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                                                     Calendar No. 660

114th Congress   }                                       {   REPORT
                                SENATE                          
2d Session       }                                       {   114-369
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       

                       DIGITAL COAST ACT OF 2015

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 2325
                                
                                








                October 27, 2016.--Ordered to be printed
Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of September 29, 2016



                                 _________ 
                                
                    U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE
 69-010                     WASHINGTON : 2016       






       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                    one hundred fourteenth congress
                             second session

                   JOHN THUNE, South Dakota, Chairman
 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi         BILL NELSON, Florida
 ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
 MARCO RUBIO, Florida                 CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
 KELLY AYOTTE, New Hampshire          AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
 TED CRUZ, Texas                      RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
 DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
 JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  ED MARKEY, Massachusetts
 DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 CORY BOOKER, New Jersey
 RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               TOM UDALL, New Mexico
 DEAN HELLER, Nevada                  JOE MANCHIN, West Virginia
 CORY GARDNER, Colorado               GARY PETERS, Michigan
 STEVE DAINES, Montana
                       Nick Rossi, Staff Director
                 Adrian Arnakis, Deputy Staff Director
                    Jason Van Beek, General Counsel
                 Kim Lipsky, Democratic Staff Director
           Christopher Day, Democratic Deputy Staff Director
                 Clint Odom, Democratic General Counsel






                                                       Calendar No. 660
                                                       
114th Congress    }                                         {    Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session       }                                         {   114-369

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



 
                       DIGITAL COAST ACT OF 2015

                                _______
                                

                October 27, 2016.--Ordered to be printed

Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of September 29, 2016

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2325]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 2325) to require the Secretary 
of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to establish a 
constituent-driven program to provide a digital information 
platform capable of efficiently integrating coastal data with 
decision-support tools, training, and best practices and to 
support collection of priority coastal geospatial data to 
inform and improve local, State, regional, and Federal 
capacities to manage the coastal region, 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. 2325 is to require the Secretary of 
Commerce, acting through the Administrator of the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to establish a 
constituent-driven program to provide a digital information 
platform capable of efficiently integrating coastal data with 
decision-support tools, training, and best practices to support 
collection of priority coastal geospatial data to inform local, 
State, regional, and Federal capacities to manage the coastal 
region, and for other purposes.

                          Background and Needs

    Thirty-nine percent of the population lives in shoreline-
adjacent counties. These coastal cities account for $7.6 
trillion or 46 percent of the total United States Gross 
Domestic Product.\1\ The size of the population residing in 
coastal communities is projected to continue rising, with an 
additional 12 million individuals anticipated to move to 
coastal communities in the next decade alone.\2\ Recent extreme 
weather has highlighted the particular vulnerability of these 
regions to the devastating effects of natural disasters. In 
order to ensure these communities remain safe and continue to 
prosper economically, planners in coastal regions need access 
to high-quality, accurate data.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 
``Coastal Economic Packet Guide 2016,'' 2016, at http://
www.ppi.noaa.gov/wp-content/uploads/Coastal-Economic-Packet-Guide-
2016.pdf.
    \2\Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Digital Coast Program (Program) helps coastal 
communities better prepare for storms, cope with varying water 
levels, and strengthen coastal economic development planning 
efforts. NOAA's Office for Coastal Management currently 
assembles and hosts the web-based Program, a collaborative 
online database of the most up-to-date coastal information 
available to both the public and private sectors. The Program 
provides tools for coastal communities to decipher and use 
high-tech mapping data to make accurate decisions and smart 
investments in coastal communities. Some tools the Program 
provides include a historical hurricane tracker, which allows 
users to search storms by name, latitude and longitude, or 
geographic region, as well as a sea level rise viewer, which 
allows users to examine how tidal flooding may impact a given 
region.
    The Committee intends that the program that would be 
established under this bill would support further development 
of the current Program, including increasing access to uniform, 
up-to-date data to help communities get the coastal data they 
need to respond to emergencies, plan for long-term coastal 
resilience, and manage their water resources. Additionally, the 
bill would provide for documentation, dissemination, and 
archiving of data, and require NOAA to focus on filling data 
needs and gaps and enter into financial agreements to support 
the Program.
    From its inception in fiscal year (FY) 2007 through the end 
of FY 2012, costs associated with the Program totaled $5.4 
million--$4.5 million from the NOAA Coastal Services Center and 
nearly $1 million from Program partners. Appropriations for the 
core Program were just over $1 million in FY 2010. Since then, 
costs have increased more modestly and are projected to remain 
constant at just over $1.4 million annually.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\NOAA Coastal Services Center. 2012. ``Benefits and Costs of the 
Digital Coast.'' Charleston, SC: NOAA Coastal Services Center, accessed 
April 18, 2016, at https://coast.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/_/pdf/
Benefits_and_Costs_of_the_Digital_Coast.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Program has a wide-range of Federal, State, and county, 
as well as non-governmental, private, and academic partners, 
such as the American Planning Association, Ayres Associates, 
Association of State Floodplain Managers, Coastal States 
Organization, Continental Mapping Consultants, Inc., The 
National Association of Counties, The Nature Conservancy, 
Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors 
(MAPPS), National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), 
National States Geographic Information Council, 1000 Friends of 
Wisconsin, and Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department.

