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108th Congress 
 2d Session                      SENATE                          Report
                                                                108-401
_______________________________________________________________________
                                                       Calendar No. 792
 
                MARINE DEBRIS RESEARCH AND REDUCTION ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 2488





                                     

                October 11, 2004.--Ordered to be printed
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                      one hundred eighth congress
                             second 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
                   Rob Freeman, Deputy Staff Director
                  Robert W. Chamberlin, Chief Counsel
      Kevin D. Kayes, Democratic Staff Director and Chief Counsel

                                                       Calendar No. 792
108th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     108-401

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




                MARINE DEBRIS RESEARCH AND REDUCTION ACT

                                _______
                                

                October 11, 2004.--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. 2488]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 2488) to establish a program 
within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and 
the United States Coast Guard to help identify, assess, reduce, 
and prevent marine debris and its adverse impacts on the marine 
environment and navigation safety, in coordination with non-
Federal entities, and for other purposes'', having considered 
the same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of S. 2488, the Marine Debris Research and 
Reduction Act, is to establish programs within NOAA and the 
Coast Guard to ``identify, assess, reduce and prevent marine 
debris and its adverse impacts on the marine environment and 
navigation safety'' and establish an Interagency Committee on 
Marine Debris responsible for coordinating Federal efforts on 
this issue. The bill would authorize appropriations for fiscal 
year 2005 for NOAA ($10,000,000) and the Coast Guard 
($5,000,000) to carry out this program.

                          Background and Needs

  Each year, millions of marine mammals, sea turtles, fish, and 
seabirds become entangled in marine debris or ingest plastics 
which they have mistaken for food. It is estimated that 1,267 
different marine species have been reported entangled in or 
having ingested marine debris. The plastic constricts their 
movements or kills the animals through starvation, exhaustion, 
or infection from deep wounds caused by the tightening of 
tangled material. The animals may starve to death, because the 
plastic clogs their intestines, preventing them from obtaining 
vital nutrients. Toxic substances present in plastics can also 
cause death or reproductive failure.
  Humans can also be directly affected by marine debris. 
Swimmers and divers can become entangled in abandoned netting 
and fishing lines. Beach users can be injured by stepping on 
broken glass, cans, needles, or other litter. Floating debris 
is visually unappealing and can result in lost tourism 
revenues. Furthermore, marine debris acts as a navigational 
hazard to fishing and recreational boats by entangling 
propellers and clogging cooling water intake valves.
  Land-based sources cause 80 percent of the marine debris 
found on our beaches and waters. The second source of marine 
debris derives from ocean-based sources, including lost or 
abandoned fishing gear, galley waste, and other trash from 
ships and offshore oil and gas exploration and production 
facilities. In Hawaii, the impacts of marine debris are 
particularly apparent because of the convergence caused by the 
North Pacific Tropical High. Atmospheric forces cause ocean 
surface currents to converge on Hawaii, bringing with them the 
vast amount of debris floating throughout the Pacific. In 2003 
alone, 122 tons of debris were removed from coral reefs in the 
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
  The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy (Commission) devoted an 
entire chapter to the problem of marine debris in its Final 
Report, released September 20, 2004. The Commission advocated 
strengthening interagency efforts and public-private 
partnerships to promote monitoring, prevention, reduction, and 
public awareness of marine debris and its impacts. It also 
recommended development of an international plan of action to 
target derelict fishing gear, which is a serious and persistent 
source of marine debris.
  S. 2488, the Marine Debris Research and Reduction Act, 
addresses many of the marine debris recommendations of the 
Commission. It would establish a Marine Debris Prevention and 
Removal Program within NOAA to reduce and prevent adverse 
impacts of marine debris on the marine environment and 
navigational safety. The NOAA program would undertake marine 
debris mapping, identification, prevention, and removal 
efforts; public education and outreach efforts; and research 
and development of gear alternatives to reduce the threat to 
the marine environment and to enhance the tracking, recovery, 
and identification of lost gear.
  The bill would also establish a marine debris grants program 
to States or other eligible groups to encourage cooperative 
approaches to address marine debris problems. The bill would 
establish a 50 percent non-federal match requirement, and allow 
for in kind contributions, including environmental mitigation 
funds provided under a consent decree (but not an 
administrative order). NOAA is also directed to maintain a 
Federal information clearinghouse on marine debris that will be 
available to researchers and other interested parties, which is 
intended to assist in identifying sources and devising 
prevention strategies.
  In addition, the bill would direct the Coast Guard to improve 
its enforcement of MARPOL Annex V and the Act to Prevent 
Pollution from Ships (33 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.), which are 
designed to prevent ship-based pollution from plastics and 
other garbage. Specific measures authorized include the 
development of regulations to require United States fishing 
vessels to report the loss and recovery of fishing gear, and 
regulations to ensure that ports and terminals have adequate 
waste receptacles and logging procedures for the proper 
disposal of plastics, as required by international and domestic 
law.
  As recommended by the Commission, the bill would re-establish 
and strengthen the Interagency Committee on Marine Debris to 
re-invigorate marine debris research and activities among 
Federal agencies, in cooperation with non-governmental 
entities. The Committee would be required to prepare an 
Interagency Report on Marine Debris Impacts and Strategies 
within 12 months after the date of enactment as well as annual 
progress reports. The bill would also direct the Committee to 
develop a strategy to pursue international action to reduce the 
incidence of marine debris through the International Maritime 
Organization and other appropriate international and regional 
forums.
  The bill would authorize appropriations for NOAA and the 
Coast Guard to carry out their programs in 2005.

