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115th Congress     }                                 {         Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session       }                                 {         115-289
======================================================================



 
        ENDANGERED SALMON AND FISHERIES PREDATION PREVENTION ACT

                                _______
                                

 September 5, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 2083]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 2083) to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act 
of 1972 to reduce predation on endangered Columbia River salmon 
and other nonlisted species, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment 
and recommend that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 2083 is to amend the Marine Mammal 
Protection Act of 1972 to reduce predation on endangered 
Columbia River salmon and other nonlisted species.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), the Lower Columbia River is home to 
multiple species of salmon listed under the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973 (ESA, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), including the Lower 
Columbia River chinook, steelhead, coho, and chum salmon. A 
2013 ESA recovery plan for these species released by NOAA cited 
marine mammal predation, specifically by California sea lions, 
as a significant factor in the initial species listings and a 
hurdle to their recovery. Further, testimony submitted by a 
NOAA official to the Committee on Natural Resources during the 
114th Congress stated that the agency is ``very concerned about 
the impact robust populations of pinnipeds in the Columbia 
River and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest are having on ESA-
listed salmon and steelhead stocks.''\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Submitted testimony of Mr. Barry Thom, NMFS Deputy West Coast 
Regional Administrator, to the House Committee on Natural Resources, 
114th Cong, Legislative Hearing on H.R. 564, July 23, 2015.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The NOAA official further testified that ``from 2002-2015, 
California sea lions consumed an estimated 46,000 salmonids 
within a quarter mile of the Bonneville Dam.'' Written 
testimony submitted by the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish 
Commission (CRITFC) in the 115th Congress states that sea lion 
consumption has dramatically increased since 2015. According to 
CRITFC Chairman Leland Bill, sea lions killed over 8,900 salmon 
in the same area in 2016 alone.
    The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA, Public Law 
92-522), prohibits, with certain exceptions, the lethal taking 
of any marine mammal in United States waters and by United 
States citizens on the high seas. NOAA, the agency that 
implements and enforces MMPA as well as ESA-listed salmon and 
steelhead species, defines a ``marine mammal'' as any species 
of dolphin, porpoises, whales, seals, and sea lions.
    Under current law, section 120 of MMPA allows States to 
apply to the Secretary of Commerce for intentional lethal 
taking of specific ``individually identifiable'' predator seals 
and sea lions that are having a significant negative impact on 
ESA-listed salmon stocks. NOAA authorized the States of Oregon, 
Washington and Idaho to permanently remove sea lions in 2008. 
This authority was reauthorized by NOAA in 2016. The Oregon 
Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that 166 sea lions 
have been taken under this authority. However, some including 
the States and Columbia River tribes believe that the current 
federal application process needs to be updated.
    The history of seemingly endless litigation challenges by 
certain groups surrounding issuance of these permits and the 
permit requirement are some reasons cited for the introduction 
of H.R. 2083. Mr. Guy Norman, Regional Director of the 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, indicated in his 
testimony submitted to the Committee on Natural Resources in 
2013, ``[T]he conditions associated with the current 
requirements of Section 120 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act 
(MMPA) are challenging and expensive to implement, limited in 
scope, and legal challenges have slowed the progress in 
reducing impacts to salmon.''\2\ In addition, tribal requests 
to be eligible entities under Section 120 of the MMPA are 
further reasons for the bill.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Submitted testimony of Mr. Guy Norman, Regional Director--
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, to the House Committee on 
Natural Resources, 113th Cong. Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1308. June 
13, 2013.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 2083 would clarify the authority and streamline the 
process afforded to the Secretary under Section 120 of the MMPA 
to allow for lethal taking of sea lion populations that are 
decimating ESA-listed salmon, steelhead and other non-listed 
species, such as white sturgeon, in the Lower Columbia River. 
The goal of this bipartisan legislation is to provide ESA-
listed salmon in the Lower Columbia River a habitat where they 
can recover while controlling the stocks of sea lions on a 
limited basis. In CRITFC Chairman Leland Bill's written 
testimony to the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans he 
states, ``H.R. 2083 is informed by evaluations from fisheries 
and marine mammal experts and will allow us to employ a 
management regimen that is appropriate for the Columbia River 
taking into consideration the years of data, observation and 
resources available.''\3\ CRITFC members have further testified 
that ``the real challenge has been NOAA's ability to shepherd 
any decision through the NEPA process and to withstand 
relentless legal challenges by well-funded special interest 
groups.''\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Submitted testimony of the Honorable Leland Bill, Chairman of 
the Columbia River Tribal Fish Commission, to the House Committee on 
Natural Resources, 115th Cong. Legislative Hearing on H.R. 2083, June 
8, 2017.
    \4\Submitted testimony of the Honorable Leotis McCormack, 
Commissioner of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, to the 
House Committee on Natural Resources, 114th Cong. Leg., Legislative 
Hearing on H.R. 564, July 23, 2015.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1 of H.R. 2083 designates the short title of the 
bill as the ``Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation 
Prevention Act''.
    Section 2 of the bill outlines several congressional 
findings specific to predation impacts on ESA-listed species in 
the Columbia River.
    Section 3 of the bill states that preventing predation of 
salmonid stocks in the Columbia River by lethal and nonlethal 
means is a vital priority of Congress.
    Section 4 of H.R. 2083 amends Section 120 of the MMPA (16 
U.S.C. 1389) to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to issue 
permits to eligible entities authorizing the intentional lethal 
take of sea lions on the waters of the Columbia River and its 
tributaries as long as the sea lions are part of a non-listed 
ESA population. This section defines ``eligible entities'' as 
the States of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, as well as the Nez 
Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian 
Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs 
Reservation of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the 
Yakama Nation, the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, 
and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe.
    Each permit issued is active for one year from the date of 
issuance and authorizes the taking of up to 100 sea lions. 
Permits may be renewed for an additional year at the discretion 
of the Secretary. This section also sets an annual cumulative 
limit for lethal takings of sea lions to 10 percent of the 
annual potential biological removal level.
    This section also directs the Secretary to approve or deny 
an application for a permit not later than 30 days after 
receiving the application. Further, this section states that 
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 does not apply 
with respect to the issuance of any permit under the authority 
of the bill during the five-year period beginning on the date 
of the enactment. Permitting can expire five years after 
enactment if the Secretary determines that lethal removal 
authority is no longer necessary to protect salmonid and other 
fish species from sea lion predation.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 2083 was introduced on April 8, 2017, by Congresswoman 
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans. On June 8, 2017, the 
Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On July 25, 2017, the 
Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The 
Subcommittee was discharged by unanimous consent. Congressman 
Jared Huffman (D-CA) offered an amendment designated 003; it 
was not agreed to by a bipartisan roll call vote of 14 ayes and 
20 noes, as follows:
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]

