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Title of Law:Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012
Law #:Public Law 112- 74
Passed by Congress:112th 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.)

HR2055 Culberson (R-Texas) 12/17/11
Enrolled (finally passed both houses)
Making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes.
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TITLE VIII

GENERAL PROVISIONS

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(INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

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Sec. 8111. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Secretary of Defense to take beneficial occupancy of more than 2,000 parking spaces (other than handicap-reserved spaces) to be provided by the BRAC 133 project: Provided, That this limitation may be waived in part if: (1) the Secretary of Defense certifies to Congress that levels of service at existing intersections in the vicinity of the project have not experienced failing levels of service as defined by the Transportation Research Board Highway Capacity Manual over a consecutive 90-day period; (2) the Department of Defense and the Virginia Department of Transportation agree on the number of additional parking spaces that may be made available to employees of the facility subject to continued 90-day traffic monitoring; and (3) the Secretary of Defense notifies the congressional defense committees in writing at least 14 days prior to exercising this waiver of the number of additional parking spaces to be made available: Provided further, That the Secretary of Defense shall implement the Department of Defense Inspector General recommendations outlined in report number DODIG-2012-024, and certify to Congress not later than 180 days after enactment of this Act that the recommendations have been implemented.

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TITLE V

GENERAL PROVISIONS

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Sec. 550. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be obligated for construction of the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility until the Department of Homeland Security—

(1) completes 50 percent of design planning for the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility;

(2) submits to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives a revised site-specific biosafety and biosecurity mitigation risk assessment that describes how to significantly reduce risks of conducting essential research and diagnostic testing at the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility and addresses shortcomings identified in the National Academy of Sciences’ evaluation of the initial site-specific biosafety and biosecurity mitigation risk assessment; and

(3) submits to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives the results of the National Academy of Sciences’ review of the risk assessment as described in subsection (c).

(b) The revised site-specific biosafety and biosecurity mitigation risk assessment required by subsection (a) shall—

(1) include a quantitative risk assessment for foot-and-mouth disease virus, in particular epidemiological and economic impact modeling to determine the overall risk of operating the facility for its expected 50-year life span, taking into account strategies to mitigate risk of foot-and-mouth disease virus release from the laboratory and ensure safe operations at the approved National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility site;

(2) address the impact of surveillance, response, and mitigation plans (developed in consultation with local, State, and Federal authorities and appropriate stakeholders) if a release occurs, to detect and control the spread of disease; and

(3) include overall risks of the most dangerous pathogens the Department of Homeland Security expects to hold in the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility’s biosafety level 4 facility, and effectiveness of mitigation strategies to reduce those risks.

(c) The Department of Homeland Security shall enter into a contract with the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate the adequacy and validity of the risk assessment required by subsection (a). The National Academy of Sciences shall submit a report on such evaluation within four months after the date the Department of Homeland Security concludes its risk assessment.

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TITLE I

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

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(INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

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Sec. 127. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Secretary of Defense to take beneficial occupancy of more than 2,000 parking spaces (other than handicap-reserved spaces) to be provided by the BRAC 133 project: Provided, That this limitation may be waived in part if: (1) the Secretary of Defense certifies to Congress that levels of service at existing intersections in the vicinity of the project have not experienced failing levels of service as defined by the Transportation Research Board Highway Capacity Manual over a consecutive 90-day period; (2) the Department of Defense and the Virginia Department of Transportation agree on the number of additional parking spaces that may be made available to employees of the facility subject to continued 90-day traffic monitoring; and (3) the Secretary of Defense notifies the congressional defense committees in writing at least 14 days prior to exercising this waiver of the number of additional parking spaces to be made available: Provided further, That the Secretary of Defense shall implement the Department of Defense Inspector General recommendations outlined in report number DODIG-2012-024, and certify to Congress not later than 180 days after enactment of this Act that the recommendations have been implemented.

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HRpt 112-331 - To accompany H.R. 2055 – Making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes
Conference Committee
(12/15/11)
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DIVISION A—DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2012

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TITLE VIII

GENERAL PROVISIONS

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(INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

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Sec. 8111. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Secretary of Defense to take beneficial occupancy of more than 2,000 parking spaces (other than handicap-reserved spaces) to be provided by the BRAC 133 project: Provided, That this limitation may be waived in part if: (1) the Secretary of Defense certifies to Congress that levels of service at existing intersections in the vicinity of the project have not experienced failing levels of service as defined by the Transportation Research Board Highway Capacity Manual over a consecutive 90-day period; (2) the Department of Defense and the Virginia Department of Transportation agree on the number of additional parking spaces that may be made available to employees of the facility subject to continued 90-day traffic monitoring; and (3) the Secretary of Defense notifies the congressional defense committees in writing at least 14 days prior to exercising this waiver of the number of additional parking spaces to be made available: Provided further, That the Secretary of Defense shall implement the Department of Defense Inspector General recommendations outlined in report number DODIG-2012-024, and certify to Congress not later than 180 days after enactment of this Act that the recommendations have been implemented.

