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                                                       Calendar No. 352

108th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    108-178
======================================================================
 
 EXEMPT CERTAIN COASTAL BARRIER PROPERTY FROM FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND 
                      FLOOD INSURANCE LIMITATIONS

                                _______
                                

                October 29, 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. 1643]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred a bill (S. 1643) to exempt certain coastal barrier 
property from financial assistance and flood insurance 
limitations under the Coastal Barriers Resources Act and the 
National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon with amendments and recommends 
that the bill, as amended, do pass.

                    General Statement and Background

    Coastal barriers are unique land areas that form the bridge 
between low-lying coastal areas and seawater. They perform 
functions supporting fragile ecosystems and serve as prized 
recreational areas for the public. Because of their inherent 
beauty and hydrological values, coastal barriers are under 
significant development pressures. However, coastal barriers 
are composed of unstable elements and are susceptible to storm 
damage and chronic erosion.
    Recognizing the environmental and economic risks associated 
with developing coastal barriers, Congress enacted the Coastal 
Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) in 1982. The law established a 
prohibition against Federal spending, primarily Federal flood 
insurance assistance and Federal infrastructure spending, in 
areas denoted in designated CBRA units. No prohibitions exist 
against private expenditures in CBRA units and individuals who 
chose to build and invest in these hazard-prone areas will 
incur the full cost of that risk. Approximately 590,000 acres 
were established as CBRA units along the Atlantic and Gulf 
coasts of the United States.
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) manages the CBRA 
program and provides information to the public, as well as 
city, State, and local officials on questions pertaining to the 
delineations of CBRA units. The Service also maintains the 
official maps outlining the individual units. Congress enacts 
periodic revisions to official unit maps that replace previous 
maps.
    In 1990, Congress passed the Coastal Barrier Improvement 
Act, which extended CBRA units into the Great Lakes, Puerto 
Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The 1990 statute also 
established designations of ``otherwise protected areas'' 
(OPAs) into the unit system. Properties located within an OPA 
unit are ineligible for Federal flood insurance.
    The 2000 Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act made 
a series of programmatic changes to the USFWS operation of the 
program. The statute also renamed the unit system as the ``John 
H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System.''
    In 1998, the USFWS field staff worked with a developer on 
Edisto Island to determine which lots in the Jeremy Cay 
Subdivision were inside and outside of the M-09 unit of the 
John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System. The 
determinations were made in good faith with the mapping tools 
available at the time.
    Using higher-precision mapping tools, the USFWS recently 
discovered that four lots (lots 15, 16, 25, and 29) within the 
Jeremy Cay Subdivision on Edisto Island, South Carolina, 
initially determined to be completely outside or predominantly 
outside of the M-09 unit, are actually inside the M-09 unit 
boundary. As a result, these lots no longer qualify for Federal 
funding, including Federal flood insurance.
    In this case, USFWS does not advocate a revised map that 
modifies the System boundary as the agency does not believe 
that this is an issue of original intent not accurately 
captured on the map. The USFWS supports the adoption of S. 
1643, a bill that would exempt the four misidentified 
properties from the Federal flood insurance restrictions that 
apply to properties located within the System.

                     Objectives of the Legislation

    This legislation will exempt four lots (lots 15, 16, 25, 
and 29) within the Jeremy Cay Subdivision on Edisto Island, 
South Carolina from the Federal flood insurance restrictions 
that apply to properties located within the John H. Chafee 
Coastal Barrier Resources System. This exemption is necessary 
due to the USFWS's previous incorrect determinations that the 
four lots were completely outside or predominantly outside of 
the M-09 unit (disqualifying them from Federal funding, 
including Federal flood insurance) when the lots are actually 
inside the M-09 unit boundary. S. 1643 applies to the relevant 
properties (lots 15, 16, 25, and 29) totaling 3.87 acres and no 
additional land. S. 1643 refers to the properties as they are 
identified and depicted on the map M-09/M-09P dated January 24, 
2003.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. Financial Assistance; Flood Insurance
    This section exempts the four lots (lots 15, 16, 25, and 
29) within the Jeremy Cay Subdivision on Edisto Island, South 
Carolina, from the Federal flood insurance restrictions that 
apply to properties located within the John H. Chafee Coastal 
Barrier Resources System. These properties are depicted on the 
M-09/M-09P unit map. S. 1643 makes technical corrections to the 
Coastal Barrier Resources Act that is cited in the legislation 
changing ``Section 6'' to ``Section 5'' and also changing 
``map'' to ``reference map.''

                          Legislative History

    S. 1643 was introduced on September 23, 2003, by Senator 
Hollings, and was referred to the Committee on Environment and 
Public Works. On October 15, 2003, the committee met to 
consider the bill.

                             Rollcall Votes

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works met to 
consider S. 1643 on October 15, 2003. The committee agreed to 
an amendment by Senator Crapo making technical corrections to 
the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, changing ``Section 6'' to 
``Section 5'' and also changing ``map'' to ``reference map.'' 
The committee favorably reported the bill by voice vote as 
amended.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee finds that S. 1643 
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. 1643 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, October 24, 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. 1643, a bill to 
exempt certain coastal barrier property from financial 
assistance and flood insurance limitations under the Coastal 
Barrier Resources Act and the National Flood Insurance Act of 
1968.
    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. 1643, A bill to exempt certain coastal barrier property from 
        financial assistance and flood insurance limitations under the 
        Coastal Barrier Resources Act and the National Flood Insurance 
        Act of 1968, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on 
        Environment and Public Works on October 15, 2003
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 1643 would have no 
significant impact on the Federal budget. The bill could affect 
direct spending, but we expect that net changes in direct 
spending would be negligible.
    S. 1643 would exempt four specified housing lots located 
within the Edisto Complex of the South Carolina Unit of the 
Coastal Barriers Resource System from existing Federal laws 
that prevent the owners from obtaining coverage under the 
national flood insurance program. CBO expects that enacting the 
bill would enable the owners to obtain such insurance beginning 
in fiscal year 2004 or 2005. Therefore, we estimate that 
enacting the bill would result in a negligible increase in 
insurance premium collections to the national flood insurance 
fund. Collections would be partially offset by new mandatory 
spending for underwriting and administrative expenses. The 
Federal Government could incur additional costs for losses 
caused by any future floods affecting those properties, but CBO 
has no basis for predicting such events.
    The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                        Changes in 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 not change 
existing law.