    No additional amendments were offered, and on July 26, 
2017, the bill was ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by a bipartisan roll call vote of 21 ayes and 
14 noes, as follows:
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]

            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 and Congressional Budget Act

    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 10, 2017.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2083, the 
Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Robert Reese.
            Sincerely,
                                             Mark P. Hadley
                                        (For Keith Hall, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2083--Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act

    H.R. 2083 would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 
1972 to authorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA) to issue permits that would allow states 
and tribal entities in the Northwest United States to kill sea 
lions in the Columbia River and its tributaries under certain 
circumstances. Each permit would allow up to 100 sea lions a 
year to be removed from populations that threaten species of 
salmon and other fish listed as endangered or threatened under 
the Endangered Species Act. Under the bill, individuals granted 
permits to kill sea lions would need to be trained in wildlife 
management.
    Under current law, NOAA has the authority to issue permits 
to kill certain marine mammals that threaten other species. 
Based on information from the agency, CBO estimates that giving 
NOAA the authority to issue such permits would have a 
negligible effect on the federal budget. Enacting H.R. 2083 
would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-
as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting that legislation would not 
increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of 
the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 2083 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments. 
The bill would authorize the states of Washington, Oregon, and 
Idaho, along with several tribal governments, to use lethal 
force against sea lion predators that threaten important 
Northwest fish resources.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Robert Reese 
(for federal costs) and Jon Sperl (for intergovernmental 
mandates). The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill, is to amend the Marine Mammal 
Protection Act of 1972 to reduce predation on endangered 
Columbia River salmon and other nonlisted species.

                           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.

                       Compliance With H. Res. 5

    Directed Rule Making. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                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, and 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

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 120. PACIFIC COAST TASK FORCE; GULF OF MAINE.

