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S 862

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 862

To provide for a comprehensive Gulf of Mexico restoration plan, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 14, 2011

Mr. NELSON of Florida introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works


A BILL

To provide for a comprehensive Gulf of Mexico restoration plan, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Comprehensive Gulf of Mexico Recovery, Restoration, and Resiliency Act'.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:

      (1) Citizens' ADVISORY COMMITTEE- The term `Citizens' Advisory Committee' means the Gulf of Mexico Regional Citizens' Advisory Committee established by section 8(a).

      (2) CLEAN ENERGY PRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT- The term `clean energy production and development' means any electricity generation, transmission, storage, heating, cooling, industrial process, or manufacturing project the primary purpose of which is the deployment, development, or production of an energy system or technology that avoids, reduces, or sequesters air pollutants or anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

      (3) COUNCIL- The term `Council' means the Gulf of Mexico Recovery Council established by section 3(a).

      (4) ELIGIBLE ENTITY- The term `eligible entity' means an organization that--

        (A) is a consortium of 1 or more public and private institutions of higher education in a Gulf State;

        (B) is formally established by a board of higher education in a Gulf State for the purpose of collaborating on marine science research;

        (C) carries out 1 or more operations that are physically located in the Gulf coast; and

        (D) demonstrates experience arising from--

          (i) the conduct of the types of activities described in section 6; and

          (ii) the ability to carry out each requirement described in subsections (c), (d), and (e) of section 6.

      (5) FEDERAL AGENCY- The term `Federal agency' has the meaning given the term in section 1004 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C. 6903).

      (6) FISHERY ENDOWMENT- The term `Fishery Endowment' means the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Endowment established under section 7(a).

      (7) FUND- The term `Fund' means the Gulf of Mexico Recovery Fund established by section 4(a).

      (8) GULF- The term `Gulf' means the submerged land of the outer Continental Shelf, and the areas of the exclusive economic zone of the United States, within the Gulf of Mexico, including associated coastal watersheds, estuaries, beaches, and wetlands.

      (9) GULF COAST- The term `Gulf coast' means--

        (A) each coastal zone (as determined pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.)) of each Gulf State (including water adjacent to the Gulf State); and

        (B) submerged land of the outer Continental Shelf located in the Gulf of Mexico.

      (10) GULF OIL SPILL- The term `Gulf oil spill' means the discharge of oil and the use of oil dispersants that began in 2010 in connection with the blowout and explosion of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon that occurred on April 20, 2010, and resulting hydrocarbon releases into the environment.

      (11) GULF STATE- The term `Gulf State' means any of the States of--

        (A) Alabama;

        (B) Florida;

        (C) Louisiana;

        (D) Mississippi; and

        (E) Texas.

      (12) INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION- The term `institution of higher education' has the meaning given the term in section 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1002).

      (13) LOCAL POLITICAL SUBDIVISION- The term `local political subdivision' means any city, county, township, town, borough, parish, village, or other general purpose political subdivision of a State.

      (14) NATURAL RESOURCE TRUSTEE- The term `natural resource trustee' means each of the Federal and State trustees designated under title I of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (33 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.) with respect to natural resource damages relating to the Gulf oil spill.

      (15) OBSERVATION SYSTEM- The term `Observation System' means the Gulf of Mexico Observation System established under section 6(a).

      (16) PLAN- The term `Plan' means the Comprehensive Gulf of Mexico Recovery Plan developed under section 5(a).

      (17) STRATEGY- The term `Strategy' means the regional ecosystem restoration strategy developed by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force established by Executive Order 13554 (16 U.S.C. 1451 note; relating to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force).

SEC. 3. GULF OF MEXICO RECOVERY COUNCIL.

    (a) Establishment- There is established the Gulf of Mexico Recovery Council.

    (b) Membership- The Council shall be composed of each member of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force established by Executive Order 13554 (16 U.S.C. 1451 note; relating to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force).

    (c) Chairperson- The President shall select a Chairperson from among the members of the Council.

    (d) Duties- The Council, in coordination with the natural resource trustees, shall--

      (1) develop the Plan;

      (2) establish guidelines for the provision of, and provide, grants in accordance with subsection (e);

      (3) establish the Observation System;

      (4) establish the Fishery Endowment;

      (5) coordinate the sharing of scientific information and other research associated with Gulf coast economic development, ecosystem restoration, and public health rehabilitation;

      (6) form partnerships with Federal and State agencies, institutions of higher education, research consortia, private companies, and other relevant entities; and

      (7) submit to the appropriate committees of Congress an annual report under subsection (f).