                         Summary of Provisions

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

  S. 2488 was introduced in the Senate on June 2, 2004, by 
Senator Inouye and referred to the Senate Committee on 
Commerce, Science, and Transportation. It is cosponsored by 
Senators Stevens, Hollings, and Cantwell.
  On July 20, 2004, the bill was considered by the Committee in 
an open executive session. The Committee, without objection, 
ordered S. 2280 be reported subject to amendment. Due to the 
invocation of a Senate rule which prevented the consideration 
of amendments to this bill, a substitute amendment that Senator 
Inouye intended to offer in order to make technical corrections 
to the bill could not be considered by the committee.
  Committee members understand that when S. 2488 proceeds to 
the Senate floor, technical changes from the substitute 
amendment would be offered. These technical changes include: 
expanding program scope to address the sources of marine 
debris; clarifying that any new Coast Guard regulations would 
focus on closing existing regulatory gaps for a range of vessel 
types, not just fishing vessels; adding the United States Fish 
and Wildlife Service and the Department of State to the 
Interagency Marine Debris Committee; requiring ``marine 
debris'' to be defined through regulation; and extending the 
authorization of appropriations through fiscal year 2009.

                            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 24, 2004.
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 estimate of the costs of the mandates 
contained in S. 2488, the Marine Debris Research and Reduction 
Act. CBO transmitted the federal cost estimate for this bill to 
you on September 10, 2004.
    If you wish further details on this statement, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Gregory 
Waring (for the state and local impact), and Karen Raupp (for 
the private-sector impact).
            Sincerely,
                                        Elizabeth Robinson,
                               (For Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Director).
    Enclosure.

S. 2488--Marine Debris Research and Reduction Act

    Summary: S. 2488 contains both intergovernmental and 
private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act (UMRA) because it would impose requirements on all 
public and private owners and operators of port terminals and 
small commercial vessels. Because of uncertainty about how 
regulators would implement one of the mandates, CBO cannot 
determine the aggregate cost of private-sector mandates in the 
bill. Based on information from government and industry 
sources, CBO estimates that the aggregate cost of 
intergovernmental mandates in the bill would fall below the 
annual threshold ($60 million in 2004, adjusted annually for 
inflation) established by the act.
    Mandates Contained in the Bill: S. 2488 would impose 
requirements on all public and private owners and operators of 
port terminals. In addition, the bill would impose requirements 
on the owners and operators of small commercial vessels.