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DIVISION D—DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2012

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TITLE V

GENERAL PROVISIONS

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Sec. 550. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be obligated for construction of the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility until the Department of Homeland Security—

(1) completes 50 percent of design planning for the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility;

(2) submits to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives a revised site-specific biosafety and biosecurity mitigation risk assessment that describes how to significantly reduce risks of conducting essential research and diagnostic testing at the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility and addresses shortcomings identified in the National Academy of Sciences’ evaluation of the initial site-specific biosafety and biosecurity mitigation risk assessment; and

(3) submits to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives the results of the National Academy of Sciences’ review of the risk assessment as described in subsection (c).

(b) The revised site-specific biosafety and biosecurity mitigation risk assessment required by subsection (a) shall—

(1) include a quantitative risk assessment for foot-and-mouth disease virus, in particular epidemiological and economic impact modeling to determine the overall risk of operating the facility for its expected 50-year life span, taking into account strategies to mitigate risk of foot-and-mouth disease virus release from the laboratory and ensure safe operations at the approved National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility site;

(2) address the impact of surveillance, response, and mitigation plans (developed in consultation with local, State, and Federal authorities and appropriate stakeholders) if a release occurs, to detect and control the spread of disease; and

(3) include overall risks of the most dangerous pathogens the Department of Homeland Security expects to hold in the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility’s biosafety level 4 facility, and effectiveness of mitigation strategies to reduce those risks.

(c) The Department of Homeland Security shall enter into a contract with the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate the adequacy and validity of the risk assessment required by subsection (a). The National Academy of Sciences shall submit a report on such evaluation within four months after the date the Department of Homeland Security concludes its risk assessment.

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DIVISION H—MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2012

TITLE I

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, ARMY

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(INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

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Sec. 127. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Secretary of Defense to take beneficial occupancy of more than 2,000 parking spaces (other than handicap-reserved spaces) to be provided by the BRAC 133 project: Provided, That this limitation may be waived in part if: (1) the Secretary of Defense certifies to Congress that levels of service at existing intersections in the vicinity of the project have not experienced failing levels of service as defined by the Transportation Research Board Highway Capacity Manual over a consecutive 90-day period; (2) the Department of Defense and the Virginia Department of Transportation agree on the number of additional parking spaces that may be made available to employees of the facility subject to continued 90-day traffic monitoring; and (3) the Secretary of Defense notifies the congressional defense committees in writing at least 14 days prior to exercising this waiver of the number of additional parking spaces to be made available: Provided further, That the Secretary of Defense shall implement the Department of Defense Inspector General recommendations outlined in report number DODIG-2012-024, and certify to Congress not later than 180 days after enactment of this Act that the recommendations have been implemented.

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BUREAU OF RECLAMATION

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WATER AND RELATED RESOURCES

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Buried Metallic Water Pipe.—The conferees are aware of several concerns regarding implementation and review of Reclamation’s Technical Memorandum 8140-CC-2004-1 (“Corrosion Considerations for Buried Metallic Water Pipe”). Specifically, the conferees are concerned that Reclamation’s use of this memorandum may be holding different materials to different standards of reliability and increasing project costs unnecessarily. Therefore, Reclamation should not use the memorandum as the sole basis to deny funding or approval of a project or to disqualify any material from use in highly corrosive soils. Additionally, the conferees direct Reclamation to follow the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences to assemble data on pipeline reliability for all types of pipe specified in Table 2 of Technical Memorandum 8140-CC-2004-1 along with the specified corrosion protection applied in the various soil types (“Review of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Corrosion Prevention Standards for Ductile Iron Pipe” (2009)) and to conduct an analysis of the performance of these types of pipe installed in the same or similar conditions. This review should also include an analysis of the economics, cost-effectiveness and life-cycle costs associated with the various materials under evaluation.

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TITLE III

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

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H-Canyon.Instead of the House requirement to provide funding to the National Academy of Sciences, the Department shall conduct its own review to explore the full range of potential uses for the chemical processing areas of H-Canyon at the Savannah River Site and report back to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations within 3 months of enactment of this Act. The options considered should not be limited to uses by the Office of Environmental Management, but should incorporate uses which may contribute to meeting the goals of other program offices within the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

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ENERGY PROGRAMS

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY

(INCLUDING RECISSION OF FUNDS)

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Vehicle Technologies.—The conference agreement includes $28,244,000 for lightweight materials, to include $4,000,000 for modeling and design for vehicle optimization. The conferees provide $28,000,000 for Vehicle Technologies Deployment, of which $3,000,000 is to commission a National Academies study on electric vehicle market barriers, as directed in the House report.