                         Summary of Provisions

    If enacted, S. 2325 would do the following:
     Ensure that the Program provides data integration, 
tool development, training, documentation, and archiving via 
the Internet website.
     Ensure that activities carried out under the 
Program are coordinated with coastal managers and decision 
makers from coastal States and local governments, and 
representatives of academia, the private sector, and non-
governmental agencies, and that Federal agencies are consulted.
     Maximize the use of remote sensing and other 
geospatial data collection activities.
     Allow the Secretary of Commerce to enter into 
financial agreements to carry out the Program.
     Direct the Secretary of Commerce to develop a best 
practices document for carrying out the Program that can be 
given to other Federal agencies such as United States 
Geological Survey and the United States Army Corps of 
Engineers, among others.
     Allow the Secretary of Commerce to establish 
publicly available tools that track ocean and Great Lakes 
economy data for each coastal State.

                          Legislative History

    S. 2325 was introduced by Senator Baldwin on November 19, 
2015. Senators Murkowski, Sullivan, and Booker are cosponsors. 
An identical bill (H.R. 4738) was introduced in the House of 
Representatives by Representatives Ruppersberger and Young on 
March 14, 2016. Similar legislation has been introduced in the 
113th Congress (S. 2890, H.R. 1382), 112th Congress (H.R. 
6475), and 111th Congress (H.R. 6215).
    On April 27, 2016, the Committee met in open Executive 
Session and, by a voice vote, ordered S. 2325 to be reported 
favorably with an amendment in the nature of a substitute. 
Amendments were offered by Senators Thune and Markey--both were 
accepted. The amendment offered by Senator Thune would require 
the Secretary of Commerce to develop a best practices document 
to be shared with other Federal agencies.
    The amendment offered by Senator Markey would require the 
Secretary of Commerce to establish a publicly available tool to 
track ocean and Great Lakes economy data for each coastal 
State.

                            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:

S. 2325--Digital Coast Act of 2015

    S. 2325 would authorize the appropriation of such sums as 
may be necessary through 2020 to continue the Digital Coast 
program. Under that program, the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) makes geospatial data, 
decision-support tools, and best practices available on a 
public website.
    In 2015, NOAA allocated appropriated funds totaling $4 
million to carry out the Digital Coast program. On that basis, 
CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $16 million 
over the 2017-2021 period, assuming appropriation of the 
estimated amounts.
    Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO 
estimates that enacting S. 2325 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    S. 2325 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would benefit state, local, and tribal governments by 
authorizing federal financial and technical assistance for 
coastal communities. Any costs incurred by those entities, 
including matching contributions, would result from 
participation in a voluntary federal program.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                           Regulatory Impact

    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

    S. 2325, as reported, does not create any new programs or 
impose any new regulatory requirements, and therefore would not 
subject any individuals or businesses to new regulations.

                            economic impact

    The legislation is not expected to have a negative impact 
on the Nation's economy.

                                privacy

    The reported bill is not expected to impact the personal 
privacy of individuals.

                               paperwork

    S. 2325 would require the Secretary of Commerce to develop 
a best practices document that sets out the best practices used 
in carrying out the Program and provide such document to the 
United States Geological Survey, the United States Army Corps 
of Engineers, and other relevant Federal agencies.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title.

    This section would provide the short title of the bill, 
``Digital Coast Act of 2015.''

Section 2. Findings.

    This section would list findings regarding the Digital 
Coast and data on coastal population size, density, and the 
number of coastal construction permits in the United States.

Section 3. Definitions.

    This section would define ``coastal region,'' ``Federal 
geographic data committee,'' ``remote sensing and other 
geospatial,'' and ``Secretary.'' It also would define ``coastal 
State'' as it is defined in section 304 of the Coastal Zone 
Managment Act of 1992 (16 U.S.C. 1453) which means a State of 
the United States in, or bordering on, the Atlantic, Pacific, 
or Arctic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, Long Island Sound, or one 
or more of the Great Lakes, and includes certain territories.

Section 4. Establishment of the Digital Coast.

    This section would establish and designate a constituent-
driven program. It also would provide program requirements and 
designate the Secretary of Commerce to coordinate the 
activities carried out under the program. This section would 
require the Secretary of Commerce to fill certain needs and 
gaps, and would allow the Secretary of Commerce to enter into 
financial agreements to carry out the program. It also would 
direct the Secretary of Commerce to develop and maintain a best 
practices document that would provide guidance to other Federal 
agencies interested in establishing a similar program or 
contributing data to the program. The Committee believes that 
inland areas would benefit if the applicable Federal agencies 
made certain data, such as flood plain maps, more accessible 
and that the lessons learned under the program could provide 
valuable insight.
    This section also would allow the Secretary of Commerce to 
establish publicly available tools that track ocean and Great 
Lakes economy data for each coastal State. This section would 
authorize to be appropriated to the Secretary of Commerce such 
sums as may be necessary to carry out the program in each of 
FYs 2016 through 2020.

                        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.