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Title of Law:Water Resources Development Act of 2007
Law #:Public Law 110-114
Passed by Congress:110th Congress (1st Session)

The following are excerpts, highlighted in red, from the final legislation and/or conference report which contain references to and studies for The National Academies. (Pound signs [##] between passages denote the deletion of unrelated text.)

HR1495 Oberstar (D-Minn.) 09/24/07
Enrolled (finally passed both houses)

To provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States, and for other purposes.
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SEC. 2031. WATER RESOURCES PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES.

(a) National Water Resources Planning Policy.—It is the policy of the United States that all water resources projects should reflect national priorities, encourage economic development, and protect the environment by—

(1) seeking to maximize sustainable economic development;
(2) seeking to avoid the unwise use of floodplains and flood-prone areas and minimizing adverse impacts and vulnerabilities in any case in which a floodplain or flood-prone area must be used; and
(3) protecting and restoring the functions of natural systems and mitigating any unavoidable damage to natural systems.

(b) Principles and Guidelines.—

(1) PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES DEFINED.—In this subsection, the term “principles and guidelines” means the principles and guidelines contained in the document prepared by the Water Resources Council pursuant to section 103 of the Water Resources Planning Act (42 U.S.C. 1962a-2), entitled “Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines for Water and Related Land Resources Implementation Studies”, and dated March 10, 1983.

(2) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue revisions, consistent with paragraph (3), to the principles and guidelines for use by the Secretary in the formulation, evaluation, and implementation of water resources projects.

(3) CONSIDERATIONS.—In developing revisions to the principles and guidelines under paragraph (2), the Secretary shall evaluate the consistency of the principles and guidelines with, and ensure that the principles and guidelines address, the following:

(A) The use of best available economic principles and analytical techniques, including techniques in risk and uncertainty analysis.
(B) The assessment and incorporation of public safety in the formulation of alternatives and recommended plans.
(C) Assessment methods that reflect the value of projects for low-income communities and projects that use nonstructural approaches to water resources development and management.
(D) The assessment and evaluation of the interaction of a project with other water resources projects and programs within a region or watershed.
(E) The use of contemporary water resources paradigms, including integrated water resources management and adaptive management.
(F) Evaluation methods that ensure that water resources projects are justified by public benefits.

(4) CONSULTATION AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION.—In carrying out paragraph (2), the Secretary shall—

(A) consult with the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Secretary of Transportation, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Council on Environmental Quality; and
(B) solicit and consider public and expert comments.

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SEC. 2034. INDEPENDENT PEER REVIEW.

(a) Project Studies Subject to Independent Peer Review.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Project studies shall be subject to a peer review by an independent panel of experts as determined under this section.

(2) SCOPE.—The peer review may include a review of the economic and environmental assumptions and projections, project evaluation data, economic analyses, environmental analyses, engineering analyses, formulation of alternative plans, methods for integrating risk and uncertainty, models used in evaluation of economic or environmental impacts of proposed projects, and any biological opinions of the project study.

(3) PROJECT STUDIES SUBJECT TO PEER REVIEW.—

(A) MANDATORY.—A project study shall be subject to peer review under paragraph (1) if—

(i) the project has an estimated total cost of more than $45,000,000, including mitigation costs, and is not determined by the Chief of Engineers to be exempt from peer review under paragraph (6);
(ii) the Governor of an affected State requests a peer review by an independent panel of experts; or
(iii) the Chief of Engineers determines that the project study is controversial considering the factors set forth in paragraph (4).

(B) DISCRETIONARY.—

(i) AGENCY REQUEST.—A project study shall be considered by the Chief of Engineers for peer review under this section if the head of a Federal or State agency charged with reviewing the project study determines that the project is likely to have a significant adverse impact on environmental, cultural, or other resources under the jurisdiction of the agency after implementation of proposed mitigation plans and requests a peer review by an independent panel of experts.

(ii) DEADLINE FOR DECISION.—A decision of the Chief of Engineers under this subparagraph whether to conduct a peer review shall be made within 21 days of the date of receipt of the request by the head of the Federal or State agency under clause (i).

(iii) REASONS FOR NOT CONDUCTING PEER REVIEW.—If the Chief of Engineers decides not to conduct a peer review following a request under clause (i), the Chief shall make publicly available, including on the Internet, the reasons for not conducting the peer review.

(iv) APPEAL TO CHAIRMAN OF COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY.—A decision by the Chief of Engineers not to conduct a peer review following a request under clause (i) shall be subject to appeal by a person referred to in clause (i) to the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality if such appeal is made within the 30-day period following the date of the decision being made available under clause (iii). A decision of the Chairman on an appeal under this clause shall be made within 30 days of the date of the appeal.