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DEPARTMENTAL ADMINISTRATION

The conference agreement provides $237,623,000 for Departmental Administration as proposed by the Senate, instead of $63,374,000 as proposed by the House. The conferees provide $1,000,000 within available funds to contract with the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) for an independent review of the management and oversight of the Department’s national laboratories. NAPA should consider such issues as whether existing laboratory performance metrics for the Department’s management and operations contractors measure critical aspects of their performance and how the Department utilizes performance metrics and data. NAPA should coordinate with the GAO and the National Academy of Sciences over the course of its study to prevent duplication of effort by using the results of their studies to the extent that they are available. NAPA should submit a report with its findings, conclusions, and recommendations no later than 9 months after the Department has contracted with NAPA pursuant to this directive.

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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

SALARIES AND EXPENSES

The conference agreement provides $1,027,240,000 for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) salaries and expenses, as proposed by the Senate, instead of $1,037,240,000 as proposed by the House. This amount is offset by estimated revenues of $899,726,000, resulting in a net appropriation of $127,514,000. The fee recovery is consistent with that authorized by section 637 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The conference agreement does not include $20,000,000 to be made available from the Nuclear Waste Fund to support the geological repository for nuclear fuel and waste, as proposed by the House. The Senate proposed no similar provision.

The conference agreement includes a National Academy of Sciences study of the lessons learned from the events at the Fukushima nuclear plant, as proposed by the Senate. The Commission is directed to transfer $2,000,000 to the National Academy of Sciences for this study within 30 days of enactment of this Act.

The conference agreement includes $15,000,000, as proposed by the House, to support university education programs relevant to the NRC mission, of which not less than $5,000,000 is for grants to support research projects that do not align with programmatic missions but are critical to maintaining the discipline of nuclear science and engineering.

The conferees recognize the progress that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made on the recommendations of the Near Term Task Force. Commission staff has proposed a prioritized list of the Task Force recommendations that reflects the order regulatory actions are to be taken. The conferees direct the Commission to implement these recommendations consistent with, or more expeditiously than, the “schedules and milestones” proposed by NRC staff on October 3, 2011. The conferees direct the Commission to maintain an implementation schedule such that the remaining recommendations (not identified as Tier 1 priorities) will be evaluated and acted upon as expeditiously as practicable. The conferees request that the Commission provide a written status report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations on its implementation of the Task Force recommendations on the one year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster.

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TITLE III—PROTECTION, PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE, AND RECOVERY

NATIONAL PROTECTION AND PROGRAMS DIRECTORATE

MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION

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RISK MANAGEMENT AND ANALYSIS

A recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report highlighted several shortcomings in the NPPD Office of Risk Management and Analysis (RMA) program. While the NAS study concluded that the basic risk framework used by RMA is a sound approach to assessing risk, it identified other significant deficiencies in the Office’s risk analysis approach, limiting the level of confidence with which it can be used to support DHS decision-making. The NAS recommended major reforms to the current approach, but to date the Department has not submitted a plan to reform RMA. Such lack of needed reforms is unacceptable in the current fiscally constrained environment. Therefore, the Secretary has been provided the authority to transfer up to $4,241,000 to the DHS Office of Policy, subject to notification, in order to reform and improve oversight of the Department’s risk management and analysis functions. A transfer is also designed to elevate the importance of a strong risk modeling, analysis, and strategic planning function within the Department. If the Secretary does not submit a notification to transfer the risk management function to the Office of Policy, the funds shall be used to effect the orderly termination of RMA by March 30, 2012.

The Committees must receive the notification for such a transfer no later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act. Further, no later than the date upon which the notification is submitted, the Secretary shall provide to the Committees a plan identifying and justifying the specific risk modeling, analysis, and strategic planning functions of value and use to the Department and its individual components. The plan is to include the funding and personnel being allocated to each function and any reforms being made, including those undertaken in response to the NAS findings.

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TITLE IV--RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, TRAINING, AND SERVICES

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LABORATORY FACILITIES (OPERATIONS AND CONSTRUCTION)

A total of $176,500,000 is provided for Laboratory Facilities (Operations and Construction), of which $50,000,000 shall be to support the construction of the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF), and of which $18,200,000 shall be for infrastructure upgrades at the Transportation Security Laboratory as requested. Section 550 in the Act restricts funds appropriated in this Act for NBAF construction until the Department of Homeland Security completes 50 percent design planning for the NBAF, submits a revised site-specific biosafety and biosecurity mitigation risk assessment, and submits the National Academy of Sciences’ review of the revised risk assessment. In addition, the revised site-specific biosafety and biosecurity mitigation risk assessment is to include a plan for expenditure of funds related to NBAF construction and a revised estimate of the total construction costs to complete the facility.

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DIVISION E--DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2012

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NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

OPERATION OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM

The bill provides $2,240,152,000 for the Operation of the National Park System account.

Civil War Sesquicentennial.—In observances marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Service is urged to recognize the historic, social, legal, racial, cultural and political forces that caused the Civil War and influenced its course and outcomes.

Technical Assistance.—The Service is encouraged to support the effort of NPS retirees to provide volunteer technical assistance to national parks in other countries.

Historic Leases.—The Service is encouraged to pursue the use of cost-effective, innovative solutions like historic leases when practical and when the arrangement comports with a park unit’s enabling legislation.

Flight 93 Memorial.—The conferees remain firmly committed to the timely completion of the Flight 93 Memorial and direct the Service to devote the resources necessary to properly archive, maintain, and preserve the invaluable collections, including 50,000 personal tributes and 2,000 hours of audio interviews, associated with this memorial.

National Capitol Area Performing Arts Program.—The conferees direct the Service to maintain funding for the National Capital Area Performing Arts Program and have included $612,000 for the summer concert series staged on the U.S. Capitol grounds.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park.—The Service is encouraged to continue its work with surrounding communities to support the local road systems and establish maintenance priorities.

Statue of Liberty and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and Visitor Center.—The conferees have provided an increase of $1,100,000 million as requested within Park Protection for additional Park Police protection at the Statue of Liberty and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

Sequoia National Park.—The conference agreement does not include report language contained in the House report nor bill language proposed by the Senate directing the Department of the Interior to report on the methodology used in calculating hydropower fees on National Park Service lands. The conferees understand that this issue has been settled and the need for the report no longer exists.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, Appalachian National Scenic Trail.—The conferees are concerned about delays in completing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) announced by the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior regarding improvement of electric transmission lines partially lying within the boundaries of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The National Park Service and the Department are directed to adhere to the previously announced schedule and publish a final Record of Decision (ROD) by October of 2012.

Historic Properties.—The conferees are concerned that a proposal to remove the Fresnel lens currently installed at the Block Island Southeast Lighthouse in Rhode Island will have an adverse impact on this historic property. As such, the conferees direct the Service to report to and consult with the Committees on Appropriations prior to facilitating the transfer of the lens or accepting the lens for display at any unit within the System.

Point Reyes National Seashore.The conferees are aware that the Service will shortly be issuing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) regarding a possible 10-year extension for oyster operations at Point Reyes National Seashore. Because of concerns relating to the validity of the science underlying the DEIS, the conferees direct the National Academy of Sciences to assess the data, analysis, and conclusions in the DEIS in order to ensure there is a solid scientific foundation for the Final Environmental Impact Statement expected in mid-2012.

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TITLE II

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

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Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).—In lieu of the directives contained in H. Rept. 112-151 regarding the Integrated Risk Information System, the conferees agree to the following:

(1) Fundamental improvements to the policies and practices of this program are necessary to ensure that IRIS assessments reflect the highest standard of scientific inquiry.

(2) The Agency shall incorporate, as appropriate, based on chemical-specific datasets and biological effects, the recommendations of Chapter 7 of the National Research Council’s Review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft IRIS Assessment of Formaldehyde into the IRIS process.

(3) The Agency shall issue a progress report to House and Senate Committees on Appropriations and relevant Congressional authorizing committees no later than March 1, 2012, describing its implementation of the National Research Council’s Chapter 7 recommendations for ongoing and new assessments.

(4) For draft assessments released in fiscal year 2012, the Agency shall include documentation describing how the Chapter 7 recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) have been implemented or addressed, including an explanation for why certain recommendations were not incorporated.

(5) The Agency shall contract with NAS to conduct up to three reviews of IRIS assessments that EPA seeks to make final. Reviews shall include an evaluation of whether the recommendations it made in previous reviews, including in Chapter 7 of the National Research Council’s Review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft IRIS Assessment of Formaldehyde, have been implemented. Reviews are not intended to unduly delay the Agency’s risk assessment process. The conferees further direct NAS to complete any reviews authorized by this paragraph by no later than 18 months after the date that EPA and the NAS have agreed to the terms of the review. One of these NAS reviews shall be a study of the cancer and non-cancer hazards from oral exposure to inorganic arsenic. The NAS review of inorganic arsenic shall incorporate the direction provided in House Report 112-151 regarding parameters of the study. Additional reviews will be chosen by NAS from a representational sample of IRIS assessments and NAS will notify Congress directly of these choices.

