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Lamar S.
Republican TX 21

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  • National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015

    by Representative Lamar Smith

    Posted on 2015-01-07

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    SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 23) to reauthorize the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program, and for other purposes.



    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    [[Page H84]] The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 23 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015''.

    SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    (a) Director.--Section 203(1) of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act of 2004 (42 U.S.C. 15702(1)) is amended by striking ``Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy'' and inserting ``Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology''.

    (b) Lifelines.--Section 203 of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act of 2004 (42 U.S.C. 15702) is further amended-- (1) by redesignating paragraphs (2) through (4) as paragraphs (3) through (5), respectively; and (2) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following new paragraph: ``(2) Lifelines.--The term `lifelines' means public works and utilities, including transportation facilities and infrastructure, oil and gas pipelines, electrical power and communication facilities and infrastructure, and water supply and sewage treatment facilities.''.

    SEC. 3. NATIONAL WINDSTORM IMPACT REDUCTION PROGRAM.

    Section 204 of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act of 2004 (42 U.S.C. 15703) is amended-- (1) by striking subsections (a), (b), and (c) and inserting the following: ``(a) Establishment.--There is established the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program, the purpose of which is to achieve major measurable reductions in the losses of life and property from windstorms through a coordinated Federal effort, in cooperation with other levels of government, academia, and the private sector, aimed at improving the understanding of windstorms and their impacts and developing and encouraging the implementation of cost-effective mitigation measures to reduce those impacts.

    ``(b) Responsibilities of Program Agencies.-- ``(1) Lead agency.--The National Institute of Standards and Technology shall have the primary responsibility for planning and coordinating the Program. In carrying out this paragraph, the Director shall-- ``(A) ensure that the Program includes the necessary components to promote the implementation of windstorm risk reduction measures by Federal, State, and local governments, national standards and model building code organizations, architects and engineers, and others with a role in planning and constructing buildings and lifelines; ``(B) support the development of performance-based engineering tools, and work with appropriate groups to promote the commercial application of such tools, including through wind-related model building codes, voluntary standards, and construction best practices; ``(C) request the assistance of Federal agencies other than the Program agencies, as necessary to assist in carrying out this Act; ``(D) coordinate all Federal post-windstorm investigations; and ``(E) when warranted by research or investigative findings, issue recommendations to assist in informing the development of model codes, and provide information to Congress on the use of such recommendations.

    ``(2) National institute of standards and technology.--In addition to the lead agency responsibilities described under paragraph (1), the National Institute of Standards and Technology shall be responsible for carrying out research and development to improve model building codes, voluntary standards, and best practices for the design, construction, and retrofit of buildings, structures, and lifelines.

    ``(3) National science foundation.--The National Science Foundation shall support research in-- ``(A) engineering and the atmospheric sciences to improve the understanding of the behavior of windstorms and their impact on buildings, structures, and lifelines; and ``(B) economic and social factors influencing windstorm risk reduction measures.

    ``(4) National oceanic and atmospheric administration.--The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall support atmospheric sciences research to improve the understanding of the behavior of windstorms and their impact on buildings, structures, and lifelines.

    ``(5) Federal emergency management agency.--The Federal Emergency Management Agency shall-- ``(A) support-- ``(i) the development of risk assessment tools and effective mitigation techniques; ``(ii) windstorm-related data collection and analysis; ``(iii) public outreach and information dissemination; and ``(iv) promotion of the adoption of windstorm preparedness and mitigation measures, including for households, businesses, and communities, consistent with the Agency's all-hazards approach; and ``(B) work closely with national standards and model building code organizations, in conjunction with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to promote the implementation of research results and promote better building practices within the building design and construction industry, including architects, engineers, contractors, builders, and inspectors.''; (2) by redesignating subsection (d) as subsection (c), and by striking subsections (e) and (f); and (3) by inserting after subsection (c), as so redesignated, the following new subsections: ``(d) Budget Activities.--The Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Director of the National Science Foundation, the Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency shall each include in their agency's annual budget request to Congress a description of their agency's projected activities under the Program for the fiscal year covered by the budget request, along with an assessment of what they plan to spend on those activities for that fiscal year.

    ``(e) Interagency Coordinating Committee on Windstorm Impact Reduction.-- ``(1) Establishment.--There is established an Interagency Coordinating Committee on Windstorm Impact Reduction, chaired by the Director.

    ``(2) Membership.--In addition to the chair, the Committee shall be composed of-- ``(A) the heads of-- ``(i) the Federal Emergency Management Agency; ``(ii) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; ``(iii) the National Science Foundation; ``(iv) the Office of Science and Technology Policy; and ``(v) the Office of Management and Budget; and ``(B) the head of any other Federal agency the chair considers appropriate.

    ``(3) Meetings.--The Committee shall meet not less than 2 times a year at the call of the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

    ``(4) General purpose and duties.--The Committee shall oversee the planning and coordination of the Program.

    ``(5) Strategic plan.--The Committee shall develop and submit to Congress, not later than one year after the date of enactment of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015, a Strategic Plan for the Program that includes-- ``(A) prioritized goals for the Program that will mitigate against the loss of life and property from future windstorms; ``(B) short-term, mid-term, and long-term research objectives to achieve those goals; ``(C) a description of the role of each Program agency in achieving the prioritized goals; ``(D) the methods by which progress towards the goals will be assessed; and ``(E) an explanation of how the Program will foster the transfer of research results into outcomes, such as improved model building codes.

    ``(6) Progress report.--Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015, the Committee shall submit to the Congress a report on the progress of the Program that includes-- ``(A) a description of the activities funded under the Program, a description of how these activities align with the prioritized goals and research objectives established in the Strategic Plan, and the budgets, per agency, for these activities; ``(B) the outcomes achieved by the Program for each of the goals identified in the Strategic Plan; ``(C) a description of any recommendations made to change existing building codes that were the result of Program activities; and ``(D) a description of the extent to which the Program has incorporated recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Windstorm Impact Reduction.

    ``(7) Coordinated budget.--The Committee shall develop a coordinated budget for the Program, which shall be submitted to the Congress at the time of the President's budget submission for each fiscal year.''.

    SEC. 4. NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON WINDSTORM IMPACT REDUCTION.

    Section 205 of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act of 2004 (42 U.S.C. 15704) is amended to read as follows: ``SEC. 205. NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON WINDSTORM IMPACT REDUCTION.

    ``(a) In General.--The Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology shall establish an Advisory Committee on Windstorm Impact Reduction, which shall be composed of at least 7 members, none of whom may be employees of the Federal Government, including representatives of research and academic institutions, industry standards development organizations, emergency management agencies, State and local government, and business communities who are qualified to provide advice on windstorm impact reduction and represent all related scientific, architectural, and engineering disciplines. The recommendations of the Advisory Committee shall be considered by Federal agencies in implementing the Program.

    ``(b) Assessments.--The Advisory Committee on Windstorm Impact Reduction shall offer assessments on-- ``(1) trends and developments in the natural, engineering, and social sciences and practices of windstorm impact mitigation; ``(2) the priorities of the Program's Strategic Plan; ``(3) the coordination of the Program; and [[Page H85]] ``(4) any revisions to the Program which may be necessary.

    ``(c) Compensation.--The members of the Advisory Committee established under this section shall serve without compensation.

    ``(d) Reports.--At least every 2 years, the Advisory Committee shall report to the Director on the assessments carried out under subsection (b) and its recommendations for ways to improve the Program.

    ``(e) Charter.--Notwithstanding section 14(b)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.), the Advisory Committee shall not be required to file a charter subsequent to its initial charter, filed under section 9(c) of such Act, before the termination date specified in subsection (f) of this section.

    ``(f) Termination.--The Advisory Committee shall terminate on September 30, 2017.

    ``(g) Conflict of Interest.--An Advisory Committee member shall recuse himself from any Advisory Committee activity in which he has an actual pecuniary interest.''.

    SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    Section 207 of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act of 2004 (42 U.S.C. 15706) is amended to read as follows: ``SEC. 207. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    ``(a) Federal Emergency Management Agency.--There are authorized to be appropriated to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for carrying out this title-- ``(1) $5,332,000 for fiscal year 2015; ``(2) $5,332,000 for fiscal year 2016; and ``(3) $5,332,000 for fiscal year 2017.

