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Title of Law:Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act of 1998
Law #:Public Law 105- 65
Passed by Congress:105th Congress (1st Session)

The following are excerpts from the final legislation and/or conference report which contain NRC studies. (Pound signs [##] between passages denote the deletion of unrelated text. Also, please note that the study on the remediation of contaminated sediments was not included in the final legislation. Therefore, language from the House Committee Report has been excerpted below.)

HR2158 Lewis Jerry (R-CA) 10/09/97

Enrolled (finally passed both houses)

Making appropriations for the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and for sundry independent agencies, commissions, corporations, and offices for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1998, and for other purposes.

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

For science and technology, including research and development activities, which shall include research and development activities

under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), as amended; necessary expenses for personnel and related costs and travel expenses, including uniforms, or allowances therefore, as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 5901-5902; services as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 3109, but at rates for individuals not to exceed the per diem rate equivalent to the rate for GS-18; procurement of laboratory equipment and supplies; other operating expenses in support of research and development; construction, alteration, repair, rehabilitation, and renovation of facilities, not to exceed $75,000 per project, $631,000,000, which shall remain available until September 30, 1999: Provided, That $49,600,000 of the funds appropriated under this heading shall be to conduct and administer a comprehensive, peer-reviewed, near- and long-term particulate matter research program in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth for such research program in the conference report and joint explanatory statement of the committee of conference accompanying this Act (H.R. 2158): Provided further, that no later than 30 days following enactment of this Act, the Environmental Protection Agency shall enter into a contract or cooperative agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to develop a comprehensive, prioritized, near- and long-term particulate matter research program and monitoring plan in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in the conference report and joint explanatory statement of the committee of conference accompanying this Act (H.R. 2158).

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ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

Of the funds provided to the National Aeronautics and Space

Administration in this Act, the Administrator shall by November 1, 1998, make available no less than $400,000 for a study by the National Research Council, with an interim report to be completed by June 1, 1998, that evaluates, in terms of the potential impact on the Space Station's assembly schedule, budget, and capabilities, the engineering challenges posed by extravehicular activity (EVA) requirements, United States and non-United States space launch requirements, the potential need to upgrade or replace equipment and components after assembly complete, and the requirement to decommission and disassemble the facility.

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HRpt 105-297 CONFERENCE REPORT To accompany H.R. 2158 MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENTS OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR SUNDRY INDEPENDENT AGENCIES, COMMISSIONS, CORPORATIONS, AND OFFICES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 1998, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Conference Committee

(10/06/97)

Special Typefaces Key:

[[ ]] Text to be omitted // \\ Italic text

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//ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY\\

//SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY\\

//(INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)\\

// For science and technology, including research and development activities, which shall include research and development activities

under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), as amended; necessary expenses for personnel and related costs and travel expenses, including uniforms, or allowances therefore, as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 5901-5902; services as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 3109, but at rates for individuals not to exceed the per diem rate equivalent to the rate for GS-18; procurement of laboratory equipment and supplies; other operating expenses in support of research and development; construction, alteration, repair, rehabilitation, and renovation of facilities, not to exceed $75,000 per project, $631,000,000, which shall remain available until September 30, 1999: Provided, That $49,600,000 of the funds appropriated under this heading shall be to conduct and administer a comprehensive, peer-reviewed, near- and long-term particulate matter research program in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth for such research program in the conference report and joint explanatory statement of the committee of conference accompanying this Act (H.R. 2158): Provided further, That no later than 30 days following enactment of this Act, the Environmental Protection Agency shall enter into a contract or cooperative agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to develop a comprehensive, prioritized, near- and long-term particulate matter research program and monitoring plan in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in the conference report and joint explanatory statement of the committee of conference accompanying this Act (H.R. 2158).\\

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//ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS\\

// Of the funds provided to the National Aeronautics and Space

Administration in this Act, the Administrator shall by November 1, 1998, make available no less than $400,000 for a study by the National Research Council, with an interim report to be completed by June 1, 1998, that evaluates, in terms of the potential impact on the Space Station's assembly schedule, budget, and capabilities, the engineering challenges posed by extravehicular activity (EVA) requirements, United States and non-United States space launch requirements, the potential need to upgrade or replace equipment and components after assembly complete, and the requirement to decommission and disassemble the facility.\\

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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Appropriates $631,000,000 for science and technology instead of $629,223,000 as provided by the House and $600,000,000 as provided by the Senate. The conferees have included new bill language which provides $49,600,000 for a particulate matter research program in lieu of language contained in the House bill.