(6) Further, the conferees strongly believe any current and future IRIS assessments must not only be grounded in sound, objective, and peer-reviewed science and methodologies but should also provide risk managers with realistic values that will result in enhanced protection of human health.

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TITLE II

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

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CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

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CHRONIC DISEASE PREVENTION AND HEALTH PROMOTION

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The conferees are pleased to learn that CDC has decided to retain the Division of Oral Health. This action is supported by a recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report titled “Advancing Oral Health in America” that recommends oral health be given a high priority within HHS. This decision will allow CDC to focus on the prevention and elimination of oral disease, support state oral health infrastructure programs, and improve the coordination of oral health activities with other chronic disease prevention activities.

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH

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Cures Acceleration Network (CAN).—The conferees provide NCATS with up to $10,000,000 to support the CAN Board and related activities. The conferees expect a high bar for any use of waiver authority for CAN grant matching funds; any use should be extremely limited to maximize funds towards the CAN goals. The conferees encourage the CAN Board to create general principles and measurable outcomes to track success. The conferees request NCATS to charter an Institute of Medicine (IOM) work group to review, evaluate, and identify issues related to the CAN authority and provide a report for use by the CAN Board to help it identify ways to accelerate and expand the number of cures. The report should include a survey and inventory of activities at NIH, FDA, AHRQ, CDC, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), and in the private sector that relate to the CAN program. The conferees urge IOM to include balanced participation by the entities listed above as well as the representatives of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and the biotech venture capital community. The report should address patent authority, marketability, use of high-throughput analysis, regulatory timelines, and cost structure issues related to the purpose of CAN.

Accelerating Commercialization of Therapies to Patients.—The conferees understand the need to develop models to assist research universities and institutes on the best ways to leverage and commercialize federally supported basic and applied biomedical research discoveries. This is a key reason why the conferees have agreed to create NCATS. The conferees note the market has started to develop public-private sector models that are beginning to show results in translating basic research far more quickly than traditional models. These types of models use pre-defined technology-licensing terms to rapidly license new products and build a core of options for commercialization partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to establish joint ventures to further advance products to the market. The conferees strongly urge NIH to study and foster these models.

The conferees expect any NIH-supported partnerships to expand translational pharmaceutical development in a manner that does not inhibit creative market models. Top priorities of the Center should include developing tools to improve the “de-risking” process and advancing the drug development process to the point at which it can reasonably be expected to be picked up by the private sector. The conferees suggest the selection of Center projects should consider future market acceptance as one component of the criteria to evaluate and select potential Center projects. The conferees direct NIH to host a trans-NIH workshop with key research organizations, venture capitalists, pharmaceutical firms, the PTO, the FDA, and a sample of research universities and institutes to work together with NIH and the drug development market. The workshop should also consider how existing NIH and government mechanisms can be used to encourage models around the country to speed commercialization of therapies through a market-based approach.

Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs).—The conferees are encouraged by the success of the CTSA consortium and recommend the program receive full funding as it nears full implementation. The conferees expect the NCATS Director to ensure the current focus on the full spectrum of translational research is maintained, and CTSA resources are not diverted. The inclusion of patient-centered research, community engagement, training, dissemination science, and behavioral research is extremely important to the translation and application of basic science discoveries and success of the CTSAs. CTSAs now represent an investment of half a decade of innovation in translational research. To ensure the benefits of this investment are maintained, the conferees urge NIH to support a study by the IOM that would evaluate the CTSA program and recommend whether changes to the current mission are needed. The review should include stakeholders’ input and be available no later than 18 months after the enactment of this bill.

Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Disease (TRND) Program.—The conferees continue support for TRND at a level of $24,000,000 within NCATS. The conferees urge NIH to provide an annual report on the TRND program that identifies the number of projects started each year, cost per project, and the outcome of each project. The first report should be provided to the Committees on Appropriations by July 1, 2012.

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Neuroblastoma.—The conferees note the promising results of a recent clinical trial using a chimeric antibody to treat newly diagnosed neuroblastoma patients. The conferees support efforts to facilitate access to this new therapy for relapsed patients and request an update in the fiscal year 2013 congressional budget request.

Clinical Trials.The conferees are aware of a 2010 IOM study on clinical trials that identified a number of concerns which may apply across all ICs.

The conferees direct NIH to conduct a trans-NIH review of the applicability of the 12 IOM recommendations to all NIH ICs that conduct clinical trials. The review should examine ways to develop and strengthen NIH-wide policies with a focus on opportunities to improve the incorporation of innovative science, increase speed of initiation and completion, improve the means of setting priorities, and develop better incentives for participation in clinical trials.

The conferees note the report found it takes over 900 days to open a clinical trial, but trials supported through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act developed methods to open studies within 90 days. The conferees encourage NIH to consider guidance to incorporate the 90-day opening model into other NIH-wide clinical trial activity.

