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Title of Law:Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008
Law #:Public Law 110-234
Passed by Congress:110th Congress (2nd 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.)

HR2419 Peterson (D-Minn.) 5/15/08
Enrolled (finally passed both houses)

To provide for the continuation of agricultural programs through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes.
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PART III--New Grant and Research Programs

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SEC. 7527. STUDY AND REPORT ON FOOD DESERTS.

(a) Definition of Food Desert- In this section, the term `food desert' means an area in the United States with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly such an area composed of predominantly lower-income neighborhoods and communities.

(b) Study and Report- The Secretary shall carry out a study of, and prepare a report on, food deserts.

(c) Contents- The study and report shall--

(1) assess the incidence and prevalence of food deserts;
(2) identify--

(A) characteristics and factors causing and influencing food deserts; and

(B) the effect on local populations of limited access to affordable and nutritious food; and

(3) provide recommendations for addressing the causes and effects of food deserts through measures that include--

(A) community and economic development initiatives;

(B) incentives for retail food market development, including supermarkets, small grocery stores, and farmers' markets; and

(C) improvements to Federal food assistance and nutrition education programs.

(d) Coordination With Other Agencies and Organizations- The Secretary shall conduct the study under this section in coordination and consultation with--

(1) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
(2) the Administrator of the Small Business Administration;

(3) the Institute of Medicine; and

(4
) representatives of appropriate businesses, academic institutions, and nonprofit and faith-based organizations.

(e) Submission to Congress- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate the report prepared under this section, including the findings and recommendations described in subsection (c).

(f) Authorization of Appropriations- There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $500,000.

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PART II--ENERGY PROVISIONS

Subpart A--Cellulosic Biofuel

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SEC. 15322. COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF BIOFUELS.

(a) Study- The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Energy, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, shall enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to produce an analysis of current scientific findings to determine--

(1) current biofuels production, as well as projections for future production,

(2) the maximum amount of biofuels production capable in United States forests and farmlands, including the current quantities and character of the feedstocks and including such information as regional forest inventories that are commercially available, used in the production of biofuels,

(3) the domestic effects of an increase in biofuels production levels, including the effects of such levels on--

(A) the price of fuel,
(B) the price of land in rural and suburban communities,
(C) crop acreage, forest acreage, and other land use,
(D) the environment, due to changes in crop acreage, fertilizer use, runoff, water use, emissions from vehicles utilizing biofuels, and other factors,
(E) the price of feed,
(F) the selling price of grain crops and forest products,
(G) exports and imports of grains and forest products,
(H) taxpayers, through cost or savings to commodity crop payments, and
(I) the expansion of refinery capacity,

(4) the ability to convert corn ethanol plants for other uses, such as cellulosic ethanol or biodiesel,

(5) a comparative analysis of corn ethanol versus other biofuels and renewable energy sources, considering cost, energy output, and ease of implementation,

(6) the impact of the tax credit established by this subpart on the regional agricultural and silvicultural capabilities of commercially available forest inventories, and

(7) the need for additional scientific inquiry, and specific areas of interest for future research.

(b) Report- The Secretary of the Treasury shall submit an initial report of the findings of the study required under subsection (a) to Congress not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act (36 months after such date in the case of the information required by subsection (a)(6)), and a final report not later than 12 months after such date (42 months after such date in the case of the information required by subsection (a)(6)).

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************************************************************************************
HRpt 110-627 - To accompany H.R. 1495 - To provide for the continuation of agricultural programs through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes.
Conference Committee
(05/13/08)
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######

PART III--NEW GRANT AND RESEARCH PROGRAMS

######

SEC. 7527. STUDY AND REPORT ON FOOD DESERTS.

(a) Definition of Food Desert- In this section, the term `food desert' means an area in the United States with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly such an area composed of predominantly lower-income neighborhoods and communities.

(b) Study and Report- The Secretary shall carry out a study of, and prepare a report on, food deserts.

(c) Contents- The study and report shall--

(1) assess the incidence and prevalence of food deserts;
(2) identify--

(A) characteristics and factors causing and influencing food deserts; and

(B) the effect on local populations of limited access to affordable and nutritious food; and

(3) provide recommendations for addressing the causes and effects of food deserts through measures that include--

(A) community and economic development initiatives;

(B) incentives for retail food market development, including supermarkets, small grocery stores, and farmers' markets; and

(C) improvements to Federal food assistance and nutrition education programs.

(d) Coordination With Other Agencies and Organizations- The Secretary shall conduct the study under this section in coordination and consultation with--

(1) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
(2) the Administrator of the Small Business Administration;

(3) the Institute of Medicine; and

(4) representatives of appropriate businesses, academic institutions, and nonprofit and faith-based organizations.

(e) Submission to Congress- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate the report prepared under this section, including the findings and recommendations described in subsection (c).

(f) Authorization of Appropriations- There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $500,000.

######

PART II--ENERGY PROVISIONS

Subpart A--Cellulosic Biofuel

######

SEC. 15322. COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF BIOFUELS.

(a) Study- The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Energy, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, shall enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to produce an analysis of current scientific findings to determine--

(1) current biofuels production, as well as projections for future production,

(2) the maximum amount of biofuels production capable in United States forests and farmlands, including the current quantities and character of the feedstocks and including such information as regional forest inventories that are commercially available, used in the production of biofuels,

(3) the domestic effects of an increase in biofuels production levels, including the effects of such levels on-

(A) the price of fuel,
(B) the price of land in rural and suburban communities,
(C) crop acreage, forest acreage, and other land use,
(D) the environment, due to changes in crop acreage, fertilizer use, runoff, water use, emissions from vehicles utilizing biofuels, and other factors,
(E) the price of feed,
(F) the selling price of grain crops and forest products,
(G) exports and imports of grains and forest products,
(H) taxpayers, through cost or savings to commodity crop payments, and
(I) the expansion of refinery capacity,

(4) the ability to convert corn ethanol plants for other uses, such as cellulosic ethanol or biodiesel,

(5) a comparative analysis of corn ethanol versus other biofuels and renewable energy sources, considering cost, energy output, and ease of implementation,

(6) the impact of the tax credit established by this subpart on the regional agricultural and silvicultural capabilities of commercially available forest inventories, and

(7) the need for additional scientific inquiry, and specific areas of interest for future research.

(b) Report- The Secretary of the Treasury shall submit an initial report of the findings of the study required under subsection (a) to Congress not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act (36 months after such date in the case of the information required by subsection (a)(6)), and a final report not later than 12 months after such date (42 months after such date in the case of the information required by subsection (a)(6)).

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(123) Studies and reports by the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Academy of Sciences on food products from cloned animals

The Senate amendment requires studies on the safety and the impact on trade of allowing food products from cloned animals and their offspring into the food supply. The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) is prohibited from issuing the final draft risk assessment on food from cloned animals and their offspring. The Secretary of HHS is also prohibited from lifting the voluntary moratorium on allowing food from cloned animals and their offspring from entering the food supply until after the studies are completed. (Section 7507)

The House bill has no comparable provision.

The Conference substitute deletes the Senate amendment.

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(2) Protection of pets

The House bill amends the Animal Welfare Act by replacing section 7. The new section provides a definition for person to be used only in this section. Person includes any individual, partnership, firm, joint stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate, pound, shelter, or other legal entity. This section prohibits research facilities or Federal research facilities from using a cat or dog for educational or research purposes if it was obtained from a permissible source. Also, no person may donate, sell, or offer a dog or cat to any research facility or Federal research facility unless it came from a permissible source. A permissible source is defined to mean a dealer licensed under AWA; a publicly owned pound registered with the Secretary and in compliance with the protection of pet standards outlines in the Act and has obtained the cat or dog from a legal owner, other than a pound or shelter; or a person that is donating the dog or cat that bred and raised it and owned it for not less than one year preceding donation; a research facility or Federal research facility licensed by the Secretary. In addition to existing penalties for violating the Animal Welfare Act this provision establishes an additional fine of $1,000 for each violation of this section. Nothing in this section requires a pound or shelter to donate, sell, or offer a dog or cat to a research facility. (Section 11317)

The Senate amendment is the same as the House bill. It adds a provision that would phase out the use of random source dogs and cats from class B dealers within five years after enactment of this act. (Section 11079)

The Conference substitute adopts the House provision with an amendment that defines Class B dogs and cats and requires the Secretary to review any independent reviews and recommendations by a nationally recognized panel on the use of Class B dogs and cats in federal research.

The Managers are aware of the concerns relating to the use of random source animals from Class-B dealers for medical research. As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-161), Congress requested an independent review by a nationally recognized panel of experts of the use of Class B dogs and cats in federally supported research. The National Academy of Science is in the process of conducting this review. Results from the review are expected to be finalized in the spring of 2009. The results of this study will help provide Congress information regarding the value of Class B dogs and cats in medical research. It is the Managers view upon completion of the review the House Committee on Agriculture and United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry should address whether to continue Class B dealers as a legitimate vendor of random source animals for medical research.

The Managers are also aware of concerns relating to how Class B dealers acquire random source animals. Under 9 CFR 2.132(d) dealers are prohibited from obtaining a dog or cat from any person who is not licensed (other than a pound or shelter), unless they obtain a certification (source record) that the animals were born and raised on that person's premises and, if the animals are for research purposes, that the person has sold fewer than 25 dogs and/or cats that year. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) conducts four unannounced inspections of each Class B dealer on an annual basis. During these inspections, APHIS conducts random trace back of source records. In addition, every 2 to 3 years APHIS does 100 percent trace back of every source record of all Class B dealers. APHIS data indicates a 95 percent trace back of these records. Understanding concerns raised about the validity of these source records, the Managers intend to ask the Government Accountability Office to review APHIS regulations to ensure they are sufficiently assuring the source of random source animals.

The Managers are also concerned with the humane handling and treatment of all animals. In section 14114, fines for violating the Animal Welfare Act are increased for the first time since 1985. (Section 14216)

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(34) Findings of Congress regarding Secure Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program education

The House bill contains Congressional findings regarding the Food Stamp Program noting that the FSA `plays an essential role in improving the dietary and physical activity practices of low-income Americans, [by] helping to reduce food insecurity, prevent[ing] obesity, and reduc[ing] the risks of chronic disease.'

The Secretary is encouraged to support the most effective interventions for nutrition education under the FSA, including public health approaches and traditional education, to increase the likelihood that recipients and potential recipients of benefits under the SSNAP program choose diets and physical activity practices that are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (Section 4022)

The Senate amendment is the same as the House bill with technical differences.

The Conference substitute deletes both the House and Senate provisions. The Managers recognize that nutrition education plays an essential role in improving the dietary and physical activity practices of low-income individuals in the United States, helping to reduce food insecurity, prevent obesity, and reduce the risks of chronic disease. Expert organizations, such as the Institute of Medicine, indicate that dietary and physical activity behavior change is more likely to result from the combined application of public health approaches and education than from education alone.

The Managers expect that the Secretary will support and encourage implementation of the most effective methods, informed by current science, for nutrition education under the Food and Nutrition Act, including those that are consistent with recommendations and actions of expert bodies to promote healthy eating and physical activity behavior change. Funds provided under the Food and Nutrition Act should be used for activities that promote the most effective implementation of programs to increase the likelihood that recipients of, and those potentially eligible for, supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits will choose diets and physical activity practices consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Managers recognize that state nutrition education activities under the Food and Nutrition Act work best when coordinated with other federally funded food assistance and public health programs and when policies are implemented to leverage public/private partnerships to maximize the resources and impact of the programs.

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(35) Sense of Congress regarding food deserts, geographically isolated neighborhoods and communities with limited or no access to major chain grocery stores

The House bill expresses the sense of Congress that the Secretary of Agriculture, in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Institute of Medicine, and faith-based organizations, should assess `food deserts' in the United States (geographically isolated neighborhoods and communities with limited or no access to major-chain grocery stores), and develop recommendations for eliminating them. (Section 11311)

The Senate amendment requires the Secretary to study and report on areas in the United States with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, with a focus on predominantly lower-income neighborhoods and communities. (Section 7504)

The Conference substitute adopts the Senate provision with an amendment to move this provision to the Research Title of this Act, to include and define the term `food desert,' and to include an authorization of appropriations for the study. (Section 7527)

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2. COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF BIOFUELS (SEC. 15322 OF THE CONFERENCE AGREEMENT)

PRESENT LAW

The National Academy of Sciences serves to investigate, examine, experiment and report upon any subject of science whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government. The National Research Council is part of the National Academies. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 and is its principal operating agency for conducting science policy and technical work.

HOUSE BILL

No provision. 35

[Footnote]

[Footnote] 35 A provision requiring a comprehensive study on biofuels was included in section 402 of H.R. 5351, passed by the House on February 27, 2008.

SENATE AMENDMENT

No provision.

CONFERENCE AGREEMENT

The conference agreement requires the Secretary, in consultation with the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency, to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to produce an analysis of current scientific findings to determine:

The Secretary shall submit an initial report of the findings to the Congress not later than six months after the date of enactment, and a final report not later than 12 months after the date of enactment. In the case of information relating to the impact of the tax credits established by the Act on the regional agricultural and silvicultural capabilities of commercially available forest inventories, the initial report is due 36 months after the date of enactment and the final report is due 42 months after the date of enactment.

Effective date.--The provision is effective on the date of enactment.

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