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110th Congress 
 1st Session                     SENATE                          Report
                                                                110-217
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 466

 
                     COASTAL AND OCEAN OBSERVATION
                           SYSTEM ACT OF 2007

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

                  COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND

                             TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 950




                November 2, 2007.--Ordered to be printed


       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                       one hundred tenth congress
                             first session

                   DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii, Chairman
                   TED STEVENS, Alaska, Vice-Chairman
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West         JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
    Virginia                         TRENT LOTT, Mississippi
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts         KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota        OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
BARBARA BOXER, California            GORDON H. SMITH, Oregon
BILL NELSON, Florida                 JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington           JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey      JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
MARK PRYOR, Arkansas                 DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
THOMAS CARPER, Delaware              JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
          Margaret Cummisky, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
         Lila Helms, Deputy Staff Director and Policy Director
       Jean Toal Eisen, Senior Advisor and Deputy Policy Director
     Christine Kurth, Republican Staff Director and General Counsel
                Paul J. Nagle, Republican Chief Counsel


                                                       Calendar No. 466
110th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    110-217

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




            COASTAL AND OCEAN OBSERVATION SYSTEM ACT OF 2007

                                _______
                                

                November 2, 2007.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

       Mr. Inouye, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                                 REPORT

                         [To accompany S. 950]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 950) to develop and maintain an 
integrated system of coastal and ocean observations for the 
Nation's coasts, oceans, and Great Lakes, to improve warnings 
of tsunami, hurricanes, El Nino events, and other natural 
hazards, to enhance homeland security, to support maritime 
operations, to improve management of coastal and marine 
resources, 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. 950, the Coastal and Ocean Observation 
System Act of 2007, is to establish a national, integrated 
coastal and ocean observing system that will collect, compile, 
and make available data on ocean conditions of the Nation's 
coasts, oceans, and Great Lakes. The bill also aims to improve 
warnings of tsunami, hurricanes, El Nino events, and other 
natural hazards, to enhance homeland security, to support 
maritime operations, and to improve management of coastal and 
marine resources.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEEDS

