Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

110th Congress                                            Rept. 110-685
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

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

 
TO PROVIDE FOR A STUDY BY THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF POTENTIAL 
     IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON WATER RESOURCES AND WATER QUALITY

                                _______
                                

                  June 4, 2008.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Oberstar, from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 5770]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 5770) to provide for a study by the 
National Academy of Sciences of potential impacts of climate 
change on water resources and water quality, having considered 
the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommend that the bill do pass.

                       PURPOSE OF THE LEGISLATION

    H.R. 5770 provides for a study by the National Academy of 
Sciences of potential impacts of climate change on water 
resources and water quality.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    In February 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate 
Change (``IPCC'') declared that evidence of atmospheric warming 
is ``unequivocal''. The IPCC also stated with ``very high 
confidence'' that human activities have resulted in global 
climate change, and more specifically, global warming. The IPCC 
defines climate change as ``any change in climate over time, 
whether due to natural variability or as a result of human 
activity.'' The results of this change may result--and to a 
degree has already been observed--in sea level rise, increased 
hurricane and storm activity, and changed precipitation 
patterns resulting in more frequent floods and droughts, among 
other impacts.
    Climate change could negatively impact the nation's water 
resources as well as its water infrastructure. The Federal 
Government's interagency climate research program, the U.S. 
Global Change Research Program, has stated:

          In many cases and in many locations, there is 
        compelling scientific evidence that climate changes 
        will pose serious challenges to our water systems.

    Increased evaporation of surface water and decreased 
precipitation in some areas can lead to drought, as well as a 
higher concentration of contaminants in surface water. 
Increased precipitation and extreme weather events can lead to 
increased runoff and contamination of surface water as well as 
an increase in water-borne disease outbreaks.
    A 2001 study in the American Journal of Public Health 
showed that between 1948 and 1994, 68 percent of all 
waterborne-disease outbreaks in the United States occurred 
after rainfall events that ranked in the top 20 percent of all 
precipitation events by the amount of water deposited. Climate 
change is anticipated to result in a higher frequency of 
extreme wet weather events in some areas. Sea level rise will 
result in increased saltwater intrusion into coastal aquifers 
and water supply intakes in rivers. Warmer water temperatures 
can result in increased microbial and algal growth in surface 
water and water distribution systems. Warmer winter 
temperatures and earlier springs can result in decreased snow-
pack and earlier runoff from snow melt. Uncertainty does exist 
as to the specific location, timing, and magnitude of these 
anticipated impacts.
    In its draft National Water Program Strategy: Response to 
Climate Change, the Environmental Protection Agency's (``EPA'') 
Office of Water indicates that warmer air temperatures will 
result in warmer water. Warmer water will result in declining 
levels of dissolved oxygen, increased incidences of hypoxia 
(low oxygen levels result in harm or death of aquatic species), 
more harmful algal blooms, and changed toxicity of some 
pollutants. In sum, EPA finds that, even if pollution levels 
remain stable, the number of waters recognized as ``impaired'' 
is likely to increase.
    Today, there is considerable debate whether existing 
statutory authorities for protecting water quality, including 
whether the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (``Clean Water 
Act'') National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System 
(``NPDES'') permits, are adequate to address the challenges 
posed by climate change.

                       SUMMARY OF THE LEGISLATION

Section 1. Study of potential impacts of climate change on water 
        resources and water quality

    Subsection (a) calls for the Administrator of the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency to enter into an agreement with 
the National Academy of Sciences for the Academy to prepare a 
study on potential impacts of climate change on water resources 
and water quality. The study will consist of two parts.
    Subsection (a)(1) requires the study to look at the 
potential impacts of climate change on the hydrology and water 
quality of the nation's watersheds and water resources.
    Subsection (a)(2) requires the study to identify the 
scientific consensus, assumptions, and uncertainties regarding 
climate change predictions; assess the effects of climate 
change on State and Federal implementation of the Clean Water 
Act; identify steps that EPA and States should take to assess 
emerging information on the impacts of climate change on water 
resources and water quality with regard to implementation of 
the Clean Water Act, as well as appropriate responses they 
should take to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act 
(including the maintenance of water quality standards and 
adequate stream flow for wetlands and aquatic resources); and 
recommend legislative or regulatory changes to address and 
adapt to the impacts of climate change in order to meet the 
goals of the Clean Water Act.
    Subsection (b) requires the Administrator to submit a 
report to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of 
the House of Representatives and the Committee on Environment 
and Public Works of the Senate based on the findings of the 
National Academy of Sciences study.
    Subsection (c) authorizes $1,500,000 to be appropriated to 
carry out the requirements of this Act.