    (e) Grants-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Using amounts made available for expenditure from the Fund for a fiscal year, the Council shall provide grants in accordance with this subsection.

      (2) GRANTS TO LOCAL POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS-

        (A) IN GENERAL- For each fiscal year, of the amounts made available for expenditure from the Fund, the Council shall use 45 percent of the amounts to provide grants to local political subdivisions.

        (B) REQUEST FOR GRANT PROPOSALS- Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, and every 180 days thereafter until such time as the percentage of amounts specified in subparagraph (A) for a fiscal year has been provided in the form of grants under this paragraph, the Council shall issue to each local political subdivision affected by the Gulf oil spill, as determined by the Council, a request for proposal for grants for activities relating to Gulf coast economic development, ecosystem restoration, and public health rehabilitation, including--

          (i) environmental restoration and remediation (including remediation in coastal and marine ecosystems);

          (ii) academic and applied research regarding the economy, environment, and public health of the local political subdivision;

          (iii) seafood marketing;

          (iv) tourism and tourism marketing;

          (v) coastal land acquisition;

          (vi) ecosystem resource planning;

          (vii) renewable and clean energy production and development, energy conservation, and related retrofitting projects;

          (viii) workforce development; and

          (ix) environmental education.

        (C) CONSISTENCY WITH REGIONAL ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION STRATEGY- The Council shall ensure that any funds made available under this paragraph shall be used for projects and activities that are consistent with the Strategy.

        (D) TIMING OF PROVISION OF GRANTS- The Council shall provide a grant under this paragraph not later than 120 days after the date on which the Council receives a proposal for the grant described in subparagraph (B).

      (3) GRANTS FROM COUNCIL FOR PLAN AND OBSERVATION SYSTEM-

        (A) IN GENERAL- For each fiscal year, of the amounts made available for expenditure from the Fund, the Council shall use 50 percent of the amounts to provide grants for use in--

          (i) funding projects, programs, or activities to meet the goals described in section 5(b); and

          (ii) carrying out section 6.

        (B) ELIGIBLE RECIPIENTS- The Council may provide a grant under this paragraph--

          (i) for a purpose described in subparagraph (A)(i), to--

            (I) a Federal or State agency;

            (II) an institution of higher education; or

            (III) a local political subdivision; and

          (ii) for the purpose described in subparagraph (A)(ii), to eligible entities selected by the Council under section 6(b)(2)(A).

        (C) CONDITION FOR RECEIPT OF GRANT- As a condition on the receipt of a grant under this paragraph, and eligible recipient described in subparagraph (B)(i) shall agree to coordinate with the Council to develop and modify proposed projects to address needs under, and achieve the goals of, the Plan.

      (4) METHOD OF ALLOCATION-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The Council shall allocate the amounts to be used within each Gulf State under this paragraph in accordance with subparagraph (B).

        (B) ALLOCATION-

          (i) PROPORTIONATE SHARE OF LENGTH OF GULF COAST SHORELINE- Of the amounts allocated to a Gulf State described in subparagraph (A) for each fiscal year, 60 percent shall be allocated based on the proportion that, as determined by the Council based on the most recently available data from, or accepted by, the Office of Coast Survey of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration--

            (I) the aggregate length of the Gulf coast shoreline of the Gulf State; bears to

            (II) the aggregate length of the Gulf coast shoreline of all Gulf States.

          (ii) PROPORTIONATE SHARE OF AGGREGATE POPULATION- Of the amounts allocated to a Gulf State described in subparagraph (A) for each fiscal year, 40 percent shall be allocated based on the proportion that, as determined by the Council based on data collected during the most recent decennial census--

            (I) the aggregate population of all counties located, in whole or in part, within the designated Gulf coast boundaries of the Gulf State; bears to

            (II) the aggregate population of all counties located, in whole or in part, within the designated Gulf coast boundaries in all Gulf States.

          (iii) ADJUSTMENT AUTHORITY- In carrying out this paragraph for a fiscal year, the Council may increase or decrease the percentages of funds provided under clauses (i) and (ii) for the fiscal year by not more than 5 percent, based on the severity of impacts of the Gulf oil spill on a particular Gulf State, as determined by the Council, on the condition that the total of the percentages under those clauses remains 100 percent after all such increases and decreases.

      (5) ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES- Not more than 5 percent of the amount of any grant provided under this subsection may be used for administrative expenses.

