PUBLIC LAW 106-193—MAY 2, 2000 114 STAT. 235 SEC. 3. METHANE HYDRATE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PRO- GRAM. (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, INTER- AGENCY FUNDS TRANSFER AGREEMENTS, AND FIELD WORK PRO- POSALS.— (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— (A) conduct basic and applied research to identify, explore, assess, and develop methane hydrate as a source of energy; (B) assist in developing technologies required for efficient and environmentally sound development of methane hydrate resources; (C) undertake research programs to provide safe means of transport and storage of methane produced from methane hydrates; (D) promote education and training in methane hydrate resource research and resource development; (E) conduct basic and applied research to assess and mitigate the environmental impacts of hydrate degassing (including both natural degassing and degassing associated with commercial development); (F) develop technologies to reduce the risks of drilling through methane hydrates; and (G) conduct exploratory drilling in support of the activities authorized by this paragraph. (2) COMPETITIVE MERIT-BASED REVIEW. —Funds made available under paragraph (1) shall be made available based on a competitive merit-based process. Deadline. Deadline.