastal entities and others to 
assess user needs, develop products, and incorporate new 
technologies, and coordinate program planning.
  Subsection (d) states that the joint operations center would 
manage technologies and provide support for planning 
activities, implement standards and protocols for data access 
and management, incorporate recent science and technological 
advancements into operational deployment, integrate existing 
programs into an operational observing system, coordinate the 
data communication and management system, provide products and 
services to users, certify systems that meet national standards 
and ensure a review and recertification process for those 
systems, and establish standards to ensure consistency among 
system components.
  Subsection (e) states that the integrated ocean observing 
system would include a global ocean system to document global 
trends, a national observation network to compile and link 
regional and global data, and regional coastal observing 
systems to collect information in a uniform manner. The 
integrated system would link an observing subsystem of 
chemical, physical, geological, and biological observations; an 
ocean data management and assimilation subsystem; and a data 
analysis and applications subsystem to translate data into 
products and services. Additionally, the integrated system 
would integrate the capabilities of the Coastal Services Center 
and the National Coastal Data Development Center of NOAA as 
well as and other appropriate centers.
  Subsection (e) also states that a research and development 
program would be conducted under the National Oceanographic 
Partnership Program. It would include coastal, relocatable, and 
cabled sea floor observatories, research products on the 
relationship between oceans and human activities, applied 
research to develop new observation technologies, large scale 
computing resources for ocean modeling, and programs to improve 
public education and awareness.
  Subsection (f) provides that the joint operations center 
would work with regional representatives to form regional 
observation associations. The association participants may 
include research institutions, institutions of higher learning, 
for-profit or non-profit corporations, and State, local, and 
regional agencies. The participants in the regional 
associations would need to prepare a business plan and gain 
regional acceptance to deliver an integrated system, 
incorporate existing observations into the system, respond to 
the regional user needs, maintain 24-hour-a-day operations, 
provide timely data and information services, create 
appropriate products, provide free and open data access, and 
adhere to national standards and protocols.
  Subsection (g) states that the joint operations center also 
would initiate pilot projects, though the National Ocean 
Partnership Program, to develop protocols for coordinated 
system implementation, design and implement regional coastal 
ocean observing systems, establish mechanisms for data exchange 
between regions and agencies, specify products and services in 
collaboration with user groups, and develop and test new 
technologies to improve the three subsections. These pilot 
projects would include projects to capitalize the data 
infrastructure and projects to fund the collection of the 
common set of observations approved by the planning office.

Section 4. Interagency Financing

  Section 4 would authorize the departments and agencies 
represented on the NORLC to participate in interagency 
financing, which would allow them to share, transfer, receive, 
and spend funds appropriated to other members of the NORLC to 
carry out projects or activities under this Act or under the 
National Oceanographic Partnership Program.

Section 5. Authorization of Appropriations

  Section 5 would authorize appropriations for departments and 
agencies represented on the NORLC for the development and 
implementation of the national ocean and coastal observing 
system as follows:
          The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
        would be authorized $83,000,000 for FY 2004, 
        $87,250,000 for FY 2005, $91,500,000 for FY 2006, 
        $96,000,000 for FY 2007, and $100,000,000 for FY 2008. 
        Of these new funds authorized for NOAA, at least 51 
        percent would be for grants to develop and implement 
        regional coastal observing systems, and $3,000,000 in 
        FY 2004 may be allocated to demonstrate the 
        capabilities of shore-based high-frequency surface wave 
        radar.
          The National Science Foundation would be authorized 
        $25,000,000 for FY 2004, $26,250,000 for FY 2005, 
        $27,500,000 for FY 2006, $29,000,000 for FY 2007, and 
        $30,500,000 for FY 2008.
          The National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
        would be authorized $30,000,000 for FY 2004, 
        $31,500,000 for FY 2005, $33,000,000 for FY 2006, and 
        $34,750,000 for each of FYs 2007 and 2008.
          The United States Coast Guard would be authorized 
        $8,000,000 for FY 2004, $8,400,000 for FY 2005, 
        $9,700,000 for FY 2006, $9,500,000 for FY 2007, and 
        $9,750,000 for FY 2008.
          The Office of Naval Research would be authorized 
        $25,000,000 for FY 2004, $26,250,000 for FY 2005, 
        $27,500,000 for FY 2006, $29,000,000 for FY 2007, and 
        $30,500,000 for FY 2008.
          The Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy would be 
        authorized $30,000,000 for FY 2004, $31,500,000 for FY 
        2005, $33,000,000 for FY 2006, $34,750,000 for FY 2007, 
        and $36,500,000 for FY 2008.
          Other Federal agencies engaged in ocean and coastal-
        related activities would be authorized a total of 
        $15,000,000, to be distributed among them as 
        appropriate, in each of FYs 2004 through 2008.

                        Changes in Existing Law

  In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the bill as 
reported would make no change to existing law.