  (a) Pinniped Removal Authority.--Notwithstanding any other 
provision of this title, the Secretary may permit the 
intentional lethal taking of pinnipeds in accordance with this 
section.
  (b) Application.--(1) A State may apply to the Secretary to 
authorize the intentional lethal taking of individually 
identifiable pinnipeds which are having a significant negative 
impact on the decline or recovery of salmonid fishery stocks 
which--
          (A) have been listed as threatened species or 
        endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 
        1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.);
          (B) the Secretary finds are approaching threatened 
        species or endangered species status (as those terms 
        are defined in that Act); or
          te through the Ballard Locks at Seattle, Washington.
  (2) Any such application shall include a means of identifying 
the individual pinniped or pinnipeds, and shall include a 
detailed description of the problem interaction and expected 
benefits of the taking.
  (c) Actions in Response to Application.--(1) Within 15 days 
of receiving an application, the Secretary shall determine 
whether the application has produced sufficient evidence to 
warrant establishing a Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Task Force 
to address the situation described in the application. If the 
Secretary determines sufficient evidence has been provided, the 
Secretary shall establish a Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Task 
Force and publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting 
public comment on the application.
  (2) A Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Task Force established 
under paragraph (1) shall consist of designated employees of 
the Department of Commerce, scientists who are knowledgeable 
about the pinniped interaction that the application addresses, 
representatives of affected conservation and fishing community 
organizations, Indian Treaty tribes, the States, and such other 
organizations as the Secretary deems appropriate.
  (3) Within 60 days after establishment, and after reviewing 
public comments in response to the Federal Register notice 
under paragraph (1), the Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Task 
Force shall--
          (A) recommend to the Secretary whether to approve or 
        deny the proposed intentional lethal taking of the 
        pinniped or pinnipeds, including along with the 
        recommendation a description of the specific pinniped 
        individual or individuals, the proposed location, time, 
        and method of such taking, criteria for evaluating the 
        success of the action, and the duration of the 
        intentional lethal taking authority; and
          (B) suggest nonlethal alternatives, if available and 
        practicable, including a recommended course of action.
  (4) Within 30 days after receipt of recommendations from the 
Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Task Force, the Secretary shall 
either approve or deny the application. If such application is 
approved, the Secretary shall immediately take steps to 
implement the intentional lethal taking, which shall be 
performed by Federal or State agencies, or qualified 
individuals under contract to such agencies.
  (5) After implementation of an approved application, the 
Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Task Force shall evaluate the 
effectiveness of the permitted intentional lethal taking or 
alternative actions implemented. If implementation was 
ineffective in eliminating the problem interaction, the Task 
Force shall recommend additional actions. If the implementation 
was effective, the Task Force shall so advise the Secretary, 
and the Secretary shall disband the Task Force.
  (d) Considerations.--In considering whether an application 
should be approved or denied, the Pinniped-Fishery Interaction 
Task Force and the Secretary shall consider--
          (1) population trends, feeding habits, the location 
        of the pinniped interaction, how and when the 
        interaction occurs, and how many individual pinnipeds 
        are involved;
          (2) past efforts to nonlethally deter such pinnipeds, 
        and whether the applicant has demonstrated that no 
        feasible and prudent alternatives exist and that the 
        applicant has taken all reasonable nonlethal steps 
        without success;
          (3) the extent to which such pinnipeds are causing 
        undue injury or impact to, or imbalance with, other 
        species in the ecosystem, including fish populations; 
        and
          (4) the extent to which such pinnipeds are exhibiting 
        behavior that presents an ongoing threat to public 
        safety.
  (e) Limitation.--The Secretary shall not approve the 
intentional lethal taking of any pinniped from a species or 
stock that is--
          (1) listed as a threatened species or endangered 
        species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 
        U.S.C. 1531 et seq.);
          (2) depleted under this Act; or
          (3) a strategic stock.
  [(f) California Sea Lions and Pacific Harbor Seals; 
Investigation and Report.--
          [(1) The Secretary shall engage in a scientific 
        investigation to determine whether California sea lions 
        and Pacific harbor seals--
                  [(A) are having a significant negative impact 
                on the recovery of salmonid fishery stocks 
                which have been listed as endangered species or 
                threatened species under the Endangered Species 
                Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), or which 
                the Secretary finds are approaching such 
                endangered species or threatened species 
                status; or
                  [(B) are having broader impacts on the 
                coastal ecosystems of Washington, Oregon, and 
                California.
        The Secretary shall conclude this investigation and 
        prepare a report on its results no later than October 
        1, 1995.
          [(2) Upon completion of the scientific investigation 
        required under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall enter 