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Following consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Academy of Sciences, and numerous scientific and research and stakeholder groups, the conferees have developed a mechanism which, when implemented, will go far toward increasing the breadth of knowledge and filling research gaps regarding the potential health effects of fine particulate matter (PM). The recommendation of the conferees is meant to build on the research which has already been planned, is underway, or has been completed by EPA, NIEHS, NAS, HEI, and numerous other public and private entities, and its success will rely on the hard work and continued good will of all interested parties.

Although EPA recently issued a revised standard for PM, the Agency also indicated the standard will have no regulatory impact until after the next National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) review, currently planned for 2002. The conferees believe a unique opportunity now exists to put into place the mechanism to establish a comprehensive, peer-reviewed, near- and long-term research program which will benefit both the Legislative and Executive branches in decision-making activities regarding PM in the coming years.

To this end, the conferees have included bill language which specifically provides $49,600,000 for particulate matter research, and further provides that within 30 days of enactment of this Act, EPA shall enter into a contract or cooperative agreement with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to develop a comprehensive, prioritized, near- and long-term particulate matter research program, as well as a plan to monitor how this research program is being carried out by all participants in the research effort. The conferees intend the NAS to develop a near-term research plan within four months of execution of the contract with EPA, and expect a long-term plan to be completed within twelve months of execution of the contract. Both plans should be developed on as close to a consensus basis as is practicable following consultation and comprehensive discussions with, but not limited to, representatives of the EPA, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as representatives from such organizations as the Health Effects Institute (HEI), the North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone (NARSTO), the Chemical Industry Institute of Technology (CIIT), the Lovelace Inhalation Toxicology Research Institute, the American Lung Association, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), EPA's Science Advisory Board and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and other qualified personnel representing government, industry, and the environmental community. Upon completion of the research plans, the NAS shall simultaneously provide copies to the Congress, to EPA, and to all participating parties.

It is the intention of the conferees that the plan is to be the principal guideline for the Agency's particulate matter research program over the next several years. The conferees expect the Agency to implement the plan, including the conduct of appropriate peer review and the distribution of intramural and extramural funds, in a manner which assures that research as determined in the plan will proceed in an orderly and timely fashion, and according to the priority basis outlined by NAS. The conferees also expect the NAS to monitor the implementation of the research plan and periodically report to the Congress as to the progress of the NAS plan. Should EPA, after its own analysis, disagree with any research topic or priority ranking as determined in the plan, or with any other aspect of the plan, the conferees direct the Agency to provide the Congress with a detailed analysis of such a disagreement, as well as with a description of what the Agency proposes in lieu thereof. EPA is expected to move forward immediately with its PM research program as outlined in the fiscal year 1998 budget submission. Upon delivery of the NAS research plan, however, the conferees expect the Agency and other federal entities as listed above to review their ongoing particulate matter research activities and, where appropriate, re-focus such activities so as to be consistent with the NAS research plan. The funds provided above the budget request should be targeted to filling research gaps outlined by NAS and not already planned for fiscal year 1998.

In administering the research plan, the conferees expect the Agency to be responsible for the timely announcement of all requests for research proposals, for the thorough review of such proposals, and for the granting and auditing of all funds to conduct such research proposals. Given the importance of developing and publishing as much new research as possible prior to the next NAAQS review planned for PM, the Agency should take every step possible to expedite the delivery of available research funds for both intramural and extramural recipients. Moreover, in the making of specific grants or, in the case of other governmental agencies, a cooperative research agreement pursuant to the research plan, the Agency should be mindful of the various talents and expertise of each of the aforementioned organizations or other research grant applicants may have so as to maximize to the greatest extent possible the quality of the research that is to be conducted.

The conferees understand that the most immediate, or "near-term" PM research needs include, but are not limited to, topics such as toxicological and biological mechanisms, source apportionment, human exposure assessment and monitoring, ambient measurement methods, and epidemiology. NAS is thus expected to focus on these as well as other high priority topics as part of its near-term research plan.

In addition, up to $8,000,000 of the funds provided herein are to be used to create up to five university-based research centers focused on PM-related environmental and health effects. EPA will select these centers through a competitive peer review process and will ensure consistency with the final research plan formulated by the process outlined above. The centers program is intended to help address the most pressing unanswered questions involved in the air particulate field. A governing criterion for the selection of the proposed centers should be their ability to bring together bio-medical and public health scientists, engineers, environmental scientists, economists, and policy analysts as part of a coordinated and comprehensive data analysis and research effort.

