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112th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    112-308

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



 
               POLAR BEAR CONSERVATION AND FAIRNESS ACT 
                                OF 2011

                                _______
                                

December 1, 2011.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 991]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 991) to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act 
of 1972 to allow importation of polar bear trophies taken in 
sport hunts in Canada before the date the polar bear was 
determined to be a threatened species under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness 
Act of 2011''.

SEC. 2. PERMITS FOR IMPORTATION OF POLAR BEAR TROPHIES TAKEN IN SPORT 
                    HUNTS IN CANADA.

  Section 104(c)(5)(D) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (16 
U.S.C. 1374(c)(5)(D)) is amended to read as follows:
          ``(D)(i) The Secretary of the Interior shall, expeditiously 
        after the expiration of the applicable 30-day period under 
        subsection (d)(2), issue a permit for the importation of any 
        polar bear part (other than an internal organ) from a polar 
        bear taken in a sport hunt in Canada to any person--
                  ``(I) who submits, with the permit application, proof 
                that the polar bear was legally harvested by the person 
                before February 18, 1997; or
                  ``(II) who has submitted, in support of a permit 
                application submitted before May 15, 2008, proof that 
                the polar bear was legally harvested by the person 
                before May 15, 2008, from a polar bear population from 
                which a sport-hunted trophy could be imported before 
                that date in accordance with section 18.30(i) of title 
                50, Code of Federal Regulations.
          ``(ii) The Secretary shall issue permits under clause (i)(I) 
        without regard to subparagraphs (A) and (C)(ii) of this 
        paragraph, subsection (d)(3), and sections 101 and 102. 
        Sections 101(a)(3)(B) and 102(b)(3) shall not apply to the 
        importation of any polar bear part authorized by a permit 
        issued under clause (i)(I). This clause shall not apply to 
        polar bear parts that were imported before June 12, 1997.
          ``(iii) The Secretary shall issue permits under clause 
        (i)(II) without regard to subparagraph (C)(ii) of this 
        paragraph or subsection (d)(3). Sections 101(a)(3)(B) and 
        102(b)(3) shall not apply to the importation of any polar bear 
        part authorized by a permit issued under clause (i)(II). This 
        clause shall not apply to polar bear parts that were imported 
        before the date of enactment of the Polar Bear Conservation and 
        Fairness Act of 2011.''.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 991, as ordered reported, is to amend 
the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to allow importation 
of polar bear trophies taken in sport hunts in Canada before 
the date the polar bear was determined to be a threatened 
species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was enacted in 1972 
to ensure that marine mammals are maintained at, or in some 
cases restored to, healthy population levels. The original Act 
established a moratorium on the taking or importing of marine 
mammals and marine mammal products except for certain 
activities which are regulated by permit. The MMPA defines 
``take'' as ``to harass, hunt, capture, or kill or attempt to 
harass, hunt capture, or kill any marine mammal.''
    Under the MMPA, jurisdiction over marine mammals in the 
wild is split between two agencies: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS), within the Department of the Interior, and the 
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), within the Department 
of Commerce. FWS has jurisdiction over sea otters, polar bears, 
manatees, dugongs and walrus, while NMFS has jurisdiction over 
all other marine mammals.
    The MMPA has been amended a number of times, with the last 
and most extensive amendments occurring in 1994. The 1994 MMPA 
amendments amended section 104 of the Act to allow for the 
importation of polar bear trophies from Canada. The Secretary 
of the Interior was authorized to issue a permit for the 
importation of polar bear trophies from Canada, if the 
following criteria were met: (1) the applicant provides 
documents showing the polar bear was legally taken in Canada; 
(2) Canada has a monitored and enforced sport hunting program, 
consistent with the Agreement on the Conservation of Polar 
Bears; (3) Canada's sport program is based on scientifically 
sound quotas that ensure a sustainable population; and (4) the 
exportation and importation of the trophy is consistent with 
the provisions of the Convention on the International Trade in 
Endangered Species. The Secretary of the Interior was also 
authorized to charge a permit fee of up to $1,000 for each 
trophy import application. The collected permitting fees were 
authorized to be directed into a fund for the conservation of 
polar bears in the United States and Russia.
    Since 1994, Canada and FWS have successfully worked 
together to ensure that imported polar bear trophies have come 
from hunts conducted in a sustainable manner. Canada has 
management authority over 13 of the 19 worldwide polar bear 
populations. The governments in Canada that manage polar bear 
hunts issue hunting quotas or ``tags'' to its Native villages 
based on science-driven assessments. These villages can use a 
portion of the tags for sport hunts. Hunters can pay anywhere 
from $30,000 to $50,000 to the Native village for the sport 
hunt privilege. After reviewing Canada's management actions, 
FWS has created a list of approved polar bear populations in 
Canada. At the time of the listing, six out of the 13 Canadian 
polar bear populations were considered approved populations. 
This approved population list guided U.S. hunters to those 
populations that could sustain hunting. A hunter with a polar 
bear trophy from one of these approved populations had been 
able to import his or her trophy into the U.S. after paying the 
importation fee. According to FWS, between 1997 and 2008, 969 
trophies had been taken in Canada and imported into the U.S., 
raising $969,000 for the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Conservation 
Fund.
    On May 15, 2008, the Secretary of the Interior listed the 
world-wide polar bear population as threatened under the 
Endangered Species Act. Threatened and endangered marine 
mammals are considered depleted species under the MMPA and the 
Act bans the importation of depleted species. At the time of 
the polar bear threatened listing, there were roughly 41 
hunters, with legally hunted polar bear trophies, in the 
permitting process. Under existing laws, these hunters have no 
way to import the legally taken trophies into the U.S. and the 
roughly $40,000 in permit fees cannot be collected for 
conservation activities for the shared U.S.-Russia polar bear 
population.
    H.R. 991 would amend section 104(c)(5)(D) of the MMPA to 
allow the Secretary of the Interior to issue permits to those 
eligible hunters with legally taken polar bear trophies from 
approved populations prior to the May 15, 2008, ESA listing. As 
a result of this legislation, approximately $40,000 would be 
available for the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Conservation Fund to 
support conservation activities for the shared U.S.-Russia 
polar bear population.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 991 was introduced on March 9, 2011, by Congressman 
Don Young (R-AK). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs. On May 12, 
2011, the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On October 
5, 2011, the Full Natural Resources Committee met to consider 
the bill. The Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and 
Insular Affairs was discharged by unanimous consent. 
Congressman Don Young (R-AK) offered amendment designated .001. 
Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) offered an amendment to the 
Young amendment; the amendment was ruled non-germane. The 
amendment offered by Mr. Young was adopted by voice vote. The 
bill, as amended, was then ordered favorably reported to the 
House of Representatives by voice vote.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    Compliance With House Rule XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 991--Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act of 2011