Mandates on port terminals

    Port terminals are facilities within the waters of a port 
consisting of one or more docks. The bill would require 
operators of terminals to maintain on-site receptacles for 
receiving plastic waste from docked vessels. Terminal operators 
also would be required to maintain a log of waste received to 
help track and verify proper garbage disposal from vessels. 
Because port authorities include public and private-sector 
entities, such requirements would be both intergovernmental and 
private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.

Mandates on vessels

    S. 2488 also would broaden to smaller vessels two existing 
mandates that currently apply to large vessels. In addition, 
the bill would require certain small vessels to maintain 
receptacles on board for collecting solid waste. The bill would 
distinguish between two categories of small vessels; commercial 
vessels that are less than 40 feet in length, and those 
weighing less than 400 gross tons.
    Under current law, vessels 40 feet or longer are required 
to maintain a waste management plan. This requirement is a part 
of the regulations that implement Annex V of MARPOL, an 
international agreement governing the transportation of oil and 
noxious liquid and garbage disposal practices aimed at 
controlling levels of chemical and waste pollution of the 
oceans. The bill also would require certain smaller vessels--
those shorter than 40 feet--to comply with these regulations; 
however the bill would authorize the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to 
take into account the potential economic impacts and technical 
feasibility of these requirements as it implements the 
regulations for smaller vessels.
    Finally, the bill would expand to all vessels entering U.S. 
ports the current requirement that vessels weighing 400 hundred 
gross tons or greater keep records of the garbage that they 
dispose.

Estimated direct costs of mandates

            Are statutory thresholds exceeded?
    CBO is uncertain about how regulators would implement the 
mandate on terminal operators to provide receptacles for 
collecting plastics. Therefore, we cannot determine the 
aggregate cost of mandates in the bill. Depending on how the 
requirements are implemented, the costs to both private and 
public operators could vary greatly. Although the range of 
possible costs for private terminals is too broad to predict 
whether aggregate costs of private-sector mandates would exceed 
the annual threshold established by UMRA ($120 million in 2004, 
adjusted annually for inflation), information from government 
and industry sources indicates that total costs for publicly 
operated terminals are likely to fall below the annual 
threshold for intergovernmental mandates ($60 million in 2004, 
adjusted annually for inflation).
            Total direct costs of mandates
    The costs to comply with the mandate to provide waste 
receptacles for plastics would vary depending on the specific 
Coast Guard requirements (e.g., number of receptacles, 
location, frequency of disposal) that have yet to be finalized. 
Therefore, CBO cannot determine the total cost of complying 
with such requirements. Under current law, the owners and 
operators of the vessels that dock at ports generally pay 
businesses directly for the disposal of their solid wastes. 
Although the bill would require terminals to provide for some 
disposal, CBO expects that they would pass along the disposal 
costs to the vessels using their facilities. Because there are 
relatively few publicly operated terminals, CBO estimates that 
the cost for public ports to maintain plastic receptacles would 
not exceed $25 million annually.
    Industry sources CBO contacted estimate that it would take 
ports about one hour per day to maintain logs of the plastic 
waste they receive as required by the bill. Based on those data 
and other information about average wage rates, CBO estimates 
that such requirements would cost terminal operators a total of 
about $20 million annually; private operators would bear about 
$15 million of the cost while public operators would bear about 
$5 million annually.
    Registration records from the USCG indicate that there are 
about 83,000 commercial ships less than 40 feet. According to 
industry experts, the cost per vessel of obtaining a waste 
management plan and familiarizing crew members with the plan 
would be small and amount to about $120 per vessel on average. 
Assuming all commercial vessels less than 40 feet had to comply 
with the mandate, the cost to the private sector could amount 
to about $10 million. The requirement to maintain shipboard 
receptacles for garbage collection would impose minimal costs 
on the vessels to which this would apply. Generally, vessels 
already maintain receptacles onboard to prevent garbage from 
littering the deck and compartments of the ship.
    Finally, these USCG records list 98,580 commercial vessels 
weighing less than 400 gross tons; these vessels would face 
additional costs to keep records of garbage disposal. Based on 
information from the USCG and other government sources 
regarding estimated time for recordkeeping and average wages, 
CBO estimates that the cost to small commercial vessels to 
maintain disposal logs would amount to about $60 million 
annually.
    Previous CBO estimate: CBO's analysis of the federal costs 
of S. 2488 was transmitted on September 10, 2004.
    Estimate prepared by: State and Local Impact: Gregory 
Waring and Private-Sector Impact: Karen Raupp.
     Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis. Roger Hitchner, Assistant 
Director for Microeconomic and Financial Studies.