            LEGISLATIVE HISTORY AND COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held two 
hearings on climate change and energy independence in 2007. On 
May 11, 2007, the Committee held a hearing, entitled 
``Administration Proposals on Climate Change and Energy 
Independence''. On May 16, 2007, the Committee held a hearing, 
entitled ``Climate Change and Energy Independence: 
Transportation and Infrastructure Issues''.
    On June 13, 2007, Chairman James L. Oberstar introduced 
H.R. 2701, the ``Transportation Energy Security and Climate 
Change Mitigation Act of 2007''. Section 704 of this Act 
included a similar study on the potential impacts of climate 
change on water resources and water quality. On June 20, 2007, 
the Committee held a markup of H.R. 2701, during which section 
704 of H.R. 2701 was modified by a compromise amendment. On 
June 20, 2007, H.R. 2701 was ordered reported favorably to the 
House by voice vote.
    On July 30, 2007, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi 
introduced H.R. 3221, the ``New Direction for Energy 
Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act''. 
This legislation incorporated section 704 of H.R. 2701, as 
ordered reported by the Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure, as section 8703 of H.R. 3221. On August 4, 
2007, the House passed H.R. 3221. However, this section was not 
included in the final version of P.L. 110-140, the ``Energy 
Independence and Security Act of 2007''.
    On April 10, 2008, Representative John Hall introduced H.R. 
5770. H.R. 5770 is modeled on the climate change study 
provision contained in H.R. 2701 and H.R. 3221.
    On May 7, 2008, the Subcommittee on Water Resources and 
Environment met to consider H.R. 5770. The Subcommittee 
approved H.R. 5770 and favorably recommended it to the 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure by voice vote.
    On May 15, 2008, the Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure met in open session, and ordered H.R. 5770 
reported to the House by voice vote with a quorum present.

                              RECORD VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the House of Representatives 
requires each committee report to include the total number of 
votes cast for and against on each record vote on a motion to 
report and on any amendment offered to the measure or matter, 
and the names of those members voting for and against. There 
were no recorded votes taken in connection with consideration 
of H.R. 5770 or ordering it reported. A motion to order H.R. 
5770 reported favorably to the House was agreed to by voice 
vote with a quorum present.

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(I) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in this report.

                          COST OF LEGISLATION

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives does not apply where a cost estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974 has been timely submitted prior to the filing of the 
report and is included in the report. Such a cost estimate is 
included in this report.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(2) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, and 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee 
references the report of the Congressional Budget Office 
included in the report.
    2. With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
performance goals and objective of this legislation is to 
authorize a study to be undertaken by the National Academy of 
Sciences to assess the potential impacts of climate change on 
water resources and water quality, and provide recommendations 
for any necessary statutory or regulatory changes to the Clean 
Water Act as a result of climate change impacts, to meet the 
goals of the Clean Water Act.
    3. With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the 
Committee has received the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 5770 
from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, May 22, 2008.
Hon. James L. Oberstar,
Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 5770, a bill to 
provide for a study by the National Academy of Sciences of 
potential impacts of climate change on water resources and 
water quality.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Leigh Angres.
            Sincerely,
                                         Robert A. Sunshine
                                   (For Peter R. Orszag, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 5770--A bill to provide for a study by the National Academy of 
        Sciences of potential impacts of climate change on water 
        resources and water quality

    H.R. 5770 would authorize the appropriation of $1.5 million 
for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enter into an 
agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to prepare a 
study on the potential effects of climate change on water 
resources and quality. The bill would require the EPA to submit 
the study to the Congress within two years of enactment. CBO 
estimates that implementing this bill would cost $1.5 million 
over the 2009-2010 period.
    H.R. 5770 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Leigh Angres. 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                     COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XXI

    Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives, H.R. 5770, the Water Quality Investment Act 
of 2007, does not contain any congressional earmarks, limited 
tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in clause 
9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives.

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Pursuant to clause (3)(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, committee reports on a bill or 
joint resolution of a public character shall include a 
statement citing the specific powers granted to the Congress in 
the Constitution to enact the measure. The Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure finds that Congress has the 
authority to enact this measure pursuant to its powers granted 
under article I, section 8 of the Constitution.

                       FEDERAL MANDATES STATEMENT

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act (Public Law 104-4).

                        PREEMPTION CLARIFICATION

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 
requires the report of any Committee on a bill or joint 
resolution to include a statement on the extent to which the 
bill or joint resolution is intended to preempt state, local, 
or tribal law. The Committee states that H.R. 5770 does not 
preempt any state, local, or tribal law.

                      ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act are created by this 
legislation.

                APPLICABILITY TO THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act (Public Law 
104-1).

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    H.R. 5770 makes no changes in existing law.