    H.R. 991 would require the Secretary of the Interior to 
issue permits to hunters seeking to import polar bear remains 
from Canada that were acquired during hunts that took place 
prior to the polar bear being listed as a threatened species 
under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Thus, only hunters who 
submitted applications for permits to import such remains prior 
to May 15, 2008, the date the polar bear was listed under ESA, 
would be eligible to receive a permit under the bill.
    Based on information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, CBO estimates that processing and issuing the roughly 
40 permits that would be affected by the legislation would have 
a negligible impact on the federal budget. Enacting H.R. 991 
would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-
as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 991 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 Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, spending authority, credit authority, or an increase 
or decrease in revenues or tax expenditures. Based on 
information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, CBO 
estimates that processing and issuing the roughly 40 permits 
that would be affected by the legislation would have a 
negligible impact on the federal budget.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill, as ordered reported, is to amend the 
Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to allow importation of 
polar bear trophies taken in sport hunts in Canada before the 
date the polar bear was determined to be a threatened species 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

                           Earmark Statement

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, 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 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT OF 1972

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



TITLE I--CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION OF MARINE MAMMALS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



                                PERMITS

  Sec. 104. (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c)(1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (5)(A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(D) The Secretary of the Interior shall, expeditiously after 
the expiration of the applicable 30 day period under subsection 
(d)(2), issue a permit for the importation of polar bear parts 
(other than internal organs) from polar bears taken in sport 
hunts in Canada before the date of enactment of the Marine 
Mammal Protection Act Amendments of 1994, to each applicant who 
submits, with the permit application, proof that the polar bear 
was legally harvested in Canada by the applicant. The Secretary 
shall issue such permits without regard to the provisions of 
subparagraphs (A) and (C)(ii) of this paragraph, subsection 
(d)(3) of this section, and sections 101 and 102. This 
subparagraph shall not apply to polar bear parts that were 
imported before the effective date of this subparagraph.]
  (D)(i) The Secretary of the Interior shall, expeditiously 
after the expiration of the applicable 30-day period under 
subsection (d)(2), issue a permit for the importation of any 
polar bear part (other than an internal organ) from a polar 
bear taken in a sport hunt in Canada to any person--
          (I) who submits, with the permit application, proof 
        that the polar bear was legally harvested by the person 
        before February 18, 1997; or
          (II) who has submitted, in support of a permit 
        application submitted before May 15, 2008, proof that 
        the polar bear was legally harvested by the person 
        before May 15, 2008, from a polar bear population from 
        which a sport-hunted trophy could be imported before 
        that date in accordance with section 18.30(i) of title 
        50, Code of Federal Regulations.
  (ii) The Secretary shall issue permits under clause (i)(I) 
without regard to subparagraphs (A) and (C)(ii) of this 
paragraph, subsection (d)(3), and sections 101 and 102. 
Sections 101(a)(3)(B) and 102(b)(3) shall not apply to the 
importation of any polar bear part authorized by a permit 
issued under clause (i)(I). This clause shall not apply to 
polar bear parts that were imported before June 12, 1997.
  (iii) The Secretary shall issue permits under clause (i)(II) 
without regard to subparagraph (C)(ii) of this paragraph or 
subsection (d)(3). Sections 101(a)(3)(B) and 102(b)(3) shall 
not apply to the importation of any polar bear part authorized 
by a permit issued under clause (i)(II). This clause shall not 
apply to polar bear parts that were imported before the date of 
enactment of the Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act of 
2011.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *