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Title of Law:Department of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001
Law #:Public Law 106-377
Passed by Congress:106th Congress (2nd Session)

The following are excerpts, highlighted in red, from the final legislation and/or conference report which contain National Academies' studies. (Pound signs [##] between passages denote the deletion of unrelated text. Text in green are notes made by the database author and are not part of the legislative language.)

HRpt 106-988 CONFERENCE REPORT to accompany H.R. 4635 MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENTS OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR SUNDRY INDEPENDENT AGENCIES, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS, CORPORATIONS, AND OFFICES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 2001, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Conference Committee
(10/18/00)
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6. $1,900,000 for the National Environmental Respiratory Center at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute. The research should be coordinated with EPA´s overall particulate matter research program and consistent with the recommendations set forth by the National Academy of Sciences report on PM research.

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The conferees direct EPA to contract, within 30 days of enactment of this Act, with the National Academy of Sciences or other appropriate entity for a study of carbon monoxide episodes in meteorological and topographical problem areas, addressing the role of cold weather inversions and addressing public health significance and strategies, including the use of catalytic converter and other cold-start technology, for managing these rare occurrences in national ambient air quality standards non-attainment areas, due mostly to cold weather inversions. One of the major case studies is to be Fairbanks, Alaska, for which there shall be a preliminary report by September 1, 2001 in order to inform the further development of a State Implementation Plan for such area.

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34. $1,000,000 to complete a cumulative impacts study by the National Academy of Sciences of North Slope oil and gas development. (Note: See PL 106-74 for the original text of the study.)

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The conferees direct EPA to contract expeditiously with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for a review of the quality of science used to develop and implement TMDLs, and direct that the final report be submitted to Congress by June 1, 2001. Further, EPA is directed to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the potential State resources which will be required for the development and implementation of TMDLs and present the results of the study to Congress within 120 days of enactment of this Act. In conducting this cost assessment, EPA must, in addition to direction included in Senate Report 106-410, provide an estimate of the annual costs to the regulated community in both the private and public sectors; address concerns regarding the economic analysis performed by the Administrator on regulatory changes to the TMDL program that were identified by the Comptroller General in a June 21, 2000, report; and estimate the costs to small businesses that would result from regulatory changes to the TMDL program. In conducting these analyses, the Administrator shall solicit comment from the Comptroller General, each State, and the public regarding the Agency´s assessment.

In addition, the conferees direct the Agency to prepare an analysis of the monitoring data needed for development and implementation of TMDLs, and further direct EPA Region IX as well as all other EPA Regions and EPA Headquarters not to impose or mandate new TMDL-related requirements or issue new guidance relative to new TMDL-related permits prior to the date the TMDL rule can be implemented under current law.

The conferees understand that in June 2000, EPA released a substantially revised draft dioxin reassessment after five years of considering recommendations from its Science Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB´s November 1995 Report noted numerous weaknesses in the risk characterization and dose-response chapters of the 1994 draft reassessment and directed EPA to ensure that its conclusions were based on a more complete consideration of available scientific studies.

The conferees commend EPA for convening a peer review panel to assess two key sections of the revised reassessment prior to a second SAB review. The conferees are concerned, based on the report of this peer review panel, that EPA´s key conclusions regarding dioxin risks remain controversial and do not completely address questions raised by the SAB in 1995.

The conferees understand that Congressional science and agriculture committees have called for a SAB review of the full dioxin reassessment, including all new information. The conferees further understand that the Department of Agriculture is finalizing an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to understand better the dioxin impacts on the U.S. food supply. Therefore, the conferees strongly encourage the Agency to await completion of these reviews before finalizing its dioxin reassessment.

This direction should not be interpreted to restrict EPA from issuing regulations to control dioxin emissions such as air toxics rules under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which have reduced industrial emissions of dioxin by 90 percent.

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The conferees remain concerned regarding the Agency´s plans to conduct certain dredging or invasive remediation technology activities while these matters remain under study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The pending NAS study is addressing dredging, capping, source control, natural recovery, and disposal of contaminated sediments, and is comparing the risks of each technology. The NAS expects to submit its draft report of this study during Fall 2000 and the conferees strongly encourage the NAS to issue a final report no later than January 1, 2001. Accordingly, the conferees continue to direct the EPA to take no action to initiate or order the use of dredging or invasive remedial technologies where a final plan has not been adopted prior to October 1, 2000 or where such activities are not now occuring until the NAS report has been completed and its findings have been properly considered by the Agency. As in previous years, exceptions are provided for voluntary agreements and for urgent cases where contaminated sediment poses a significant threat to public health.

In adopting this direction to the Agency, the conferees do not intend to prevent EPA from publishing, issuing, or taking public comment on specific proposed or draft remediation plans; but do encourage the Agency to take into account the NAS study when available as it goes through the above process. However, any such plans are not to be finalized until June 30, 2001 or until the Agency has properly considered the NAS report, whichever comes first.

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The conferees do not agree that NASA should conduct a joint study with the National Research Council and the National Academy of Public Administration on the research and analysis portions of NASA´s programs. The conferees urge NASA to take actions to ensure that research and analysis funding is sufficient to support the goals of the various programs. (Note: This refers to a joint NRC/NAPA study proposed in HRpt. 106-674.)

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20. The conferees provided the full amount requested for the EOS follow-on. Within the amount provided, the conferees recommend: $1,500,000 for studies initiating a Landsat-7 follow-on commercial data purchase; $2,000,000 for the Global Precipitation Mission for phase A/B studies and preliminary advanced technology development work; $2,000,000 for the Global Earthquake Satellite for phase A/B studies and preliminary advanced technology development work; $1,500,000 for studies related to the "New DIS" which the conferees believe should emphasize the re-use of the existing system in order to minimize future costs; $35,600,000 for studies and advanced technology development for the NPOESS preparatory project of which $4,000,000 shall be allocated for the development of high speed data processing and algorithm validation processes that maximize prior year investments in this area; and $2,000,000 to initiate a global wind profile commercial data purchase consistent with the science objectives identified in the National Academy of Sciences study.

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