      (6) FISHERY ENDOWMENT- For each fiscal year, an amount equal to 5 percent of the amounts in the Fund shall be--

        (A) deposited by the Council in a subaccount in the Treasury; and

        (B) made available to the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Regional Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council for use in administering and implementing the Fishery Endowment.

    (f) Annual Reports- Not later than September 30, 2012, and annually thereafter, the Council shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report that, for the period covered by the report, contains a description of each--

      (1) activity of the Council, including each grant provided by the Council under subsection (e); and

      (2) policy, plan, activity, and project carried out under this Act.

    (g) Authority To Transfer Fund- The Council may transfer amounts from the Fund to Federal agencies for the purpose of carrying out this Act, including for the purposes of--

      (1) carrying out Plan;

      (2) administering the Fishery Endowment; and

      (3) administering the Observation System.

    (h) Nonapplicability of Federal Advisory Committee Act- The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Council.

SEC. 4. GULF OF MEXICO RECOVERY FUND.

    (a) Establishment- There is established in the Treasury of the United States a fund to be known as the `Gulf of Mexico Recovery Fund', to be administered by the Council for authorized uses described in subsection (c).

    (b) Transfers to Fund- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Treasury shall deposit in the Fund amounts equal to not less than 100 percent of any amounts collected by the United States before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act, and available on or after the date of enactment of this Act, as penalties, settlements, or fines under sections 309 and 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1319, 1321) in relation to the Gulf oil spill.

    (c) Authorized Uses- Amounts in the Fund shall be available to the Council for the conduct of activities relating to Gulf coast economic development, ecosystem restoration, and public health rehabilitation in accordance with this Act, including the provision of grants under section 3(e).

SEC. 5. COMPREHENSIVE GULF OF MEXICO RECOVERY PLAN.

    (a) Development of Plan- In accordance with subsection (b), the Council, in accordance with the Strategy and taking into consideration the advice of the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Citizens' Advisory Committee, shall develop a comprehensive plan to restore, revitalize, and increase the resiliency of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

    (b) Goals- The goals of the Plan shall include, with respect to the Gulf coast--

      (1) ecosystem monitoring; and

      (2) ecosystem recovery and resiliency, with an emphasis on a holistic, comprehensive approach covering coastal, nearshore, deep water.

    (c) Implementation- The Council shall provide grants under section 4(c)(3)(A) for use in funding projects, programs, or activities to meet the goals described in subsection (b).

SEC. 6. GULF OF MEXICO OBSERVATION SYSTEM.

    (a) Establishment- The Council shall establish the Gulf of Mexico Observation System to observe, monitor, and map the Gulf in a comprehensive manner.

    (b) Administration- The Observation System shall be--

      (1) implemented through a Gulf of Mexico Exploration Research Center; and

      (2) administered by 1 or more eligible entities that--

        (A) are selected by the Council based on an application demonstrating the ability of the eligible entity to carry out this section; and

        (B) receive a grant for that purpose under section 3(e)(3)(A)(ii).

    (c) Facilitation of Existing Technologies- An eligible entity administering the Observation System under subsection (b) shall facilitate the use of existing technologies to quickly increase, to the maximum extent practicable, observation and monitoring capabilities in the Gulf.

    (d) Development of New Technologies- An eligible entity administering the Observation System under subsection (b) shall facilitate the development of new monitoring technologies.

    (e) Coordination With National Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System- The Council shall ensure that the Observation System is developed in coordination with the National Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System established under section 12304(a) of the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 (33 U.S.C. 3603(a)).

SEC. 7. GULF OF MEXICO FISHERY ENDOWMENT.

    (a) Establishment- As soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this Act, the Council shall establish a fishery endowment to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, the long-term sustainability of fish stocks and the recreational, commercial, and charter fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico.

    (b) Funding- For each fiscal year, of the amounts made available for expenditure from the subaccount described in section 3(e)(6)(A), 95 percent of the interest accrued in the subaccount may be expended for, with respect to the Gulf of Mexico--

      (1) data collection and stock assessments;

      (2) pilot programs for--

        (A) fishery independent data; and

        (B) spawning aggregations reduction;

      (3) cooperative research; and

      (4) training and education on sustainable fishing practices and gear use.

    (c) Administration; Implementation- The Fishery Endowment shall be--

      (1) administered by the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and

      (2) implemented by the Regional Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

SEC. 8. CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

    (a) Establishment- There is established the Citizens' Advisory Committee.