(4) FACTORS TO CONSIDER.—In determining whether a project study is controversial under paragraph (3)(A)(iii), the Chief of Engineers shall consider if—

(A) there is a significant public dispute as to the size, nature, or effects of the project; or

(B) there is a significant public dispute as to the economic or environmental costs or benefits of the project.

(5) PROJECT STUDIES EXCLUDED FROM PEER REVIEW.—The Chief of Engineers may exclude a project study from peer review under paragraph (1)—

(A) if the project study does not include an environmental impact statement and is a project study subject to peer review under paragraph (3)(A)(i) that the Chief of Engineers determines—

(i) is not controversial;
(ii) has no more than negligible adverse impacts on scarce or unique cultural, historic, or tribal resources;
(iii) has no substantial adverse impacts on fish and wildlife species and their habitat prior to the implementation of mitigation measures; and
(iv) has, before implementation of mitigation measures, no more than a negligible adverse impact on a species listed as endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) or the critical habitat of such species designated under such Act;

(B) if the project study—

(i) involves only the rehabilitation or replacement of existing hydropower turbines, lock structures, or flood control gates within the same footprint and for the same purpose as an existing water resources project;
(ii) is for an activity for which there is ample experience within the Corps of Engineers and industry to treat the activity as being routine; and
(iii) has minimal life safety risk; or

(C) if the project study does not include an environmental impact statement and is a project study pursued under section 205 of the Flood Control Act of 1948 (33 U.S.C. 701s), section 2 of the Flood Control Act of August 28, 1937 (33 U.S.C. 701g), section 14 of the Flood Control Act of 1946 (33 U.S.C. 701r), section 107(a) of the River and Harbor Act of 1960 (33 U.S.C. 577(a)), section 3 of the Act entitled “An Act authorizing Federal participation in the cost of protecting the shores of publicly owned property”, approved August 13, 1946 (33 U.S.C. 426g), section 111 of the River and Harbor Act of 1968 (33 U.S.C. 426i), section 3 of the Act entitled “An Act authorizing the construction, repair, and preservation of certain public works on rivers and harbors, and for other purposes”, approved March 2, 1945 (33 U.S.C. 603a), section 1135 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (33 U.S.C. 2309a), or section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (33 U.S.C. 2330).

(6) DETERMINATION OF TOTAL COST.—For purposes of determining the estimated total cost of a project under paragraph (3)(A), the total cost shall be based upon the reasonable estimates of the Chief of Engineers at the completion of the reconnaissance study for the project. If the reasonable estimate of total costs is subsequently determined to be in excess of the amount in paragraph (3)(A), the Chief of Engineers shall make a determination whether a project study is required to be reviewed under this section.

(b) Timing of Peer Review.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Chief of Engineers shall determine the timing of a peer review of a project study under subsection (a). In all cases, the peer review shall occur during the period beginning on the date of the signing of the feasibility cost-sharing agreement for the study and ending on the date established under subsection (e)(1)(A) for the peer review and shall be accomplished concurrent with the conducting of the project study.

(2) FACTORS TO CONSIDER.—In any case in which the Chief of Engineers has not initiated a peer review of a project study, the Chief of Engineers shall consider, at a minimum, whether to initiate a peer review at the time that—

(A) the without-project conditions are identified;

(B) the array of alternatives to be considered are identified; and

(C) the preferred alternative is identified.

(3) LIMITATION ON MULTIPLE PEER REVIEW.—Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require the Chief of Engineers to conduct multiple peer reviews for a project study.

(c) Establishment of Panels.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—For each project study subject to peer review under subsection (a), as soon as practicable after the Chief of Engineers determines that a project study will be subject to peer review, the Chief of Engineers shall contract with the National Academy of Sciences or a similar independent scientific and technical advisory organization or an eligible organization to establish a panel of experts to conduct a peer review for the project study.

(2) MEMBERSHIP.—A panel of experts established for a project study under this section shall be composed of independent experts who represent a balance of areas of expertise suitable for the review being conducted.

(3) LIMITATION ON APPOINTMENTS.—The National Academy of Sciences or any other organization the Chief of Engineers contracts with under paragraph (1) to establish a panel of experts shall apply the National Academy of Science’s policy for selecting committee members to ensure that members selected for the panel of experts have no conflict with the project being reviewed.

(4) CONGRESSIONAL NOTIFICATION.—Upon identification of a project study for peer review under this section, but prior to initiation of the review, the Chief of Engineers shall notify the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives of the review.

(d) Duties of Panels.—A panel of experts established for a peer review for a project study under this section shall—

(1) conduct the peer review for the project study;

(2) assess the adequacy and acceptability of the economic, engineering, and environmental methods, models, and analyses used by the Chief of Engineers;

(3) receive from the Chief of Engineers the public written and oral comments provided to the Chief of Engineers;

(4) provide timely written and oral comments to the Chief of Engineers throughout the development of the project study, as requested; and

(5) submit to the Chief of Engineers a final report containing the panel’s economic, engineering, and environmental analysis of the project study, including the panel’s assessment of the adequacy and acceptability of the economic, engineering, and environmental methods, models, and analyses used by the Chief of Engineers, to accompany the publication of the report of the Chief of Engineers for the project.