                      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 reported bill would establish programs within NOAA and 
the Coast Guard to identify, assess, reduce, and prevent marine 
debris and its adverse impacts on the marine environment and 
navigation safety. It would authorize the Coast Guard to 
develop regulations to reduce violations of MARPOL Annex V and 
the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (33 U.S.C. 1901 et 
seq.), ensuring that all United States ports and terminals 
maintain waste disposal receptacles and waste logging 
procedures and provide for log book comparison to determine 
compliance. The Coast Guard would also be authorized to develop 
regulations to require vessels to maintain waste disposal 
records, require fishing vessels to report the loss and 
recovery of fishing gear, and improve ship-board waste 
management, so individuals or businesses that generate waste on 
board ships could become subject to new regulations.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  Section 9 would authorize $10,000,000 to be appropriated to 
the Secretary of Commerce and $5,000,000 to be appropriated to 
the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is 
operating for fiscal year 2005 to implement provisions of this 
bill. Both of these amounts have 10 percent administrative 
caps. These funding levels are modest and are not expected to 
have an inflationary impact on the Nation's economy.

                                PRIVACY

  The Coast Guard regulations authorized in section 4 of the 
reported bill may lead to changes in the way ship-board waste 
information is collected and reported, but it is not expected 
to have any adverse impact on the personal privacy of 
individuals.

                               PAPERWORK

  The Coast Guard regulations authorized in section 4 of the 
reported bill may lead to changes in the paperwork requirements 
for recording and reporting ship-board waste, including loss 
and recovery of fishing gear, in the private sector.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

  Section 1 states that this may be cited as ``Marine Debris 
Research and Reduction Act''.

Section 2. Findings and purposes

  Subsection (a) would convey the importance of the ocean 
environment and the fragility of ocean ecosystems and identify 
marine debris (particularly plastics) as a significant long-
term threat. Subsection (b) states that a purpose of this Act 
is to establish programs within NOAA and the Coast Guard to 
``identify, assess, reduce, and prevent marine debris and its 
adverse impacts on the marine environment and navigation 
safety.'' Other purposes include increased Federal 
coordination, international cooperation, and better data 
management.

Section 3. NOAA Marine Debris Prevention and Removal Program

  This section would establish a program within NOAA to reduce 
and prevent marine debris. Subsection (b)(1) would require the 
program to develop methods for tracking and predicting the 
movements of marine debris in United States navigable waters 
and the United States Exclusive Economic Zone and then removing 
it. Subsection (b)(2) would require NOAA to research fishing 
gear that will pose less threat to the marine environment, 
develop tracking devices for lost gear, and develop voluntary 
programs to reduce the loss or discarding of old gear. Under 
subsection (b)(3), NOAA would be responsible for educating 
stakeholders on marine debris.
  Subsection (c) would authorize grants to meet the purposes of 
the Act. The bill would require a 50 percent match for grants 
(with a waiver provision) and involve a merit-based peer review 
process. Formation of grant guidelines would require 
consultation with various groups, including regional fishery 
management councils established under the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Section 4. Coast Guard program