    Advances in our knowledge and management of coastal and 
ocean resources are limited by a lack of real-time, 
standardized, and accessible data on key environmental 
variables such as temperature, salinity, sea level, surface 
currents, ocean color, pH, wind speed, wave height, dissolved 
oxygen, and nutrient, pathogen, and contaminant concentrations. 
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has 
emphasized that programs throughout the agency often do not 
have the basic environmental data they need to create effective 
models or conduct analyses used in the management process. NOAA 
and other agencies also need long-term oceanographic databases 
to effectively monitor changes in the environment, such as El 
Nino events, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Pacific 
Decadal Oscillation, global climate change, ocean 
acidification, harmful algal blooms, and other marine ecosystem 
impacts.
    The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy (the Commission) 
emphasized the importance of expanding and integrating coastal 
and ocean observation systems around the Nation. In Chapter 26, 
``Achieving a Sustained, Integrated Ocean Observing System,'' 
of its September 2004 final report, the Commission offered 13 
specific recommendations on developing, funding, implementing, 
and utilizing a nationwide ocean observation system and linking 
this with other national and international environmental 
monitoring programs. Additionally, scores of other Commission 
recommendations related to ocean data and information needs 
also support the need for an integrated, national ocean 
observation system. The Commission's recommendations align with 
those of the National Ocean Research Leadership Council (the 
Council), which includes the leadership of NOAA, the Navy, the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the 
National Science Foundation (NSF). The Council has called for 
the full implementation of an integrated and sustained ocean 
observing system by 2010.
    Coastal and ocean data are also needed to satisfy the 
marine conservation, research, and management activities 
established in statutes such as the Coastal Zone Management 
Act, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control 
Act, the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, and 
other legislation related to oceans, fisheries, and atmospheric 
sciences and management. A number of mandates explicitly or 
implicitly require routine ocean observations. For example, 
Title V of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act 
requires the Environmental Protection Agency and NOAA to 
administer a national coastal water quality monitoring program. 
Further, the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 created the 
National Estuarine Research Reserve System that includes 
monitoring the status and trends in coastal ecosystem health. 
Data on marine ecosystems are also required for effective 
enforcement of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the 
Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
    A national, integrated coastal and ocean observation system 
would provide a continuous stream of near real-time data for 
oceanographic parameters of national priority; develop 
standards and protocols for data transfer and archiving; and 
improve linkages between regional observing systems to 
facilitate coverage around the United States. Scientific 
experts have testified on the importance of a national 
observing system for predicting, monitoring, and evaluating the 
impacts of climate change on coastal and ocean ecosystems. A 
national system would provide the Coast Guard with real-time 
information on sea-state conditions that it could use to 
determine when and how to conduct its many missions. This would 
be especially applicable in planning search-and-rescue 
missions. Observing systems also would provide the Navy with 
information to support core Navy missions, including 
development of improved sensor technologies and predictive and 
tactical models for littoral environments.
    Information generated by this system could provide advanced 
warning of hazardous coastal and ocean conditions to State 
managers and potentially affected communities. For example, 
when a tsunami or hurricane occurs, information from tsunami 
detection buoys could be combined with wave height indicators 
and tidal gauges in the observing system to track destructive 
wave patterns, thereby helping communities minimize loss of 
life and property. Several other types of information products 
generated by the coastal and ocean observing system could help 
coastal communities prepare for a range of potentially harmful 
ocean conditions and take steps to minimize their losses.
    This system has the potential to provide economic and 
ecological benefits for other coastal and ocean activities as 
well. For example, fisheries scientists and managers could use 
the data to predict biological productivity which would 
facilitate ecosystem-based management. Fishermen and mariners 
could better predict sea conditions for safe navigation and 
transport. Ocean scientists and regulators could better 
understand, predict, and rapidly respond to the distribution 
and impacts of marine pollution, harmful algal blooms, or other 
hazardous conditions. Educators and students could learn more 
about basic functions and processes of the marine environment.
    Independent regional ocean observation systems, such as the 
Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS), the Alaska Ocean 
Observing System, and dozens of other current and planned 
systems around the coastline of the United States have 
attempted to fill these information needs on a regional basis. 
The GoMOOS, for example, is a prototype system of integrated 
ocean observing devices (buoys, radar, satellites, etc.) that 
are linked to provide real-time ocean data collection via the 
Internet so that ocean prediction models and systems can be 
developed--a process similar to that utilized in weather 
forecasting. Other regional systems are being developed to meet 
local or project-based research needs, collecting different 
types of data in a variety of ways and using various approaches 
for organizing, managing, and communicating these data.
    These regional efforts have developed in an ad hoc, 
fragmented manner, limiting the uniformity, consistency, and 
compatibility of data among systems. NOAA and other users of 
coastal and ocean 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. Regional systems are also limited 
by uneven and unpredictable funding, which reduces their 
ability to meet their own basic needs.
    Once established, this coastal and ocean 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 coastal and ocean policies, and 
provide information to raise public awareness of our oceans.
    The economic impact of an integrated national coastal and 
ocean observing system is difficult to quantify, but studies to 
date indicate that it would generate significant cost savings 
in the long-term. The Commission estimated that such a system 
would cost $138 million to formally establish and $500 million 
to maintain annually. By comparison, approximately $700 million 
is provided annually to the National Weather Service for 
similar information and products for weather and atmospheric 
phenomena. The expected economic return is significant; for 
example, an economic impact study that evaluated the GoMOOS 
system estimated that it saved the regional economy at least $6 
for every $1 invested. Additionally, the Commission noted that 
the estimated value of El Nino forecasts reaches $1 billion 
annually.