(e) Duration of Project Study Peer Reviews.—

(1) DEADLINE.—A panel of experts established under this section shall—

(A) complete its peer review under this section for a project study and submit a report to the Chief of Engineers under subsection (d)(5) not more than 60 days after the last day of the public comment period for the draft project study, or, if the Chief of Engineers determines that a longer period of time is necessary, such period of time determined necessary by the Chief of Engineers; and

(B) terminate on the date of initiation of the State and agency review required by the first section of the Flood Control Act of December 22, 1944 (58 Stat. 887).

(2) FAILURE TO MEET DEADLINE.—If a panel of experts does not complete its peer review of a project study under this section and submit a report to the Chief of Engineers under subsection (d)(5) on or before the deadline established by paragraph (1) for the peer review, the Chief of Engineers shall complete the project study without delay.

(f) Recommendations of Panel.—

(1) CONSIDERATION BY THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS.—After receiving a report on a project study from a panel of experts under this section and before entering a final record of decision for the project, the Chief of Engineers shall consider any recommendations contained in the report and prepare a written response for any recommendations adopted or not adopted.

(2) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY AND TRANSMITTAL TO CONGRESS.—After receiving a report on a project study from a panel of experts under this section, the Chief of Engineers shall—

(A) make a copy of the report and any written response of the Chief of Engineers on recommendations contained in the report available to the public by electronic means, including the Internet; and

(B) transmit to the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a copy of the report, together with any such written response, on the date of a final report of the Chief of Engineers or other final decision document for the project study.

(g) Costs.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The costs of a panel of experts established for a peer review under this section—

(A) shall be a Federal expense; and

(B) shall not exceed $500,000.

(2) WAIVER.—The Chief of Engineers may waive the $500,000 limitation contained in paragraph (1)(B) in cases that the Chief of Engineers determines appropriate.

(h) Applicability.—This section shall apply to—

(1) project studies initiated during the 2-year period preceding the date of enactment of this Act and for which the array of alternatives to be considered has not been identified; and

(2) project studies initiated during the period beginning on such date of enactment and ending 7 years after such date of enactment.

(i) Reports.—

(1) INITIAL REPORT.—Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this section, the Chief of Engineers shall submit to the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a report on the implementation of this section.

(2) ADDITIONAL REPORT.—Not later than 6 years after the date of enactment of this section, the Chief of Engineers shall update the report under paragraph (1) taking into account any further information on implementation of this section and submit such updated report to the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives.

(j) Nonapplicability of FACA.—The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to a peer review panel established under this section.

(k) Savings Clause.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect any authority of the Chief of Engineers to cause or conduct a peer review of a water resources project existing on the date of enactment of this section.

(l) Definitions.—In this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) PROJECT STUDY.—The term “project study” means—

(A) a feasibility study or reevaluation study for a water resources project, including the environmental impact statement prepared for the study; and

(B) any other study associated with a modification of a water resources project that includes an environmental impact statement, including the environmental impact statement prepared for the study.

(2) AFFECTED STATE.—The term “affected State”, as used with respect to a water resources project, means a State all or a portion of which is within the drainage basin in which the project is or would be located and would be economically or environmentally affected as a consequence of the project.

(3) ELIGIBLE ORGANIZATION.—The term “eligible organization” means an organization that—

(A) is described in section 501(c)(3), and exempt from Federal tax under section 501(a), of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;

(B) is independent;

(C) is free from conflicts of interest;

(D) does not carry out or advocate for or against Federal water resources projects; and

(E) has experience in establishing and administering peer review panels.

(4) TOTAL COST.—The term “total cost”, as used with respect to a water resources project, means the cost of construction (including planning and designing) of the project. In the case of a project for hurricane and storm damage reduction or flood damage reduction that includes periodic nourishment over the life of the project, the term includes the total cost of the nourishment.

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SEC. 2035. SAFETY ASSURANCE REVIEW.

(a) Projects Subject to Safety Assurance Review.—The Chief of Engineers shall ensure that the design and construction activities for hurricane and storm damage reduction and flood damage reduction projects are reviewed by independent experts under this section if the Chief of Engineers determines that a review by independent experts is necessary to assure public health, safety, and welfare.

(b) Factors.—In determining whether a review of design and construction of a project is necessary under this section, the Chief of Engineers shall consider whether—

(1) the failure of the project would pose a significant threat to human life;
(2) the project involves the use of innovative materials or techniques;
(3) the project design lacks redundancy; or
(4) the project has a unique construction sequencing or a reduced or overlapping design construction schedule.