    (b) Membership-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Citizens' Advisory Committee shall be composed of 39 members, of whom--

        (A) 30 members shall be voting members--

          (i) of whom--

            (I) 6 members shall be residents of, and represent, the State of Alabama;

            (II) 6 members shall be residents of, and represent, the State of Florida;

            (III) 6 members shall be residents of, and represent, the State of Louisiana;

            (IV) 6 members shall be residents of, and represent, the State of Mississippi; and

            (V) 6 members shall be residents of, and represent, the State of Texas; and

          (ii) each of whom shall represent an interest of the State of which the member represents, including an interest relating to--

            (I) the commercial fin fish and shellfish industry;

            (II) the charter fishing industry;

            (III) the restaurant, hotel, and tourism industries;

            (IV) indigenous peoples communities;

            (V) the marine and coastal conservation community; and

            (VI) incorporated and unincorporated municipalities; and

        (B) 9 members shall be nonvoting members, of whom--

          (i) 1 member shall be appointed by, and represent, the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating;

          (ii) 1 member shall be appointed by, and represent, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;

          (iii) 1 member shall be appointed by, and represent, the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;

          (iv) 1 member shall be appointed by, and represent, the Secretary of the Interior;

          (v) 1 member shall be appointed by, and represent, the lead maritime environmental and natural resources management and enforcement agency of the State of Alabama;

          (vi) 1 member shall be appointed by, and represent, the lead maritime environmental and natural resources management and enforcement agency of the State of Florida;

          (vii) 1 member shall be appointed by, and represent, the lead maritime environmental and natural resources management and enforcement agency of the State of Louisiana;

          (viii) 1 member shall be appointed by, and represent, the lead maritime environmental and natural resources management and enforcement agency of the State of Mississippi; and

          (ix) 1 member shall be appointed by, and represent, the lead maritime environmental and natural resources management and enforcement agency of the State of Texas.

      (2) GEOGRAPHIC BALANCE- Voting and nonvoting members representing States shall be appointed equally from each State represented on the Citizens' Advisory Committee.

    (c) Terms-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), the voting members of the Citizens' Advisory Committee shall be appointed for a term of 3 years.

      (2) INITIAL APPOINTMENTS- To establish the terms of the group of first appointments of voting members to the Citizens' Advisory Committee, a drawing of lots among the initial members shall be conducted under which--

        (A) 1/3 of the group shall serve for a period of 3 years;

        (B) 1/3 of the group shall serve for a period of 2 years; and

        (C) 1/3 of the group shall serve for a period 1 year.

      (3) DURATION OF COMMITTEE- The authority of the Citizens' Advisory Committee shall continue during the lifetime of energy development, transportation, and facility removal activities in the Gulf of Mexico.

    (d) Administration-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Citizens' Advisory Committee shall--

        (A) elect a Chairperson from among the members of the Citizens' Advisory Committee;

        (B) select a staff; and

        (C) make policies with regard to the internal operating procedures of the Citizens' Advisory Committee.

      (2) SELF-GOVERNANCE-

        (A) INITIAL MEETING- After the date on which the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating conducts an initial organizational meeting for the Citizens' Advisory Committee, the Citizens' Advisory Committee shall be self-governing.

        (B) INITIAL MEETING- Not later than 60 days after the date on which all members of the Citizens' Advisory Committee have been appointed, the Citizens' Advisory Committee shall hold the initial meeting of the Citizens' Advisory Committee.

        (C) PERIODIC MEETINGS- The Citizens' Advisory Committee shall conduct meetings not less frequently than 1 meeting per calendar year.

      (3) TRANSPARENCY- Subject to subsection (e)(2), the Citizens' Advisory Committee shall--

        (A) conduct the operations of the Citizens' Advisory Committee in a manner that is accessible by the public;

        (B) ensure that each work product adopted by the Citizens' Advisory Committee is publicly accessible;

        (C) conduct not less than 1 meeting during each calendar year that is open to the public, for which the Citizens' Advisory Committee shall provide public notice not later than 30 days before the date of the meeting; and

        (D) maintain a public Web site containing, at a minimum--

          (i) recommendations made by the Citizens' Advisory Committee, and information as to whether the recommendations have been adopted (including an explanation of each reason of the Citizens' Advisory Committee for not adopting a recommendation);

          (ii) a description of plans under review, carried out in a manner that does not disclose any confidential or privileged information;

          (iii) a statement of industry standards; and

          (iv) an interactive component that enables the public--

            (I) to submit questions and comments; and

            (II) to report problems.

      (4) CONFLICTS OF INTEREST- An individual selected as a voting member of the Citizens' Advisory Committee may not engage in any activity that may conflict with the execution of the functions or duties of the individual as a member of the Citizens' Advisory Committee.