        into discussions with the Pacific States Marine 
        Fisheries Commission, on behalf of the States of 
        Washington, Oregon, and California, for the purpose of 
        addressing any issues or problems identified as a 
        result of the scientific investigation, and to develop 
        recommendations to address such issues or problems. Any 
        recommendations resulting from such discussions shall 
        be submitted, along with the report, to the Committee 
        on Merchant Marine and Fisheries of the House of 
        Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
        and Transportation of the Senate.
          [(3) The Secretary shall make the report and the 
        recommendations submitted under paragraph (2) available 
        to the public for review and comment for a period of 90 
        days.
          [(4) There are authorized to be appropriated to the 
        Secretary such sums as are necessary to carry out the 
        provisions of this subsection.
          [(5) The amounts appropriated under section 308(c) of 
        the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act of 1986 (16 
        U.S.C. 4107(c)) and allocated to the Pacific States 
        Marine Fisheries Commission may be used by the 
        Commission to participate in discussions with the 
        Secretary under paragraph (2).]
  (f) Temporary Marine Mammal Removal Authority on the Waters 
of the Columbia River or Its Tributaries.--
          (1) Removal authority.--Notwithstanding any other 
        provision of this Act, the Secretary may issue a permit 
        to an eligible entity to authorize the intentional 
        lethal taking on the waters of the Columbia River and 
        its tributaries of individually identifiable sea lions 
        that are part of a population that is not categorized 
        under this Act as depleted for the purpose of 
        protecting species of salmon that are listed as 
        endangered species or threatened species under the 
        Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) 
        and other nonlisted fish species.
          (2) Permit process.--
                  (A) In general.--An eligible entity may apply 
                to the Secretary for a permit under this 
                subsection.
                  (B) Deadline for consideration of 
                application.--The Secretary shall approve or 
                deny an application for a permit under this 
                subsection by not later than 30 days after 
                receiving the application.
                  (C) Duration of permit.--A permit under this 
                subsection shall be effective for no more than 
                one year after the date it is issued, but may 
                be renewed by the Secretary.
          (3) Limitations.--
                  (A) Limitation on permit authority.--Subject 
                to subparagraph (B), a permit issued under this 
                subsection shall not authorize the lethal 
                taking of more than 100 sea lions during the 
                duration of the permit.
                  (B) Limitation on annual takings.--The 
                cumulative number of sea lions authorized to be 
                taken each year under all permits in effect 
                under this subsection shall not exceed 10 
                percent of the annual potential biological 
                removal level.
          (4) Training in natural resources management.--Permit 
        holders exercising lethal removal authority pursuant to 
        this Act shall be trained in natural resource 
        management.
          (5) Delegation of permit authority.--Any eligible 
        entity may delegate to any other eligible entity the 
        authority to administer its permit authority under this 
        subsection.
          (6) NEPA.--Section 102(2)(C) of the National 
        Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)) 
        shall not apply with respect to this subsection and the 
        issuance of any permit under this subsection during the 
        5-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of 
        this subsection.
          (7) Suspension of permitting authority.--If, 5 years 
        after the date of the enactment of this subsection, the 
        Secretary, after consulting with State and tribal 
        fishery managers, determines that lethal removal 
        authority is no longer necessary to protect salmonid 
        and other fish species from sea lion predation, the 
        Secretary may suspend the issuance of permits under 
        this subsection.
          (8) Eligible entity defined.--In this subsection, the 
        term ``eligible entity'' means each of the State of 
        Washington, the State of Oregon, the State of Idaho, 
        the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the 
        Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of 
        the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the 
        Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the 
        Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, and the 
        Cowlitz Indian Tribe.
          (9) Individual pinniped exception.--For purposes of 
        this section, any pinniped located upstream of river 
        mile 112 of the Columbia River and all tributaries that 
        include spawning habitat of threatened or endangered 
        salmon or steelhead is deemed to be individually 
        identifiable.
  (g) Regionwide Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Study.--
          (1) The Secretary may conduct a study, of not less 
        than three high predation areas in anadromous fish 
        migration corridors within the Northwest Region of the 
        National Marine Fisheries Service, on the interaction 
        between fish and pinnipeds. In conducting the study, 
        the Secretary shall consult with other State and 
        Federal agencies with expertise in pinniped-fishery 
        interaction. The study shall evaluate--
                  (A) fish behavior in the presence of 
                predators generally;
                  (B) holding times and passage rates of 
                anadromous fish stocks in areas where such fish 
