relates to methane hydrate research and development.

(6) INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION.—The term ‘‘institution of higher education’’ means an institution of higher education, within the meaning of section 102(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1002(a)).

(7) SECRETARY.—The term ‘‘Secretary’’ means the Secretary of Energy, acting through the Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy.

(8) SECRETARY OF COMMERCE.—The term ‘‘Secretary of Commerce’’ means the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

(9) SECRETARY OF DEFENSE.—The term ‘‘Secretary of Defense’’ means the Secretary of Defense, acting through the Secretary of the Navy.

(10) SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.—The term ‘‘Secretary of the Interior’’ means the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United States Geological Survey and the Director of the Minerals Management Service.

SEC. 3. METHANE HYDRATE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.

(a) IN GENERAL.—

(1) COMMENCEMENT OF PROGRAM.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Director, shall commence a program of methane hydrate research and development in accordance with this section.

(2) DESIGNATIONS.—The Secretary, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Director shall designate individuals to carry out this section.

(3) COORDINATION.—The individual designated by the Secretary shall coordinate all activities within the Department of Energy relating to methane hydrate research and development.

(4) MEETINGS.—The individuals designated under paragraph (2) shall meet not later than 270 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and not less frequently than every 120 days thereafter to—

(A) review the progress of the program under paragraph (1); and

(B) make recommendations on future activities to occur subsequent to the meeting.

(b) GRANTS, CONTRACTS, COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS, INTERAGENCY FUNDS TRANSFER AGREEMENTS, AND FIELD WORK PROPOSALS.—

(1) ASSISTANCE AND COORDINATION.—In carrying out the program of methane hydrate research and development authorized by this section, the Secretary may award grants or contracts to, or enter into cooperative agreements with, institutions of higher education and industrial enterprises to—



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