    (e) Information From Federal Agencies and Industry-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Citizens' Advisory Committee may request directly from any Federal agency information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics to carry out this section.

      (2) ACCESS- The Citizens' Advisory Committee shall have access to--

        (A) facilities and nonproprietary records of the oil and gas industry that are relevant to the proper execution of the duties of the Citizens' Advisory Committee under this section; and

        (B) records containing proprietary information if--

          (i) the records are relevant to the proper execution of the duties of the Citizens' Advisory Committee under this section; and

          (ii) the proprietary information is redacted to the extent necessary and appropriate.

    (f) Committee Recommendations- All recommendations of the Committee shall only be advisory.

    (g) Location and Compensation-

      (1) OFFICE LOCATIONS- The Council shall establish offices in 1 or more Gulf States, as the Citizens' Advisory Committee determines to be necessary and appropriate to carry out the operations of the Citizens' Advisory Committee.

      (2) COMPENSATION- A member of the Citizens' Advisory Committee shall--

        (A) serve without compensation; and

        (B) be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for an employee of an agency under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code (except by express authorization of the Citizens' Advisory Committee in any case in which the rates are inadequate to reimburse a member not eligible for travel rates of the Federal Government).

    (h) Reports-

      (1) DUTY OF COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES- Not later than 3 years after the date of establishment of the Citizens' Advisory Committee, and every 3 years thereafter, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the President and the appropriate committees of Congress a report that contains a description of, for the period covered by the report, the operations and expenditures of the Citizens' Advisory Committee in carrying out this section (including any recommendation of the Comptroller General of the United States).

      (2) DUTY OF CITIZENS' ADVISORY COMMITTEE- Not later than 2 years after the date of establishment of the Citizens' Advisory Committee, and every 2 years thereafter, the Citizens' Advisory Committee shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report that contains, for the period covered by the report, a description of--

        (A) the extent of achievement of safe operations in the Gulf of oil and gas activities;

        (B) unresolved problems and concerns with operations, activities, and plans; and

        (C) the operations and expenditures, needs, issues, and recommendations of the Citizens' Advisory Committee.

SEC. 9. SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

    (a) Establishment- There is established the Scientific Advisory Committee to provide advice to the Council regarding the science behind the Plan and long-term monitoring and restoration of the Gulf coast ecosystem.

    (b) Membership- The Scientific Advisory Committee shall be composed of 16 members, of whom--

      (1) 10 shall be voting members, of whom--

        (A) with respect to the State of Alabama, 2 members shall be appointed by the State, of whom--

          (i) 1 shall be a scientist employed by an institution of higher education located in the State; and

          (ii) 1 shall be a representative of the environmental protection or quality agency of the State;

        (B) with respect to the State of Florida, 2 members shall be appointed by the State, of whom--

          (i) 1 shall be a scientist employed by an institution of higher education located in the State; and

          (ii) 1 shall be a representative of the environmental protection or quality agency of the State;

        (C) with respect to the State of Louisiana, 2 members shall be appointed by the State, of whom--

          (i) 1 shall be a scientist employed by an institution of higher education located in the State; and

          (ii) 1 shall be a representative of the environmental protection or quality agency of the State;

        (D) with respect to the State of Mississippi, 2 members shall be appointed by the State, of whom--

          (i) 1 shall be a scientist employed by an institution of higher education located in the State; and

          (ii) 1 shall be a representative of the environmental protection or quality agency of the State; and

        (E) with respect to the State of Texas, 2 members shall be appointed by the State, of whom--

          (i) 1 shall be a scientist employed by an institution of higher education located in the State; and

          (ii) 1 shall be a representative of the environmental protection or quality agency of the State; and

      (2) 4 shall be nonvoting members, of whom--

        (A) 1 member shall be appointed by the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;

        (B) 1 member shall be appointed by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;

        (C) 1 member shall be appointed by the Director of the National Institute for Standards and Technology; and

        (D) 1 member shall be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.

    (c) Duties- Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, and biennially thereafter, the Scientific Advisory Committee shall prepare and submit to the Council a report that describes, for the period covered by the report, the science regarding--

      (1) impacts to the Gulf and Gulf coast from the Gulf oil spill;

      (2) the progress of restoration activities for the Gulf and Gulf coast; and

      (3) the implementation of the Plan.

SEC. 10. EFFECT ON OTHER LAW.

    Nothing in this section supersedes or otherwise affects any provision of Federal law, including, in particular, laws providing recovery for injury to natural resources under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (33 U.S.C 2701 et. seq.).

END