H.R. 3540 would authorize appropriations totaling $79 million over the 2022-2025 period for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to operate its Chesapeake Bay Office. That office works on restoring oyster habitat and education and training programs and the bill would expand those activities. In 2021, NOAA allocated about $8 million to the office.
For this estimate, CBO assumes that the bill will be enacted late in fiscal year 2022 and that the authorized amounts will be appropriated each year. On that basis, CBO expects that any spending from amounts appropriated for 2022 would begin in 2023. Using information on historical spending patterns for the office’s activities, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3540 would cost $78 million over the 2022-2027 period and $1 million after 2027, assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts.
The bill also would authorize NOAA to enter into leases as necessary to carry out the office’s programs. Because signing a lease agreement would commit NOAA to pay the lessor to use a property over multiple years and in advance of appropriations for those future years, CBO considers the costs associated with such a lease to be direct spending. Based on similar authority provided for other NOAA activities and the relatively narrow focus of the Chesapeake Bay Office, CBO expects NOAA would use this authority to enter into one
30-year lease for additional lab facilities at some point during the 2022-2032 period.