The review should examine the policies of each IC regarding funding for variable accrual costs per case, and ensure consistent guidelines across NIH. Specifically, the review should examine the viability and effect on speed of opening trials of a multi-tier system in which payments for cost-per-accrual vary according to the time required to open the trial. Furthermore, the review should examine the methods and processes ICs use to prioritize clinical trials based on peer-review input, funding, and other ways to optimize selection of studies.

The conferees request a report by September 30, 2012, that identifies the findings, proposed policy changes, implementation timeline, and key measures NIH will use to monitor clinical trial activity.

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OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY

GENERAL DEPARTMENTAL MANAGEMENT

The conference agreement includes $475,221,000 for General Departmental Management. In addition, the conference agreement includes $69,211,000 in funding from the Public Health Service program evaluation set-aside.

Within the funds for the Office of the Secretary, the conference agreement designates $1,000,000 for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources to begin implementing a new, integrated system that can accurately track and report the Department’s finances, including by source year of the appropriation.

The conference agreement provides $9,000,000 for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.

The conference agreement provides $250,000 for the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services, $1,000,000 for a competitive grant program to provide assistance regarding transportation assistance for individuals with disabilities, $1,000,000 to continue the national health education program on lupus for healthcare providers, and $3,010,000 to continue the preventing violence against women initiative, all as proposed in Senate Report 112-84.

In addition, the conference agreement includes $1,000,000 for the Assistant Secretary for Health to contract with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a scientific peer review of the 12th Report on Carcinogens determinations related to formaldehyde and styrene. Included in the review should be all relevant, peer-reviewed research related to both formaldehyde and styrene.

The conference agreement includes no funding for the Adolescent Family Life program, as proposed in the budget request.

The conference agreement provides $104,790,000 for the teenage pregnancy prevention initiative. In addition, $8,455,000 is to be derived from the Public Health Service program evaluation set-aside, including $4,000,000 to carry out evaluations (including longitudinal evaluations) of teenage pregnancy prevention approaches.

The conference agreement also includes $5,000,000 for an abstinence education program.

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TITLE I

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE BASE CLOSURE ACCOUNT 2005

The conference agreement appropriates $258,776,000 for the Department of Defense Base Closure Account 2005, as proposed by both the House and Senate. The conferees note that significant bid savings have been realized in the BRAC 2005 military construction program, primarily as a result of the favorable bid climate over the past several years, and believe that these savings should be used to offset current BRAC 2005 requirements as well as current and projected requirements of the Homeowners Assistance Program. The conferees therefore are rescinding $258,776,000 from previous BRAC 2005 appropriations (Sec. 132 of Administrative Provisions) to offset the fiscal 2012 request. Additionally, the conferees direct the Department to use the transfer authority provided elsewhere in this Act to transfer sufficient unobligated balances from the BRAC 2005 account to the Homeowners Assistance Program to address eligible claims for benefits, including permanent change of station benefits, submitted through September 30, 2012.

BRAC 133.—On November 30, 2011, the Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG) released report number DODIG 2012-024, which found that the Army’s transportation management plan for Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) recommendation #133 (Mark Center) was based on faulty data, rendering the transportation plan’s findings and conclusions unreliable. Further, the Inspector General found that the traffic studies used to develop the plan do not address the totality of issues related to site ingress and egress, nor will the plan achieve its goal of reducing single-occupancy vehicle utilization. The conferees find the analysis as outlined in the DODIG’s report deeply troubling. Equally troubling is the Army’s refusal to even consider the DODIG’s recommendations.

In an effort to mitigate traffic congestion surrounding the Mark Center site, the conference agreement includes a limitation on the number of parking spaces the Department may utilize at the Mark Center to no more than 2,000, with the exception of disabled parking spaces. The limitation may be waived in part, but not in whole, if the Secretary of Defense certifies that none of the intersections surrounding the Mark Center reach failing levels of service “e” or “f,” as defined by the Transportation Research Board Highway Capacity Manual, during a consecutive 90-day period.

Should the intersections currently undergoing traffic monitoring surrounding the Mark Center be deemed as not to have reached failing levels of service, the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) must agree to the number of additional spaces that may be utilized at the Mark Center, which would then be subject to another 90-day traffic monitoring program. To ensure that the Department adequately plans and mitigates traffic generated by the BRAC #133 development, the Department is directed to implement the DODIG’s recommendations outlined in report number DODIG-2012-024, and certify to Congress not later than 180 days after enactment of this Act that the recommendations have been implemented.

The conferees recognize that the employees that work at the Mark Center bear no fault in the poor planning and execution of the transportation management plan. The conferees therefore strongly encourage the Department of Defense to examine mandatory commuting alternatives such as telework, flexible work schedules, satellite parking facilities with dedicated shuttle service to the Mark Center, parking capacity at the Pentagon, additional ridesharing and public transit incentives and all other means to ensure that Mark Center employees can commute to and from work without undue burden.