    ``(b) National Science Foundation.--There are authorized to be appropriated to the National Science Foundation for carrying out this title-- ``(1) $9,682,000 for fiscal year 2015; ``(2) $9,682,000 for fiscal year 2016; and ``(3) $9,682,000 for fiscal year 2017.

    ``(c) National Institute of Standards and Technology.-- There are authorized to be appropriated to the National Institute of Standards and Technology for carrying out this title-- ``(1) $4,120,000 for fiscal year 2015; ``(2) $4,120,000 for fiscal year 2016; and ``(3) $4,120,000 for fiscal year 2017.

    ``(d) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.-- There are authorized to be appropriated to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for carrying out this title-- ``(1) $2,266,000 for fiscal year 2015; ``(2) $2,266,000 for fiscal year 2016; and ``(3) $2,266,000 for fiscal year 2017.''.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith) and the gentlewoman from Oregon (Ms. Bonamici) each will control 20 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas.

    General Leave Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on H.R. 23, the bill now under consideration.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Texas? There was no objection.

    Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, H.R. 23, the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015, reauthorizes the activities of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program through 2017.

    Representative Randy Neugebauer, my Texas colleague, has championed this program for over a decade. In the last Congress, he and Representative Frederica Wilson's bipartisan efforts helped move this legislation through the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and to successfully pass the House. It is because of their past work that we are able to bring this bill to the House floor so early in this Congress.

    The National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program supports Federal research and development efforts to help mitigate the loss of life and property due to wind-related hazards. Millions of Americans live in areas vulnerable to hurricanes, tornadoes, and other windstorms. The National Weather Service reported 91 deaths and 892 injuries in 2013 due to tornadoes, thunderstorm wind, and high wind.

    We all remember that in 2011 that was the year marred by loss due to windstorms. According to the National Science and Technology Council's biennial report to Congress, in 2011 only, windstorms in the United States took nearly 700 lives, injured nearly 7,000 people, and caused an estimated $11 billion in total direct property losses.

    In Texas, we are all too familiar with the harm that excess wind can cause. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Storm Prediction Center, 128 tornadoes and 1,366 windstorms were reported in Texas in the last 2 years. The effects of these disasters can be felt for a long time.

    Initially established in 2004, the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program supports activities to improve our understanding of windstorms and their impacts and helps to develop and encourage the implementation of cost-effective mitigation measures.

    H.R. 23 establishes the National Institute of Standards and Technology as the lead agency for the program, improves coordination and planning of agency activities in a fiscally responsible manner, and improves transparency for how much money is being spent on windstorm research.

    I want to thank Representative Neugebauer for his continued efforts to support this program. I encourage my colleagues to support the bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.

    Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of Representatives, Washington, DC, January 6, 2015.

    Hon. Lamar Smith, Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: I write concerning H.R. 23, the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015. Thank you for working with us to incorporate mutually agreeable provisions within the Rule X jurisdiction of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

    In order to expedite the House's consideration of H.R. 23, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will forgo action on this bill. However, this is conditional on our mutual understanding that forgoing consideration of the bill does not prejudice the Committee with respect to the appointment of conferees or to any future jurisdictional claim over the subject matters contained in the bill or similar legislation that fall within the Committee's Rule X jurisdiction. I request you urge the Speaker to name members of the Committee to any conference committee named to consider such provisions.

    I would appreciate your response to this letter, confirming this understanding, and would request that you insert our exchange of letters on this matter into the Congressional Record during consideration of this bill on the House floor.

    Sincerely, Bill Shuster, Chairman.

    ____ House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

    Washington, DC, January 6, 2015.

    Hon. Bill Shuster, Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC.

    Dear Chairman Shuster: Thank you for your letter regarding H.R. 23, the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015. I appreciate your support in bringing this legislation before the House of Representatives, and accordingly, understand that the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will forego action on the bill.

    The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology concurs with the mutual understanding that by foregoing consideration of H.R. 23 at this time, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure does not waive any jurisdiction over the subject matter contained in this bill or similar legislation in the future. In addition, should a conference on this bill be necessary, I would support your request to have the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure represented on the conference committee.

    I will insert copies of this exchange in the Congressional Record during consideration of this bill on the House floor. I appreciate your cooperation regarding this legislation and look forward to continuing to work with the Transportation Committee as the bill moves through the legislative process.

    Sincerely, Lamar Smith, Chairman.

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