(c) Safety Assurance Review.—

(1) INITIATION OF REVIEW.—At the appropriate point in the development of detailed engineering and design specifications for each water resources project subject to review under this section, the Chief of Engineers shall initiate a safety assurance review by independent experts on the design and construction activities for the project.

(2) SELECTION OF REVIEWERS.—A safety assurance review under this section shall include participation by experts selected by the Chief of Engineers from among individuals who are distinguished experts in engineering, hydrology, or other appropriate disciplines. The Chief of Engineers shall apply the National Academy of Science’s policy for selecting reviewers to ensure that reviewers have no conflict of interest with the project being reviewed.

(3) COMPENSATION.—An individual serving as an independent reviewer under this section shall be compensated at a rate of pay to be determined by the Secretary and shall be allowed travel expenses.

(d) Scope of Safety Assurance Reviews.—A safety assurance review under this section shall include a review of the design and construction activities prior to the initiation of physical construction and periodically thereafter until construction activities are completed on a regular schedule sufficient to inform the Chief of Engineers on the adequacy, appropriateness, and acceptability of the design and construction activities for the purpose of assuring public health, safety, and welfare. The Chief of Engineers shall ensure that reviews under this section do not create any unnecessary delays in design and construction activities.

(e) Safety Assurance Review Record.—The written recommendations of a reviewer or panel of reviewers under this section and the responses of the Chief of Engineers shall be available to the public, including through electronic means on the Internet.

(f) Applicability.—This section shall apply to any project in design or under construction on the date of enactment of this Act and to any project with respect to which design or construction is initiated during the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending 7 years after such date of enactment.

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SEC. 7004. COASTAL LOUISIANA ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION AND RESTORATION TASK FORCE.

(a) Establishment.—There is established a task force to be known as the Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Protection and Restoration Task Force (in this section referred to as the “Task Force”).

(b) Membership.—The Task Force shall consist of the following members (or, in the case of the head of a Federal agency, a designee of the head of the agency at the level of Assistant Secretary or an equivalent level):

(1) The Secretary.
(2) The Secretary of the Interior.
(3) The Secretary of Commerce.
(4) The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
(5) The Secretary of Agriculture.
(6) The Secretary of Transportation.
(7) The Secretary of Energy.
(8) The Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
(9) The Commandant of the Coast Guard.
(10) The Chair of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana.
(11) Two representatives of the State of Louisiana selected by the Governor.

(c) Duties.—The Task Force shall make recommendations to the Secretary regarding—

(1) policies, strategies, plans, programs, projects, and activities for addressing conservation, protection, restoration, and maintenance of the coastal Louisiana ecosystem;

(2) financial participation by each agency represented on the Task Force in conserving, protecting, restoring, and maintaining the coastal Louisiana ecosystem, including recommendations—

(A) that identify funds from current agency missions and budgets; and

(B) for coordinating individual agency budget requests; and

(3) the comprehensive plan to be developed under section 7002(a).

(d) Report.—The Task Force shall submit to Congress a biennial report that summarizes the activities and recommendations of the Task Force.

(e) Working Groups.—

(1) GENERAL AUTHORITY.—The Task Force may establish such working groups as the Task Force determines to be necessary to assist the Task Force in carrying out this section.

(2) HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA.—

(A) INTEGRATION TEAM.—The Task Force shall establish a working group for the purpose of advising the Task Force of opportunities to integrate the planning, engineering, design, implementation, and performance of Corps of Engineers projects for hurricane and storm damage reduction, flood damage reduction, ecosystem restoration, and navigation in those areas in Louisiana for which a major disaster has been declared by the President as a result of Hurricane Katrina or Rita.

(B) EXPERTISE; REPRESENTATION.—In establishing the working group under subparagraph (A), the Task Force shall ensure that the group—

(i) has expertise in coastal estuaries, diversions, coastal restoration and wetlands protection, ecosystem restoration, hurricane protection, storm damage reduction systems, navigation, and ports; and

(ii) represents the State of Louisiana and local governments in southern Louisiana.

(C) DUTIES.—In developing its recommendations under this subsection, the working group shall—

(i) review reports relating to the performance of, and recommendations relating to the future performance of, the hurricane, coastal, and flood protection systems in southern Louisiana, including the reports issued by the Interagency Performance Evaluation Team, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and Team Louisiana for the purpose of advising the Task Force and the Secretary on opportunities to improve the performance of the protection systems;

(ii) assist in providing reviews under section 2035; and

(iii) carry out such other duties as the Task Force or the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

(f) Compensation.—Members of the Task Force and members of a working group established by the Task Force may not receive compensation for their services as members of the Task Force or working group, as the case may be.

(g) Travel Expenses.—Travel expenses incurred by members of the Task Force and members of a working group established by the Task Force, in the performance of their service on the Task Force or working group, as the case may be, shall be paid by the agency or entity that the member represents.