                         SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS

    The Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2007 would 
build on the existing Federal observing backbone to establish a 
coastal and ocean observing program that would produce 
continuous and comprehensive ocean observations in the United 
States, including the Great Lakes. It would incorporate NOAA's 
weather buoys, tide gauges, tsunami detection buoys, and real-
time observing partnerships such as the Physical Oceanographic 
Real-Time System. It would also support and coordinate the 
ocean data collection systems around the country and formalize 
the relationship with the Federal Government.
    The bill would authorize the President, acting through the 
Council, to create and oversee an integrated ocean observing 
system to provide long-term, continuous, and quality-controlled 
observations of the Nation's coasts, oceans, and Great Lakes. 
The program would consist of federally-certified regional 
associations that collect data on key variables, disseminate 
information, and apply results to national priorities. The 
Council would serve as the oversight body for the design and 
coordination of all aspects of the observing system. Created by 
the fiscal year 1997 National Defense Authorization Act 
(Conference Report 104-724), the Council consists of the heads 
of fifteen Federal agencies involved in conducting or funding 
ocean research or developing ocean research policy. The 
Council's Chair and Vice Chair are selected by a committee 
composed of, at a minimum, the Secretary of the Navy, the 
Administrator of NOAA, the Director of NSF, and the current or 
sitting Chair and Vice Chair, and appointed with the 
concurrence of the full Council membership.
    The Council would establish an Interagency Ocean 
Observation Committee (IOOC) to carry out the program's 
planning, budgeting, and implementation. The IOOC would also be 
responsible for setting national standards for the observing 
system. The IOOC would be comprised of representatives of the 
Federal agencies responsible for coastal and ocean management, 
including NOAA, NASA, and NSF. To assist in carrying out the 
daily operations of the IOOC, the bill would establish an 
Interagency Program Coordinating Office housed within the 
Department of Commerce and staffed by employees of agencies 
represented on the IOOC.
    The bill would also establish a distinct leadership role 
for NOAA in the implementation of the ocean observing program. 
Working with the Council, the IOOC, and other Federal agencies, 
NOAA would manage the data and communication elements of the 
program and administer a merit-based funding process for the 
regional associations and other participants in the program. 
NOAA would also establish a certification process for the 
regional associations using standards developed by the IOOC.
    S. 950 would authorize $150 million to NOAA for each of 
fiscal years 2008 through 2010 and $175 million to NOAA for 
each of the fiscal years 2011 and 2012. At least 50 percent of 
this funding would be allocated to the regional associations 
for implementing and operating regional elements of the coastal 
and ocean observation system.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 950 was introduced in the Senate by Senator Snowe on 
March 21, 2007, with Senators Cantwell, Inouye, Stevens, Boxer, 
Cardin, Kerry, Menendez, Collins, Lautenberg, Lott, Feinstein, 
Nelson of Florida, and Murkowski as original cosponsors. 
Senator Wyden subsequently signed on as a cosponsor. The bill 
was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation. On June 27, 2007, the Committee considered a 
managers' substitute amendment to this bill in an open 
executive session. The Committee, without objection, ordered S. 
950 be reported favorably as amended.

                            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:

                                                     July 30, 2007.
Hon. Daniel K. Inouye,
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. 950, the Coastal and 
Ocean Observation System Act of 2007.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Deborah 
Reis and David Reynolds.
            Sincerely,
                                                   Peter R. Orszag.
    Enclosure.

S. 950--Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2007

    Summary: S. 950 would direct the National Ocean Research 
Leadership Council to develop and operate an integrated coastal 
and ocean observation system, including programs for ocean 
monitoring, data analysis, public education, and research. For 
this purpose, the bill would authorize the appropriation of 
$800 million over the 2008-2012 period. The council, which was 
established in 1996, includes the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Navy, the National 
Science Foundation (NSF), 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. 950 would cost $700 million over 
the 2008-2012 period and $100 million after 2012. Enacting the 
legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues.
    S. 950 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. 950 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--
                                 ---------------------------------------
                                   2008    2009    2010    2011    2012
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Authorization Level.............     150     150     150     175     175
Estimated Outlays...............      80     130     150     160     180
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that S. 
950 will be enacted near the start of 2008 and that the 
authorized amounts will be appropriated for each year. 
Estimated outlays are based on historical spending patterns for 
NOAA programs.
    The legislation would direct the National Ocean Research 
Leadership Council to establish a new national system for 
collecting information and monitoring oceanic and coastal 
ecosystems and resources, including related research, 
education, and analysis. NOAA would lead the implementation of 
the system in consultation with the council and other federal 
agencies. The bill would authorize the appropriation of $150 
million a year for fiscal years 2008 through 2010 and $175 
million a year for fiscal years 2011 and 2012 for those new 
activities.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing the bill would cost $700 million 
over the 2008-2012 period and an additional $100 million after 
2012.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 950 
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 and David 
Reynolds; Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Leo 
Lex; Impact on the Private Sector: Justin Hall.
    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 reported bill would require the development of a 
national, integrated coastal and ocean observation system that 
would 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 8 of the reported bill would authorize $150 million 
for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2010 and $175 million for 
each of fiscal years 2011 and 2012 in appropriations to NOAA 
for the development and implementation of the national coastal 
and ocean observation system. It would authorize at least 50 
percent of these sums to be allocated to the regional 
associations certified under section 4(f) for implementation of 
regional coastal and ocean observing systems. Considering the 
potential cost savings and economic return on a fully 
functional coastal and ocean 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. 950 would not impose any new paperwork requirements on 
private citizens, businesses, or other entities that do not 
choose to participate in a regional coastal and ocean 
observation association; representatives of entities choosing 
to participate in these associations may be subject to some 
additional paperwork requirements.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    This section would cite this bill as the ``Coastal and 
Ocean Observation System Act of 2007.''