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HRpt 112-118 - To accompany H.R. 2354 – Making appropriations for energy and water development for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes.
House Appropriations
(06/24/11)
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ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, DEMONSTRATION, AND DEPLOYMENT

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Vehicle Technologies.—Transportation accounts for approximately two-thirds of the petroleum used in the United States, and the Vehicle Technologies program aims to lower this critical sector’s dependence on imported oil through advancements that increase the fuel efficiency of vehicles and develop new vehicles not reliant on petroleum-based fuels. The Committee recommends $254,000,000 for Vehicle Technologies, $46,000,000 below fiscal year 2011 and $334,003,000 below the budget request.

The budget request proposes $229,000,000 for Vehicle Technologies Deployment, including more than $200,000,000 for new activities to be focused entirely on electric vehicle deployment through local and state grants. The Department proposes to use 75 percent of the proposed budget to fund charging points in public, commercial, and residential locations. Within today’s federal budgetary constraints, the vast majority of charging points must ultimately be funded by municipalities, customers, and the private sector. Further, utilities, automobile manufacturers, and other businesses are actively experimenting with a variety of policies and business models in the rapidly evolving electric vehicle infrastructure landscape. As such, a federal injection of funding for charging points risks disrupting this ongoing experimentation and may crowd out businesses marketing to new or prospective drivers of electrified vehicles. The Committee, however, recognizes that significant policy and procedural barriers exist at the state, utility regulator, and local levels that can slow or prevent the purchase of electric vehicles and the installation of charging points.

The Committee therefore recommends $26,510,000 for Vehicle Technologies Deployment, of which no funding is provided for charging points. The Committee instead recommends up to $3,000,000 from available funds for the Department to commission the National Academies to conduct a study, with input from state utility commissions, electric utilities, automobile manufacturers, selected local governments with recent electric vehicle infrastructure experience, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to identify the market barriers slowing the purchase of electric vehicles and hindering the deployment of supporting infrastructure. The report shall recommend what roles, if any, should be played by the federal government to mitigate those barriers, and shall identify what federal agencies, including the Department of Energy, would be most effective in those roles. Finally, the study shall identify how the Department can best utilize the data on electric vehicle usage already being collected by the Department.

Medium- and heavy-duty trucks consume roughly one-fifth of transportation fuels in the United States, and increasing the efficiency of these vehicles can lower the costs of land-based freight and the industries that depend on it, while greatly reducing the nation’s dependence on imported oil. The Committee is concerned the Department’s budget request proposes to terminate or delay commitments to grants for the SuperTruck program, which focuses on truck efficiency. The Committee supports the termination of underperforming grants that are failing to meet targets, as continued investment in such projects wastes taxpayer dollars. However, the Department has not pointed to any level of underperformance by grantees within the SuperTruck program, but instead the proposed termination seems to be an arbitrary withdrawal from commitments to make room for the Department’s political and policy priorities of the day. If the Department continues to mortgage large amounts of future year appropriations—which can hamper the agency’s ability to adjust its policy priorities—it should be prepared to meet those past financial commitments if projects continue to meet performance goals. Further, the Department should be prepared to terminate failing projects with due cause. If it determines projects are underperforming, the Department should clearly explain deficiencies to grantees. Consistent with this policy, the Committee expects that the Department will meet commitments to prior awards within the SuperTruck program, as it has not communicated any evidence of failure to meet performance targets.

The recommendation includes $28,244,000 for Lightweight Materials Technology, $2,000,000 above the budget request, to support activities that advance lightweight materials, including carbon composites and other materials. Innovations in lightweight materials can increase the efficiency for all vehicle types, including electric drive vehicles and those powered by petroleum-based fuels, biofuels, and hydrogen fuels.

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HRpt 112-75 - To accompany H.R. 2354 – Making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes, reports the same to the Senate with an amendment and recommends that the bill as amended do pass.
Senate Appropriations
(09/07/11)
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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

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National Academy of Sciences Study.—At the recommendation of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, the Committee directs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to contract with the National Academy of Sciences [NAS] for a study of the lessons learned from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The study should assess:

—the causes of the crisis at Fukushima;

—the lessons that can be learned;

—the lessons’ implications for conclusions reached in earlier NAS studies on the safety and security of current storage arrangements for spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste in the United States, including an assessment of whether the amount of spent fuel currently stored in reactor pools should be reduced;

—the lessons’ implications for commercial nuclear reactor safety and security regulations; and

—the potential to improve design basis threats assessment.