(h) Nonapplicability of FACA.—The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Task Force or any working group established by the Task Force.

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************************************************************************************
HRpt 110-280 - To accompany H.R. 1495 - To provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States, and for other purposes.
Conference Committee
(07/31/07)
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SEC. 2031. WATER RESOURCES PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES.

(a) National Water Resources Planning Policy.—It is the policy of the United States that all water resources projects should reflect national priorities, encourage economic development, and protect the environment by—

(1) seeking to maximize sustainable economic development;
(2) seeking to avoid the unwise use of floodplains and flood-prone areas and minimizing adverse impacts and vulnerabilities in any case in which a floodplain or flood-prone area must be used; and
(3) protecting and restoring the functions of natural systems and mitigating any unavoidable damage to natural systems.

(b) Principles and Guidelines.—

(1) PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES DEFINED.—In this subsection, the term “principles and guidelines” means the principles and guidelines contained in the document prepared by the Water Resources Council pursuant to section 103 of the Water Resources Planning Act (42 U.S.C. 1962a-2), entitled “Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines for Water and Related Land Resources Implementation Studies”, and dated March 10, 1983.

(2) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue revisions, consistent with paragraph (3), to the principles and guidelines for use by the Secretary in the formulation, evaluation, and implementation of water resources projects.

(3) CONSIDERATIONS.—In developing revisions to the principles and guidelines under paragraph (2), the Secretary shall evaluate the consistency of the principles and guidelines with, and ensure that the principles and guidelines address, the following:

(A) The use of best available economic principles and analytical techniques, including techniques in risk and uncertainty analysis.
(B) The assessment and incorporation of public safety in the formulation of alternatives and recommended plans.
(C) Assessment methods that reflect the value of projects for low-income communities and projects that use nonstructural approaches to water resources development and management.
(D) The assessment and evaluation of the interaction of a project with other water resources projects and programs within a region or watershed.
(E) The use of contemporary water resources paradigms, including integrated water resources management and adaptive management.
(F) Evaluation methods that ensure that water resources projects are justified by public benefits.

(4) CONSULTATION AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION.—In carrying out paragraph (2), the Secretary shall—

(A) consult with the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Secretary of Transportation, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Council on Environmental Quality; and
(B) solicit and consider public and expert comments.

######

SEC. 2034. INDEPENDENT PEER REVIEW.

(a) Project Studies Subject to Independent Peer Review.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Project studies shall be subject to a peer review by an independent panel of experts as determined under this section.

(2) SCOPE.—The peer review may include a review of the economic and environmental assumptions and projections, project evaluation data, economic analyses, environmental analyses, engineering analyses, formulation of alternative plans, methods for integrating risk and uncertainty, models used in evaluation of economic or environmental impacts of proposed projects, and any biological opinions of the project study.

(3) PROJECT STUDIES SUBJECT TO PEER REVIEW.—

(A) MANDATORY.—A project study shall be subject to peer review under paragraph (1) if—

(i) the project has an estimated total cost of more than $45,000,000, including mitigation costs, and is not determined by the Chief of Engineers to be exempt from peer review under paragraph (6);
(ii) the Governor of an affected State requests a peer review by an independent panel of experts; or
(iii) the Chief of Engineers determines that the project study is controversial considering the factors set forth in paragraph (4).

(B) DISCRETIONARY.—

(i) AGENCY REQUEST.—A project study shall be considered by the Chief of Engineers for peer review under this section if the head of a Federal or State agency charged with reviewing the project study determines that the project is likely to have a significant adverse impact on environmental, cultural, or other resources under the jurisdiction of the agency after implementation of proposed mitigation plans and requests a peer review by an independent panel of experts.

(ii) DEADLINE FOR DECISION.—A decision of the Chief of Engineers under this subparagraph whether to conduct a peer review shall be made within 21 days of the date of receipt of the request by the head of the Federal or State agency under clause (i).

(iii) REASONS FOR NOT CONDUCTING PEER REVIEW.—If the Chief of Engineers decides not to conduct a peer review following a request under clause (i), the Chief shall make publicly available, including on the Internet, the reasons for not conducting the peer review.

(iv) APPEAL TO CHAIRMAN OF COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY.—A decision by the Chief of Engineers not to conduct a peer review following a request under clause (i) shall be subject to appeal by a person referred to in clause (i) to the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality if such appeal is made within the 30-day period following the date of the decision being made available under clause (iii). A decision of the Chairman on an appeal under this clause shall be made within 30 days of the date of the appeal.

(4) FACTORS TO CONSIDER.—In determining whether a project study is controversial under paragraph (3)(A)(iii), the Chief of Engineers shall consider if—

(A) there is a significant public dispute as to the size, nature, or effects of the project; or

(B) there is a significant public dispute as to the economic or environmental costs or benefits of the project.

