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S. 1916 (cps) To extend certain expiring Federal Aviation Administration authorizations for a 6-month period, and for other purposes. [Considered and Passed Senate] ...


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106th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1915

To enhance the services provided by the Environmental Protection Agency 
   to small communities that are attempting to comply with national, 
              State, and local environmental regulations.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           November 10, 1999

 Mr. Jeffords (for himself, Mr. Crapo, Mr. Murkowski, Mr. Schumer, Mr. 
 Harkin, Mr. Bryan, Mr. Burns, and Mr. Reid) introduced the following 
bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment 
                            and Public Works

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To enhance the services provided by the Environmental Protection Agency 
   to small communities that are attempting to comply with national, 
              State, and local environmental regulations.

    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 ``Small Community Assistance Act of 
1999''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--
            (1) small communities are concerned about improving the 
        environmental quality of their surroundings;
            (2) many small communities are uncertain of the specific 
        requirements of environmental regulations;
            (3) the involvement of small communities in the development 
        of Federal environmental regulations often occurs late, if at 
        all, in the rulemaking process;
            (4) small communities are often underrepresented in 
        processes used to review regulations proposed by the 
        Environmental Protection Agency;
            (5) the limited scientific, technical, and professional 
        capacity of many small communities makes understanding 
        regulatory requirements very difficult;
            (6) specific provisions in certain environmental laws pose 
        compliance problems for small communities; and
            (7) the Small Town Environmental Planning Task Force, 
        established by section 109 of the Federal Facility Compliance 
        Act of 1992 (42 U.S.C. 6908) to examine the relationship 
        between the Environmental Protection Agency and small 
        communities, recommends additional efforts to improve the 
        services offered by the Environmental Protection Agency to 
        small communities.

SEC. 3. PURPOSE.

    The purpose of this Act is to foster a healthy environment in which 
people in small communities may enjoy a sustainable and continually 
improving quality of life.

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Administrator.--The term ``Administrator'' means the 
        Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
            (2) Advisory committee.--The term ``advisory committee'' 
        means the small community advisory committee established under 
        section 5.
            (3) Agency.--The term ``Agency'' means the Environmental 
        Protection Agency.
            (4) Small community.--The term ``small community'' means a 
        county, parish, borough, or incorporated or unincorporated 
        municipality with a population of fewer than 7,500 persons.

SEC. 5. SMALL COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

    (a) Establishment.--The Administrator shall establish a small 
community advisory committee or reconstitute an existing small 
community advisory committee.
    (b) Membership.--The advisory committee shall be composed of 
representatives of--
            (1) small communities and unincorporated areas of the 
        United States, including at least 1 small community member from 
        each of the 10 Agency regions;
            (2) Federal and State governmental agencies; and
            (3) public interest groups.
    (c) Duties.--The advisory committee shall--
            (1) identify means to improve the working relationship 
        between the Agency and small communities;
            (2) serve as a mechanism for involving small communities as 
        early as practicable in the process of developing environmental 
        regulations, guidance, and policies;
            (3) provide periodic reports to Congress on the Agency's 
        success in meeting the needs of small communities; and
            (4) provide such other assistance to the Administrator as 
        the Administrator considers appropriate.

SEC. 6. REGULATORY REVIEW PLAN.

    The Administrator shall develop and implement a plan to increase 
the involvement of small communities in the regulatory review processes 
conducted under chapter 6 of title 5, United States Code (commonly 
known as the ``Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980''), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-
121; 5 U.S.C. 601 note), and title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

SEC. 7. REGIONAL OUTREACH TO SMALL COMMUNITIES.

    (a) Small Town Ombudsman Office.--
            (1) Establishment.--To complement work on small communities 
        at Agency headquarters, each regional office of the Agency 
        shall establish and staff a Small Town Ombudsman Office.
            (2) Duties.--The primary responsibility of each regional 
        Small Town Ombudsman Office shall be to serve as--
                    (A) an advocate for small communities; and
                    (B) a facilitator for addressing small community 
                concerns and programs.
            (3) Resources.--Using funds that are otherwise available to 
        the Agency, the Administrator shall provide the regional Small 
        Town Ombudsman Offices with such human and capital resources as 
        are sufficient for the offices to carry out their functions in 
        a timely and efficient manner.
    (b) Consultation Process.--Each regional Small Town Ombudsman 
Office shall establish a regular, on-going consultation process with 
small communities in the region, such as by use of a focus group, 
stakeholder network, or advisory board, to--
            (1) serve as a mechanism for involving small communities in 
        the process of implementing, creating, and informing the public 
        about environmental regulations, guidance, and policies; and
            (2) provide such other assistance as the regional office 
        considers appropriate.

SEC. 8. SURVEY OF SMALL COMMUNITIES.

    (a) In General.--Every 5 years, the Small Town Ombudsman Office 
shall--
            (1) conduct a survey of small communities; and
            (2) publish the results of the survey.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of the survey shall be to provide 
information to the Agency and others for use in regulatory planning, 
development, and outreach.
    (c) Information.--The survey shall collect information on--
            (1) information sources used by small communities to learn 
        of and implement environmental regulations;
            (2) the presence of facilities and activities affecting 
        environmental quality in small communities;
            (3) the financial instruments used by small communities to 
        fund the costs of environmentally related services;
            (4) persons in small communities that may be contacted for 
        information on environmental compliance;
            (5) specific topic areas of regulation particularly 
        relevant to small communities;
            (6) innovative examples of how small communities have 
        complied with national, State, and local environmental 
        regulations in order to protect environmental and public 
        health; and
            (7) any other topic that the Administrator considers 
        appropriate.

SEC. 9. GUIDE FOR SMALL COMMUNITIES.

    (a) In General.--Not later than June 30, 1999, the Administrator 
shall produce and distribute to small communities a guide to Federal 
environmental requirements for small communities.
    (b) Contents.--The guide shall--
            (1) describe all mandated environmental requirements 
        applicable to small communities; and
            (2) provide Federal, regional, and State contacts for all 
        such environmental requirements.
    (c) Updating.--Not less frequently than annually, the Administrator 
shall--
            (1) review and update any parts of the guide that pertain 
        to requirements that have changed; and
            (2) distribute guide amendments to small communities.

SEC. 10. FEEDBACK PLAN.

    The Administrator shall develop and implement a plan for 
periodically obtaining feedback from small communities on the 
effectiveness of the Agency in--
            (1) involving small communities in regulatory development 
        and implementation; and
            (2) reaching out to small communities to provide 
        educational and other assistance.

SEC. 11. NO IMPOSITION OF COSTS ON SMALL COMMUNITIES.

    The Administrator shall not impose on any small community any cost 
incurred in carrying out this Act.

SEC. 12. REPORT.

    Not later than the date that is 2 years after the date of enactment 
of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to Congress a report 
describing the regulatory review plan developed under section 6, the 
feedback plan developed under section 10, and other activities 
conducted in carrying out this Act.

SEC. 13. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act 
$5,000,000.
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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