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 Resource Type: Report
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Issues Affecting Tidal, Wave, and In-Stream Generation Projects
This report provides an overview of developments and considerations regarding wave, tidal, and in-stream energy generation technology. It summarizes federal involvement in the regulation of this new industry and highlights current issues in the field.
EPA Policies Concerning Integrated Planning and Affordability of Water Infrastructure
This report examines recent initiatives by EPA, an integrated planning policy, and a framework policy for assessing a community's financial capability to meet objectives and requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA's Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, intended to produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a "safe harbor" from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Climate Change Paris Agreement Opens for Signature
This report briefly provides background on the new international Paris Agreement to address greenhouse-gas-induced climate change. No international agreement has attracted as many signatures on a single day.
Conservation Reserve Program: Status and Current Issues
This report discusses the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enacted in 1985, which provides payments to farmers to take highly erodible or environmentally-sensitive cropland out of production for ten years or more to conserve soil and water resources.
Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): Army Corps of Engineers Authorization Issues in the 109th Congress
The Corps is a federal agency in the Department of Defense with military and civilian responsibilities. At the direction of Congress, the Corps plans, builds, operates, and maintains a wide range of water resources facilities in U.S. states and territories.
The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA): Workers' Compensation for Federal Employees
This report focuses on several key policy issues facing the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) program, including the disproportionate share of claims and program costs attributed to postal workers, the payment of FECA benefits after retirement age, the overall level of FECA disability benefits as compared with those offered by the states, and the administration of the FECA program.
The Endangered Species Act and "Sound Science"
This report provides a context for evaluating legislative proposals through examples of how science has been used in selected cases, a discussion of the nature and role of science in general, and its role in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) process in particular, together with general and agency information quality requirements and policies, and a review of how the courts have viewed agency use of science.
Brazil in Crisis
Brazil is in the midst of deepening economic and political crises that are closely intertwined and unlikely to be resolved quickly. This report briefly examines the political situation and discusses public opinion regarding the Rousseff Administration.
Negative Interest Rates
In a few foreign economies, including the euro area, Switzerland, and Japan, central banks have purposely set some short-term interest rates used to carry out monetary policy at negative levels. This report briefly discusses the reasons behind this phenomenon.
Counting Casualties in Syria and Iraq: Process and Challenges
This report discusses the difficulties of collecting war-related casualty data in Iraq and Syria and provides an overview of some of the current estimated figures available through selected organizations.
Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class aircraft carrier program. Congress's decisions on the CVN-78 program could substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements and the shipbuilding industrial base.
U.S.-South Korea Relations
This report contains two main parts: a section describing recent events and a longer background section on key elements of the U.S.-South Korea relationship. The end of the report provides a list of CRS products on South Korea and North Korea. The report identifies South Korean individuals by using their last name first.
Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three potential new weapons that could improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against enemy missiles--solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP).
Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations
This report provides a brief overview of Iran's nuclear program. Several U.N. Security Council resolutions required Iran to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA's) investigation of its nuclear activities, suspend its uranium enrichment program, suspend its construction of a heavy-water reactor and related projects, and ratify the Additional Protocol to its IAEA safeguards agreement.
Security Assistance and Cooperation: Shared Responsibility of the Departments of State and Defense
This report provides an overview of U.S. assistance to and engagement with foreign military and other security forces, focusing on Department of State and DOD roles. It lays out the historical evolution and current framework of the Department of State-DOD shared responsibility. It concludes with a brief overview of salient issues.
The Chinese Military: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides a brief overview of the Chinese military. In order to cover a wide range of issues in a concise format, the report does not go into great depth on many topics and omits other topics that might be considered germane.
The Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Leak: State and Federal Response and Oversight
This report briefly discusses the large, uncontrollable natural gas leak in the Aliso Canyon Underground Storage Facility near the Porter Ranch community in Los Angeles County, California, which occurred between October 23, 2015, and February 11, 2016.
Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process
This report reviews the process and procedures that currently apply to congressional consideration of foreign arms sales proposed by the President. This includes consideration of proposals to sell major defense equipment, defense articles and services, or the re-transfer to third party states of such military items.
The Proposed U.S. Foreign Assistance Initiative "Peace Colombia"
This report briefly discusses Plan Colombia, a bilateral cooperation program aimed at improving Colombia's security and strengthening its democratic development.
Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations In Brief
This report provides information and analysis relevant for Congress on the following: Assessments of U.S.-Turkey relations, Turkish foreign policy, and Turkey's strategic orientation, Turkish efforts to cooperate with the United States against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and key issues regarding Turkey's domestic politics.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate program, a program to procure a large number of LCSs and modified LCSs. Congress's decisions on the LCS/Frigate program will affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the shipbuilding industrial base.
Recreation on Federal Lands
This report discuses the 109th Congress's considering legislation and conducting oversight on issues involving recreation on federal lands, including traditional recreational pursuits and newer forms of motorized recreation. The Administration is addressing these issues through budgetary, regulatory, and other actions.
Funding Levels for Conservation Programs in the 2007 Farm Bill
This report consists of two tables, preceded by a brief narrative. The first table summarizes the annual funding provisions, by program, in (1) current law, (2) H.R. 2419 as passed, and (3) the Bush Administration's farm bill proposals. The second table compares FY2007 authorized and actual funding levels for programs authorized in the 2002 farm bill with FY2008 and FY2012 funding levels that would be authorized in the 2007 House-passed farm bill.
Nigeria: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Nigeria's relationship with the U.S. The Obama Administration has been supportive of reform initiatives in Nigeria, including anti-corruption efforts, economic and electoral reforms, energy sector privatization, and programs to promote peace and development in the Niger Delta. Congress oversees more than $600 million in U.S. foreign aid programs in Nigeria--one of the largest U.S. bilateral assistance packages in Africa.