  Section 4 would require the Coast Guard to undertake measures 
to improve compliance with MARPOL Annex V and the Act to 
Prevent Pollution from Ships (33 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.). It would 
also require the Coast Guard to establish voluntary programs 
for reporting marine debris ship strikes and disposal 
violations, and for United States flag vessels to inform the 
Coast Guard of foreign ports that lack adequate garbage 
disposal facilities.
  This section would further require the Coast Guard to 
promulgate regulations that would:
           Increase the presence of waste facilities at 
        ports and docks (to comply with the above statutes).
           Require vessels entering United States ports 
        to maintain records on the disposal of plastics and 
        other garbage (records subject to Coast Guard 
        inspection).
           Require United States fishing vessels to 
        report loss/recovery of gear and require smaller 
        vessels to comply with existing requirements to 
        maintain on-board trash receptacles and a ship waste 
        management plan (with due account given to economic 
        impacts and feasibility).

Section 5. Interagency coordination

  This section would establish an ``Interagency Committee on 
Marine Debris'' to coordinate Federal activities and cooperate 
withnon-federal government entities in developing a 
comprehensive program of marine debris research and activities. Members 
would include: NOAA, the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection 
Agency, the Navy, the Maritime Administration, National Aeronautics and 
Space Administration, the Marine Mammal Commission, and other 
interested agencies. Sections 5(c) and 5(d) would require Committee 
meetings twice annually as well as a report examining the impact of 
marine debris, potential solutions for those impacts, and the costs-
benefits of those solutions. Section 5(d) would also require annual 
reports on progress made by the programs established in this Act and 
international partnership efforts.

Section 6. International cooperation

  This section would require the Interagency Committee to 
pursue international action in reducing marine debris at 
international meetings and organizations. It includes a 
recommendation to make marine debris a part of international 
fishery and maritime agreements.

Section 7. Federal Information Clearinghouse

  This section would establish within NOAA a clearinghouse to 
store marine debris data and information (including information 
useful in identifying fishing gear fragments), to be shared 
with researchers and other interested parties.

Section 8. Definitions

  Section 8 defines, among other terms: (1) ``Under 
Secretary''; (2) ``Committee''; (3) ``United States Exclusive 
Economic Zone''; (4) and ``MARPOL''.

Section 9. Authorization of appropriations

  For FY2005, the bill would authorize $10,000,000 to the 
Secretary of Commerce and $5,000,000 to the Secretary of the 
Department housing the Coast Guard (i.e., the Department of 
Homeland Security), with the stipulation that no more than 10 
percent of either sum may be used for administrative costs.

                        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):

       MARINE PLASTIC POLLUTION RESEARCH AND CONTROL ACT OF 1987


                            (33 U.S.C. 1914)


               TITLE 33--NAVIGATION AND NAVIGABLE WATERS

             CHAPTER 33--PREVENTION OF POLLUTION FROM SHIPS


[SEC. 2003. COORDINATION.

                            [33 U.S.C. 1914]

  [(a) Establishment of Marine Debris Coordinating Committee.--
The Secretary of Commerce shall establish a Marine Debris 
Coordinating Committee.
  [(b) Membership.--The Committee shall include a senior 
official from--
          [(1) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration, who shall serve as the Chairperson of 
        the Committee;
          [(2) the Environmental Protection Agency;
          [(3) the United States Coast Guard;
          [(4) the United States Navy; and
          [(5) such other Federal agencies that have an 
        interest in ocean issues or water pollution prevention 
        and control as the Secretary of Commerce determines 
        appropriate.
  [(c) Meetings.--The Committee shall meet at least twice a 
year to provide a forum to ensure the coordination of national 
and international research, monitoring, education, and 
regulatory actions addressing the persistent marine debris 
problem.
  [(d) Monitoring.--The Secretary of Commerce, acting through 
the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, in cooperation with the Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency, shall utilize the marine 
debris data derived under title V of the Marine Protection, 
Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 2801 et seq.) 
to assist--
          [(1) the Committee in ensuring coordination of 
        research, monitoring, education and regulatory actions; 
        and
          [(2) the United States Coast Guard in assessing the 
        effectiveness of this Act and the Act to Prevent 
        Pollution from Ships in ensuring compliance under 
        section 2201.]