(5) PROJECT STUDIES EXCLUDED FROM PEER REVIEW.—The Chief of Engineers may exclude a project study from peer review under paragraph (1)—

(A) if the project study does not include an environmental impact statement and is a project study subject to peer review under paragraph (3)(A)(i) that the Chief of Engineers determines—

(i) is not controversial;
(ii) has no more than negligible adverse impacts on scarce or unique cultural, historic, or tribal resources;
(iii) has no substantial adverse impacts on fish and wildlife species and their habitat prior to the implementation of mitigation measures; and
(iv) has, before implementation of mitigation measures, no more than a negligible adverse impact on a species listed as endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) or the critical habitat of such species designated under such Act;

(B) if the project study—

(i) involves only the rehabilitation or replacement of existing hydropower turbines, lock structures, or flood control gates within the same footprint and for the same purpose as an existing water resources project;
(ii) is for an activity for which there is ample experience within the Corps of Engineers and industry to treat the activity as being routine; and
(iii) has minimal life safety risk; or

(C) if the project study does not include an environmental impact statement and is a project study pursued under section 205 of the Flood Control Act of 1948 (33 U.S.C. 701s), section 2 of the Flood Control Act of August 28, 1937 (33 U.S.C. 701g), section 14 of the Flood Control Act of 1946 (33 U.S.C. 701r), section 107(a) of the River and Harbor Act of 1960 (33 U.S.C. 577(a)), section 3 of the Act entitled “An Act authorizing Federal participation in the cost of protecting the shores of publicly owned property”, approved August 13, 1946 (33 U.S.C. 426g), section 111 of the River and Harbor Act of 1968 (33 U.S.C. 426i), section 3 of the Act entitled “An Act authorizing the construction, repair, and preservation of certain public works on rivers and harbors, and for other purposes”, approved March 2, 1945 (33 U.S.C. 603a), section 1135 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (33 U.S.C. 2309a), or section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (33 U.S.C. 2330).

(6) DETERMINATION OF TOTAL COST.—For purposes of determining the estimated total cost of a project under paragraph (3)(A), the total cost shall be based upon the reasonable estimates of the Chief of Engineers at the completion of the reconnaissance study for the project. If the reasonable estimate of total costs is subsequently determined to be in excess of the amount in paragraph (3)(A), the Chief of Engineers shall make a determination whether a project study is required to be reviewed under this section.

(b) Timing of Peer Review.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Chief of Engineers shall determine the timing of a peer review of a project study under subsection (a). In all cases, the peer review shall occur during the period beginning on the date of the signing of the feasibility cost-sharing agreement for the study and ending on the date established under subsection (e)(1)(A) for the peer review and shall be accomplished concurrent with the conducting of the project study.

(2) FACTORS TO CONSIDER.—In any case in which the Chief of Engineers has not initiated a peer review of a project study, the Chief of Engineers shall consider, at a minimum, whether to initiate a peer review at the time that—

(A) the without-project conditions are identified;

(B) the array of alternatives to be considered are identified; and

(C) the preferred alternative is identified.

(3) LIMITATION ON MULTIPLE PEER REVIEW.—Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require the Chief of Engineers to conduct multiple peer reviews for a project study.

(c) Establishment of Panels.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—For each project study subject to peer review under subsection (a), as soon as practicable after the Chief of Engineers determines that a project study will be subject to peer review, the Chief of Engineers shall contract with the National Academy of Sciences or a similar independent scientific and technical advisory organization or an eligible organization to establish a panel of experts to conduct a peer review for the project study.

(2) MEMBERSHIP.—A panel of experts established for a project study under this section shall be composed of independent experts who represent a balance of areas of expertise suitable for the review being conducted.

(3) LIMITATION ON APPOINTMENTS.—The National Academy of Sciences or any other organization the Chief of Engineers contracts with under paragraph (1) to establish a panel of experts shall apply the National Academy of Science’s policy for selecting committee members to ensure that members selected for the panel of experts have no conflict with the project being reviewed.

(4) CONGRESSIONAL NOTIFICATION.—Upon identification of a project study for peer review under this section, but prior to initiation of the review, the Chief of Engineers shall notify the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives of the review.

(d) Duties of Panels.—A panel of experts established for a peer review for a project study under this section shall—

(1) conduct the peer review for the project study;

(2) assess the adequacy and acceptability of the economic, engineering, and environmental methods, models, and analyses used by the Chief of Engineers;

(3) receive from the Chief of Engineers the public written and oral comments provided to the Chief of Engineers;

(4) provide timely written and oral comments to the Chief of Engineers throughout the development of the project study, as requested; and

(5) submit to the Chief of Engineers a final report containing the panel’s economic, engineering, and environmental analysis of the project study, including the panel’s assessment of the adequacy and acceptability of the economic, engineering, and environmental methods, models, and analyses used by the Chief of Engineers, to accompany the publication of the report of the Chief of Engineers for the project.