The 2015 National Security Strategy: Authorities, Changes, Issues for Congress
This report discusses the National Security Strategy (NSS), a document released by the Obama Administration which states that its purpose is to "set out the principles and priorities to guide the use of American power and influence in the world."
Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Navy's irregular warfare (IW) and counterterrorism (CT) operations. Congress's decisions regarding Navy IW and CT operations can affect Navy operations and funding requirements, and the implementation of the nation's overall IW and CT strategies.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program: How are State Allotments Determined?
This report discusses the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is a block grant program under which the federal government provides states annual grants to operate multi-component home energy assistance programs for needy households.
Aliens' Right to Counsel in Removal Proceedings: In Brief
This report provides an overview of the various legal authorities governing aliens' right to counsel--as that term is broadly understood--in removal proceedings. It does not address aliens' right to counsel in criminal proceedings, the outcomes of which could potentially affect their ability to remain in the United States under immigration law.
Funding for Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CSS) at DOE: In Brief
This report discusses current legislation regarding the potential of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as a mitigation strategy for lowering global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Congress has appropriated more than $7 billion since FY2008 to CCS activities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Wave, Tidal, and In-Stream Energy Projects: Which Federal Agency Has the Lead?
This report describes wave, tidal, and in-stream energy generation technologies -- also referred to as hydrokinetic or marine energy. It discusses the recent changes in law aimed to clarify the federal role in ocean wave and renewable energy.
Iran: Politics, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy
This report provides background on Iran's political history and examines the current political climate. The report also considers U.S. policy responses, specifically in regards to Iran's nuclear capabilities.
Polar Bears: Proposed Listing Under the Endangered Species Act
This report discusses the polar bear status and they are affected by climate change, contaminants, and subsistence and sport hunting.
Title X (Public Health Service Act) Family Planning Program
This report discusses various issues regarding the Family Planning Program, Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Enacted in 1970, it is the only domestic federal program devoted solely to family planning and related preventive health services.
Entering the Executive Branch of Government: Potential Conflicts of Interest With Previous Employments and Affiliations
This report examines the federal laws and regulations relevant to entering into Government employment from the private sector. It is intended to provide those conducting congressional oversight with an outline of some of the issues, rules, regulations, ad oversight tools that may be available regarding this subject.
Additional U.S. Ground Troops to Counter the Islamic State? Five Questions
This report addresses common questions regarding Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR)--the military campaign to counter the Islamic State (IS)--which has three primary components: coordinated air strikes, training and equipping local security forces, and targeted special operations based out of northern Iraq.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the situation in Ukraine. Following the February 2014 collapse of the Kremlin-supported government of President Viktor Yanukovych, there was an emergence of a pro-Western, pro-reform government and an energized public generally anxious to lessen Moscow's influence, committed to addressing the need for serious reform and determined to draw closer to Europe and the United States.
Forestry in the 2007 Farm Bill
This report briefly describes the Agriculture Committees' jurisdiction over forestry, with examples of legislation addressed by the committees. It discusses forestry issues likely to be debated in the upcoming farm bill and presents information on the forestry provisions in the Administration's proposal for the 2007 farm bill, followed by the forestry provisions in the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 (H.R. 2419).
Discharging a Senate Committee from Consideration of a Nomination
Some press reports have suggested that the full Senate could vote in relation to the nomination of Merrick B. Garland to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, even if the Senate Judiciary Committee does not act on the nomination. This report addresses questions concerning the exact nature of such a vote; it also explains the procedural steps that could be necessary to bring the nomination to a direct vote on the floor.
Federal Court Declines to Bar the Resettlement of Syrian Refugees in Texas
This legal sidebar discusses a federal district court's decision to deny the State of Texas's request that the federal government and a private refugee relief organization be temporarily barred from resettling Syrian refugees within the state pending resolution of Texas's challenge to such resettlement.
Temporarily Filling Presidentially Appointed, Senate-Confirmed Positions
This report examines several authorities by which a vacant presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed position can be filled temporarily without going through the Senate confirmation process..
Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy
This report discusses current political and security dynamics in Libya following the fall of Muammar al Qadhafi in 2011. As of early 2016, a United Nations-facilitated agreement to form a Government of National Accord (GNA) remains under consideration by Libyan factions.
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report summarizes the issues the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encountered when developing regulations for "carbon pollution" from existing power plants as part of the Clean Power Plan. The report describes how the EPA resolved these issues.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations. While legislative initiatives are noted throughout the report, a final section of the report provides a listing of bills and resolutions introduced in the 114th Congress.
Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas and Crude Oil: Federal and State Regulatory Authority
This report discusses the relationship between federal and state authority over siting and safety of crude oil and natural gas transmission and gathering pipelines and related facilities.
The Toxic Substances Control Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
This report summarizes the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the major regulatory programs dealing with chemical production and distribution in U.S. commerce.
China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities--Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on China's naval modernization effort and its implications for U.S. Navy capabilities. Decisions that Congress reaches on this issue could affect U.S. Navy capabilities and funding requirements and the U.S. defense industrial base.
Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the kingdom of Saudi Arabia's relations with the United States; its stability, and its future trajectory are subjects of continuing congressional interest.
The Role of the Office of Management and Budget in Budget Development
This report discusses the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which assists the President in carrying out his budgetary duties. Its primary function is to oversee the development and implementation of the federal budget.
National Park Management
This report discusses issues in National Park management. The 109th Congress is considering legislation and conducting oversight on National Park Service (NPS) related topics. The Administration is addressing park issues through budgetary, regulatory, and other actions.