This study shall build upon the 2004 NAS study of storage issues and complement the other efforts to learn from Fukushima that have already been launched by the NRC and industry. The Committee directs the Commission to proceed with its own efforts to improve regulations as expeditiously as possible. From the funds made available to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Committee directs the Commission to transfer $2,000,000 to the National Academy of Sciences to undertake this study. The Committee expects the Commission to execute this transfer within 30 days of enactment of this act. The study should be conducted in coordination with the Department of Energy and, if possible, the Japanese Government. The Committee expects the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy, and the Department of State to assist the National Academy of Sciences in obtaining the information it needs to complete this study in a timely manner.

Beyond Design-basis Events.—In light of recent earthquakes that exceeded the design basis of nuclear power plants in both Japan and the United States, the Committee encourages the Commission to evaluate whether it would be appropriate for the Commission to oversee, evaluate and test licensee beyond-design-basis event management guidelines and mitigation strategies in a more comprehensive manner, especially with regard to seismic and flooding events.

Mitigating the Impact of Earthquakes.—The Committee is concerned that risks to public health and safety exist due to a lack of understanding how critical nuclear energy infrastructure, particularly storage ponds and containers for spent nuclear fuel and waste, will respond to a catastrophic earthquake or kinetic impact event. The Committee directs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission [NRC] to develop protocols for the use of existing domestic seismic testing facilities, including the National Science Foundation’s National Earthquake Engineering Simulation [NEES] program, to conduct tests on full-scale specimens of critical nuclear infrastructure, in order to validate related computer models and inform subsequent mitigation strategies. The NRC shall collaborate with NEES to submit a related plan and proposed budget to the Committee by January 23, 2012.

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HRpt 112-151 - To accompany H.R. 2584 – Making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012. House Appropriations
(07/19/11)
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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

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Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).—While the Committee is supportive of the goals of EPA’s IRIS program, fundamental improvements to the policies and practices of this program are necessary to ensure that assessments reflect the highest standard of scientific inquiry. As such, assessments must be based on the best available evidence and evaluated in accordance with established protocols.

Therefore, EPA shall incorporate, as appropriate, based on chemical-specific datasets and biological effects, the recommendations of Chapter 7 of the National Research Council’s Review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft IRIS Assessment of Formaldehyde, into the IRIS process. The Agency shall issue a progress report to the appropriate authorizing and appropriating committees of the Congress no later than December 1, 2011 describing its implementation of the National Research Council’s recommendations for ongoing and new assessments.

Although the Committee does not wish to delay the IRIS process, it is imperative that EPA incorporate best practices to ensure timely and accurate risk assessments. In order to ensure that any action taken by EPA as a result of ongoing and new assessments is based firmly on the principles of modern scientific methods and commonly accepted practices, no funds shall be used to take any administrative action based on any draft or final assessment that does not incorporate the recommendations in Chapter 7 of the National Research Council’s Review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft IRIS Assessment of Formaldehyde as part of the assessment process.

Additionally, no funds shall be used to take any administrative action based on any draft or final assessment which has not fully documented the implementation of the National Academy of Science’s (NAS) recommendations.

The Committee directs EPA to contract with the NAS to conduct up to three reviews of IRIS assessments that EPA seeks to make final. These reviews will include an evaluation of whether the recommendations it made in previous reviews, including in Chapter 7 of the National Research Council’s Review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft IRIS Assessment of Formaldehyde, have been implemented. Of the three studies, the Committee directs the Agency to contract with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study of the cancer and non-cancer hazards from oral exposure to inorganic arsenic. Based on EPA’s performance with the 2010 draft cancer assessment, the need to conduct a comprehensive, independent peer-review of the toxicology of inorganic arsenic, and the significant societal implications of changes in risk management approaches to arsenic, the Committee finds the need to require the NAS to conduct a study of the cancer and non-cancer hazards of inorganic arsenic, and to provide its recommendations regarding the estimated toxicity values for both endpoints based on its analysis. The NAS study should include, but not be limited to, the methodology from which the most recent cancer potency is derived, the 300 studies in the published scientific literature EPA failed to review for its 2010 draft assessment, and an analysis of the dose-response relationship between inorganic arsenic and cancer to determine whether a threshold can be established for safe exposure at low levels. The Committee directs that no further action be taken to post EPA’s 2010 draft cancer assessment of inorganic arsenic as final or for the use of any risk values from this assessment in Federal regulatory or permitting decisions pending the completion of the NAS study. NAS shall choose the remaining two reviews from a representational sample of IRIS assessments and notify Congress directly of these choices.

Furthermore, no funds shall be used for action on any proposed rule, regulation, guidance, goal or permit, issued after May 21, 2009, that would result in the lowering or further lowering of any exposure level that would be within or below background concentration levels in ambient air, public drinking water sources, soil, or sediment.

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