(e) Duration of Project Study Peer Reviews.—

(1) DEADLINE.—A panel of experts established under this section shall—

(A) complete its peer review under this section for a project study and submit a report to the Chief of Engineers under subsection (d)(5) not more than 60 days after the last day of the public comment period for the draft project study, or, if the Chief of Engineers determines that a longer period of time is necessary, such period of time determined necessary by the Chief of Engineers; and

(B) terminate on the date of initiation of the State and agency review required by the first section of the Flood Control Act of December 22, 1944 (58 Stat. 887).

(2) FAILURE TO MEET DEADLINE.—If a panel of experts does not complete its peer review of a project study under this section and submit a report to the Chief of Engineers under subsection (d)(5) on or before the deadline established by paragraph (1) for the peer review, the Chief of Engineers shall complete the project study without delay.

(f) Recommendations of Panel.—

(1) CONSIDERATION BY THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS.—After receiving a report on a project study from a panel of experts under this section and before entering a final record of decision for the project, the Chief of Engineers shall consider any recommendations contained in the report and prepare a written response for any recommendations adopted or not adopted.

(2) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY AND TRANSMITTAL TO CONGRESS.—After receiving a report on a project study from a panel of experts under this section, the Chief of Engineers shall—

(A) make a copy of the report and any written response of the Chief of Engineers on recommendations contained in the report available to the public by electronic means, including the Internet; and

(B) transmit to the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a copy of the report, together with any such written response, on the date of a final report of the Chief of Engineers or other final decision document for the project study.

(g) Costs.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The costs of a panel of experts established for a peer review under this section—

(A) shall be a Federal expense; and

(B) shall not exceed $500,000.

(2) WAIVER.—The Chief of Engineers may waive the $500,000 limitation contained in paragraph (1)(B) in cases that the Chief of Engineers determines appropriate.

(h) Applicability.—This section shall apply to—

(1) project studies initiated during the 2-year period preceding the date of enactment of this Act and for which the array of alternatives to be considered has not been identified; and

(2) project studies initiated during the period beginning on such date of enactment and ending 7 years after such date of enactment.

(i) Reports.—

(1) INITIAL REPORT.—Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this section, the Chief of Engineers shall submit to the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a report on the implementation of this section.

(2) ADDITIONAL REPORT.—Not later than 6 years after the date of enactment of this section, the Chief of Engineers shall update the report under paragraph (1) taking into account any further information on implementation of this section and submit such updated report to the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives.

(j) Nonapplicability of FACA.—The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to a peer review panel established under this section.

(k) Savings Clause.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect any authority of the Chief of Engineers to cause or conduct a peer review of a water resources project existing on the date of enactment of this section.

(l) Definitions.—In this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) PROJECT STUDY.—The term “project study” means—

(A) a feasibility study or reevaluation study for a water resources project, including the environmental impact statement prepared for the study; and

(B) any other study associated with a modification of a water resources project that includes an environmental impact statement, including the environmental impact statement prepared for the study.

(2) AFFECTED STATE.—The term “affected State”, as used with respect to a water resources project, means a State all or a portion of which is within the drainage basin in which the project is or would be located and would be economically or environmentally affected as a consequence of the project.

(3) ELIGIBLE ORGANIZATION.—The term “eligible organization” means an organization that—

(A) is described in section 501(c)(3), and exempt from Federal tax under section 501(a), of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;

(B) is independent;

(C) is free from conflicts of interest;

(D) does not carry out or advocate for or against Federal water resources projects; and

(E) has experience in establishing and administering peer review panels.

(4) TOTAL COST.—The term “total cost”, as used with respect to a water resources project, means the cost of construction (including planning and designing) of the project. In the case of a project for hurricane and storm damage reduction or flood damage reduction that includes periodic nourishment over the life of the project, the term includes the total cost of the nourishment.

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SEC. 2035. SAFETY ASSURANCE REVIEW.

(a) Projects Subject to Safety Assurance Review.—The Chief of Engineers shall ensure that the design and construction activities for hurricane and storm damage reduction and flood damage reduction projects are reviewed by independent experts under this section if the Chief of Engineers determines that a review by independent experts is necessary to assure public health, safety, and welfare.

(b) Factors.—In determining whether a review of design and construction of a project is necessary under this section, the Chief of Engineers shall consider whether—

(1) the failure of the project would pose a significant threat to human life;
(2) the project involves the use of innovative materials or techniques;
(3) the project design lacks redundancy; or
(4) the project has a unique construction sequencing or a reduced or overlapping design construction schedule.

(c) Safety Assurance Review.—

(1) INITIATION OF REVIEW.—At the appropriate point in the development of detailed engineering and design specifications for each water resources project subject to review under this section, the Chief of Engineers shall initiate a safety assurance review by independent experts on the design and construction activities for the project.