The conferees direct that, prior to completion of the research plan, adequate funds be made available to support on ongoing effort to conduct a thorough inventory of all federal and non-federal research on particulate matter, to initiate key term research, and to conduct a thorough reanalysis of all key long-term studies relating to particulate matter. Priority in the award of grants as outlined in the preceding sentence should be given to organizations which are established independent research institutes funded in partnership with EPA.

Finally, the conferees expect that all research data resulting from this funding will become available to the public, with proper safeguards for researchers' first right of publication, for scientific integrity, for individuals participating in studies, for proprietary commercial interests, and to prevent scientific fraud and misconduct.

The issue of the new particulate matter standards as outlined by EPA in July of this year, and the potential regulations that may result from these new standards, has resulted in an emotional and politically charged debate principally on the potential economic impacts of regulations based on the new standard. What has unfortunately been diminished in these debates is the almost universal recognition that considerable scientific questions relative to particulate matter remain to be answered. The conferees recognize that while reasonable people may differ as to the interpretation of the facts and that different policy judgments may be arrived at, sufficient facts are not yet available to proceed with future regulations for a new particulate standard. The conferees note that this may be the only realistic opportunity to enlist the support of both the public and private sectors to maximize the use of science so as to better determine the answers that will some day guide future regulatory actions regarding particulate matter.

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS AND MANAGEMENT

Appropriates $1,801,000,000 for environmental programs and management as proposed by the Senate instead of $1,763,352,000 as proposed by the House.

The conferees have agreed to the following increases to the budget request:

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20. $300,000 for the NAS to conduct a study of the effectiveness of EPA's inspection and maintenance programs.

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The conferees are concerned with the Agency's perceived inflexibility regarding the implementation of the enhanced vehicle emissions and inspection programs in a number of states. Despite passage of the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 which included language stating that, "the Administration shall not require adoption or implementation by a state of a test-only I/M 240 enhanced vehicle inspection and maintenance program," EPA has until very recently required that states using equipment other than I/M 240 perform mass emission transient testing (METT) on 0.1% of their affected vehicles, yet has only approved I/M 240 equipment to conduct the METT. It was the intent of Congress to prohibit the mandating of I/M 240 for any purpose, whether for emission testing or evaluation testing. Therefore, it is expected that the Agency will resolve this issue with the affected states and develop a non-METT test consistent with Congressional intent. The Agency is urged to develop alternatives which, as required by the Clean Air Act, are based on data collected during inspection and repair of vehicles. The alternatives also should be seamless to the customer and not result in increased costs to the customer or service station owner, and also not result in a direct or indirect penalty to the state that is not using METT. In the event that the Agency does not develop a non-METT evaluation method, the conferees would expect to address this issue in legislation.

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ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

The conferees have included an administrative provision as proposed by the Senate which directs NASA to use $400,000 for a study by the National Research Council which evaluates the engineering challenges posed by extravehicular activity requirements of space station construction/assembly.

The conferees have not included the administrative provision

proposed by the House and stricken by the Senate which would have provided $150,000,000 of transfer authority.

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House Report 105-175 - To accompany H.R. 2158 MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENTS OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND INDEPENDENT AGENCIES, 1998

House Appropriations Committee

(07/11/97)

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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

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[<dd>]The Committee is aware of EPA's draft National Sediment Quality Survey issued in July 1996 in which the Agency concluded, among other things, that the preferred means of controlling sedimentation contamination risks to human health and the environment is through natural recovery. Despite this conclusion, however, dredging often is advocated even though the impact of such an invasive approach is often unknown. In light of this situation, the Committee directs that in assessing risks posed by the contamination by polychlorinated biphenyls of the upper Hudson River, New York, the Agency shall include an assessment and comparison of the risks to human health and the environment presented by alternative remedial measures, including natural recovery, source control, and dredging, capping, and disposal of contaminated sediments. Further, the Agency is directed to enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a review which evaluates the availability, effectiveness, costs, and effects of technologies for the remediation of sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, including dredging and disposal. Such a review should be completed by April 1, 1999.

[<dd>]In a similar vein, the Committee remains concerned that alternatives be found to the ocean disposal of dredged materials. The Committee supports the ongoing research effort of the Agency to find cost-effective and environmentally safe alternatives to ocean disposal and urges that at the appropriate opportunity, a large-scale pilot project utilizing the expertise of other research organizations, such as Brookhaven National Laboratory and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, be developed and instituted.

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