Section 2. Findings and purposes

    The findings and purposes would recognize that a sustained 
and integrated coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes observing system 
provides vital ocean information for myriad regional and 
national needs and that coordination with a network of the 
regional associations to operate and maintain the observing 
system would ensure the fulfillment of these objectives.

Section 3. Definitions

    This section would define ``Administrator'' as the 
Administrator of NOAA; ``Council'' as the National Ocean 
Research Leadership Council; ``Interagency Ocean Observation 
Committee'' as described in section 4(d); ``National 
Oceanographic Partnership Program'' as the program established 
under section 7901 of title 10, United States Code; ``Observing 
System'' as the integrated system established under section 
4(a); and ``Secretary'' as the Secretary of Commerce for the 
purposes of this bill.

Section 4. Integrated coastal and ocean observing system

    (a) Establishment.--This subsection would direct the 
President, acting through the Council, to establish and 
maintain an integrated system of coastal and ocean 
observations, data communication and management, analysis, 
modeling, research, education, and outreach. The observing 
system would provide long-term, continuous, quality-controlled 
data and information for the timely monitoring and prediction 
of changes in coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes environments that 
impact social, economic, and ecological systems. The purposes 
of the observing system include: understanding the effects of 
human activities and natural variability on coasts, oceans, and 
Great Lakes; monitoring key variables such as temperature, 
salinity, and acidity; measuring and predicting climatic and 
environmental changes; protecting lives and livelihoods from 
natural and manmade hazards; supplying critical information to 
marine-related businesses and aiding marine navigation and 
safety; supporting national defense and homeland security; 
supporting sustainable use and protection of coastal, ocean, 
and Great Lakes resources; supporting protection of critical 
coastal habitats, unique ecosystems, and resources; educating 
the public about the oceans and Great Lakes; and supporting 
research and development to improve the observing system.
  (b) System Elements.--This subsection would specify that the 
observation system include the following five elements: (1) a 
national program to fulfill national and international 
observation priorities; (2) a network of the regional 
associations to manage regional observation programs; (3) a 
data management and communication system for timely integration 
and dissemination of data and information products; (4) a 
research and development program under the guidance of the 
Council including basic and applied research; and (5) an 
outreach, education, and training program augmenting existing 
programs such as the National Sea Grant College Program, the 
Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, and the 
National Estuarine Research Reserve System.
  (c) Council Functions.--This subsection would specify that 
the Council shall serve as the oversight body for the design 
and implementation of the observing system; adopt plans, 
budgets, and standards developed by the IOOC in consultation 
with the regional associations; coordinate with other earth 
observing activities; coordinate and approve research, 
development, education, and outreach programs in support of the 
observing system; promote technology and methods to improve the 
observing system; support institutional mechanisms and 
financial instruments to further program goals and provide for 
infrastructure capitalization; provide support for and 
representation of U.S. delegations to international meetings on 
observing programs; and coordinate activities with other 
nations.
  (d) Interagency Ocean Observation Committee.--This subsection 
would direct the Council to establish an IOOC responsible for 
program planning and coordinating the implementation of the 
observing system. The IOOC would prepare annual and long-term 
design and implementation plans. These plans would promote 
collaboration between Federal agencies and the regional 
associations and identify a core set of variables to be 
measured by all systems. The IOOC would also coordinate the 
development of agency and regional association priorities and 
budgets; establish and refine data collection, management, and 
communication standards and protocols in consultation with 
Federal agencies and the regional associations; establish a 
process for assuring compliance with set standards and 
protocols including quality control standards; integrate, 
improve, and extend existing programs and research projects; 
ensure the regional associations are integrated into the system 
on a sustained basis; provide for advances in science and 
technology to move from research and development to operational 
deployment; and perform other duties as delegated by the 
Council.
  This subsection also establishes an Interagency Program 
Coordinating Office, staffed by employees of the agencies 
represented on the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee, and 
tasked with facilitating and executing day-to-day operations to 
meet the Committee's responsibilities.
  (e) Role of NOAA.--This subsection would direct NOAA to 
provide leadership for implementing and administering the 
observing system, in consultation with the Council, the IOOC, 
other Federal agencies maintaining portions of the observing 
system, and the regional associations. NOAA's responsibilities 
would include establishing an Integrated Ocean Observing 
Program Office; establishing and implementing procedures for 
allocation of funds through competitive contracts, grants, 
leases, or cooperative agreements to carry out this act; 
developing and implementing a process for certification and 
review of the regional associations meeting the requirements of 
subsection (f); and developing a data management and 
communication system for all observing system data.
  (f) Regional Associations of Coastal and Ocean Observing 
systems.--This subsection would authorize the Secretary, 
through rulemaking, to establish a process for the 
certification of the regional associations. A regional 
association would need to meet the certification standards 
developed by the IOOC in conjunction with the regional 
associations and approved by the Council that would require an 
organizational structure capable of supporting all aspects of 
the observing system, and a strategic plan that would detail 
the operation and support of the regional observing system. The 
regional associations would also be required to work with 
governmental entities and programs to provide information 
products of the observing system to multiple users in the 
region.
  (g) Civil Liability.--This subsection would specify that, for 
the purposes of determining tort liability related to the 
dissemination and use of data, any coastal and ocean observing 
system that is a designated part of a certified regional 
association and carrying out the purposes of this act shall be 
considered to be part of NOAA, and any employee operating 
within the scope of his or her employment shall be deemed to be 
an employee of the Federal Government.