(2) SELECTION OF REVIEWERS.—A safety assurance review under this section shall include participation by experts selected by the Chief of Engineers from among individuals who are distinguished experts in engineering, hydrology, or other appropriate disciplines. The Chief of Engineers shall apply the National Academy of Science’s policy for selecting reviewers to ensure that reviewers have no conflict of interest with the project being reviewed.

(3) COMPENSATION.—An individual serving as an independent reviewer under this section shall be compensated at a rate of pay to be determined by the Secretary and shall be allowed travel expenses.

(d) Scope of Safety Assurance Reviews.—A safety assurance review under this section shall include a review of the design and construction activities prior to the initiation of physical construction and periodically thereafter until construction activities are completed on a regular schedule sufficient to inform the Chief of Engineers on the adequacy, appropriateness, and acceptability of the design and construction activities for the purpose of assuring public health, safety, and welfare. The Chief of Engineers shall ensure that reviews under this section do not create any unnecessary delays in design and construction activities.

(e) Safety Assurance Review Record.—The written recommendations of a reviewer or panel of reviewers under this section and the responses of the Chief of Engineers shall be available to the public, including through electronic means on the Internet.

(f) Applicability.—This section shall apply to any project in design or under construction on the date of enactment of this Act and to any project with respect to which design or construction is initiated during the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending 7 years after such date of enactment.

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SEC. 7004. COASTAL LOUISIANA ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION AND RESTORATION TASK FORCE.

(a) Establishment.—There is established a task force to be known as the Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Protection and Restoration Task Force (in this section referred to as the “Task Force”).

(b) Membership.—The Task Force shall consist of the following members (or, in the case of the head of a Federal agency, a designee of the head of the agency at the level of Assistant Secretary or an equivalent level):

(1) The Secretary.
(2) The Secretary of the Interior.
(3) The Secretary of Commerce.
(4) The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
(5) The Secretary of Agriculture.
(6) The Secretary of Transportation.
(7) The Secretary of Energy.
(8) The Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
(9) The Commandant of the Coast Guard.
(10) The Chair of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana.
(11) Two representatives of the State of Louisiana selected by the Governor.

(c) Duties.—The Task Force shall make recommendations to the Secretary regarding—

(1) policies, strategies, plans, programs, projects, and activities for addressing conservation, protection, restoration, and maintenance of the coastal Louisiana ecosystem;

(2) financial participation by each agency represented on the Task Force in conserving, protecting, restoring, and maintaining the coastal Louisiana ecosystem, including recommendations—

(A) that identify funds from current agency missions and budgets; and

(B) for coordinating individual agency budget requests; and

(3) the comprehensive plan to be developed under section 7002(a).

(d) Report.— The Task Force shall submit to Congress a biennial report that summarizes the activities and recommendations of the Task Force.

(e) Working Groups.—

(1) GENERAL AUTHORITY.—The Task Force may establish such working groups as the Task Force determines to be necessary to assist the Task Force in carrying out this section.

(2) HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA.—

(A) INTEGRATION TEAM.—The Task Force shall establish a working group for the purpose of advising the Task Force of opportunities to integrate the planning, engineering, design, implementation, and performance of Corps of Engineers projects for hurricane and storm damage reduction, flood damage reduction, ecosystem restoration, and navigation in those areas in Louisiana for which a major disaster has been declared by the President as a result of Hurricane Katrina or Rita.

(B) EXPERTISE; REPRESENTATION.—In establishing the working group under subparagraph (A), the Task Force shall ensure that the group—

(i) has expertise in coastal estuaries, diversions, coastal restoration and wetlands protection, ecosystem restoration, hurricane protection, storm damage reduction systems, navigation, and ports; and

(ii) represents the State of Louisiana and local governments in southern Louisiana.

(C) DUTIES.—In developing its recommendations under this subsection, the working group shall—

(i) review reports relating to the performance of, and recommendations relating to the future performance of, the hurricane, coastal, and flood protection systems in southern Louisiana, including the reports issued by the Interagency Performance Evaluation Team, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and Team Louisiana for the purpose of advising the Task Force and the Secretary on opportunities to improve the performance of the protection systems;

(ii) assist in providing reviews under section 2035; and

(iii) carry out such other duties as the Task Force or the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

(f) Compensation.—Members of the Task Force and members of a working group established by the Task Force may not receive compensation for their services as members of the Task Force or working group, as the case may be.

(g) Travel Expenses.—Travel expenses incurred by members of the Task Force and members of a working group established by the Task Force, in the performance of their service on the Task Force or working group, as the case may be, shall be paid by the agency or entity that the member represents.

(h) Nonapplicability of FACA.—The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Task Force or any working group established by the Task Force.

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