                are vulnerable to predation;
                  (C) whether additional facilities exist, or 
                could be reasonably developed, that could 
                improve escapement for anadromous fish; and
                  (D) other issues the Secretary considers 
                relevant.
          (2) Subject to the availability of appropriations, 
        the Secretary may, not later than 18 months after the 
        commencement of the study under this subsection, 
        transmit a report on the results of the study to the 
        Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of 
        the Senate and the Committee on Merchant Marine and 
        Fisheries of the House of Representatives.
          (3) The study conducted under this subsection may not 
        be used by the Secretary as a reason for delaying or 
        deferring a determination or consideration under 
        subsection (c) or (d).
  (h) Gulf of Maine Task Force.--The Secretary shall establish 
a Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Task Force to advise the 
Secretary on issues or problems regarding pinnipeds interacting 
in a dangerous or damaging manner with aquaculture resources in 
the Gulf of Maine. No later than 2 years from the date of 
enactment of this section, the Secretary shall after notice and 
opportunity for public comment submit to the Committee on 
Merchant Marine and Fisheries of the House of Representatives 
and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of 
the Senate a report containing recommended available 
alternatives to mitigate such interactions.
  (i) Requirements Applicable to Task Forces.--(1) Any task 
force established under this section--
          (A) shall to the maximum extent practicable, consist 
        of an equitable balance among representatives of 
        resource user interests and nonuser interests; and
          (B) shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory 
        Committee Act (5 App. U.S.C.).
  (2) Meetings of any task force established under this section 
shall be open to the public, and prior notice of those meetings 
shall be given to the public by the task force in a timely 
fashion.
  (j) Gulf of Maine Harbor Porpoise.--(1) Nothing in section 
117 shall prevent the Secretary from publishing a stock 
assessment for Gulf of Maine harbor porpoise in an expedited 
fashion.
  (2) In developing and implementing a take reduction plan 
under section 118 for Gulf of Maine harbor porpoise, the 
Secretary shall consider all actions already taken to reduce 
incidental mortality and serious injury of such stock, and may, 
based on the recommendations of the take reduction team for 
such stock, modify the time period required for compliance with 
section 118(f)(5)(A), but in no case may such modification 
extend the date of compliance beyond April 1, 1997.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    H.R. 2083, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation 
Prevention Act, would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act 
(MMPA) to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to issue annual 
permits to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, six tribal groups (Nez 
Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs, Yakama, Cowlitz and the Columbia 
River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission) to kill California sea 
lions. The bill's stated intent is to reduce the effect of 
predation by sea lions on salmon and steelhead listed under the 
Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as any non-listed fish, 
including non-native species.
    H.R. 2083 targets the threat that fish face from predation 
by marine mammals, specifically California sea lions, but does 
not address far more significant factors impacting endangered 
salmonids and non-listed fish. Dams--particularly deadbeat dams 
like the four on the lower Snake River that no longer provide 
any great benefit to society--are the main factor. Habitat 
loss, fishing pressure, interactions with hatchery fish, 
climate change, pesticides, and predation by fish and wildlife 
other than sea lions also impact salmonid runs. In reality, sea 
lion predation represents a very small proportion of total 
salmon mortality, and the current lethal take authorization 
permitted under the MMPA is sufficient.
    Under H.R. 2083, as many as 920 California sea lions could 
be killed each year--10 times as many as are currently allowed 
to be killed. Take would not be limited to ``bottlenecks'' such 
as the area immediately below the Bonneville Dam or around 
Willamette Falls, as it is now. We agree that these manmade 
barriers to fish passage create conditions that make salmon and 
steelhead easy prey for sea lions but strongly disagree that 
granting expanded authority to kill nearly 1,000 sea lions 
anywhere in the river would address this problem.
    H.R. 2083 also waives Section 102(2)(c) of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which would eliminate the 
requirement that the Secretary consider the environmental 
impacts associated with the permit and alternatives to the 
permitted action. This NEPA waiver is unacceptable and would 
shut out the public from reviewing and commenting on proposed 
permits.
    For the second congress in a row, Water, Power, and Oceans 
Subcommittee Ranking Member Huffman offered an amendment to 
place reasonable limits on the authority contained in the bill, 
and Republicans defeated the amendment. If enacted, H.R. 2083 
would not address the real threats faced by endangered salmon 
and non-listed species, but would needlessly target sea lions, 
which are a native and critical part of the Columbia River 
ecosystem. For these reasons, we oppose H.R. 2083 as reported.

                                   Raul M. Grijalva,
                                           Ranking Member, Committee on 
                                               Natural Resources.
                                   A. Donald McEachin.
                                   Nanette Diaz Barragan.
                                   Darren Soto.
                                   Jared Huffman.
                                   Grace F. Napolitano.
                                   Colleen Hanabusa.

                                  [all]