Section 5. Process for transition from research to operation

  This section would direct NOAA, in consultation with the 
Council, to formulate a process by which funding is made 
available for research on and rating of new technologies for 
ocean data collection. These technologies shall include 
accelerated research into biological and chemical sensing 
techniques (including satellite sensors) and development of 
technologies to improve all aspects of the observing system. 
Under this process, funding would be made available to 
integrate proven ocean observation technology into the 
operational system.

Section 6. Interagency financing

  This section would specify that agencies represented on the 
Council are authorized to participate in interagency financing 
and share, transfer, receive, obligate, and expend funds 
appropriated to any agency represented on the Council to carry 
out any administrative or programmatic activity under this act.

Section 7. Application with other laws

  This section would provide that noting in this act would 
supersede or limit the authority of any agency to carry out its 
responsibilities and missions under other laws.

Section 8. Authorization of appropriations

  This section would authorize $150 million for each of fiscal 
years 2008 through 2010 and $175 million for each of fiscal 
years 2011 and 2012 to NOAA for implementing the systems and 
programs authorized by this act. At least 50 percent of these 
authorized funds would be allocated to the regional 
associations certified under subsection 4(f) for implementation 
of coastal and ocean observing systems at the regional level.

Section 9. Implementation plan

  This section would require the Secretary to submit to 
Congress a plan for implementation of this act no later than 12 
months after enactment. The report would include information 
for coordinating activities under this act with other Federal 
agencies and distributing funds to the regional associations.

Section 10. Report to Congress

  This section would require the Administration to prepare a 
report for the President. Acting through the Council, the 
President would review, approve, and transmit the report every 
two years. The report, prepared by the Administrator of NOAA, 
shall include a description of activities, evaluation of 
effectiveness, and benefits resulting from the observing 
system. It shall also contain recommendations for modifying and 
funding the observing system, as well as the results of a 
periodic, external, independent audit of the system.

                        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.