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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Highway Funding, the States, and New Air Quality Standards
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Exemptions from Environmental Law for the Department of Defense
Whether broader expansions from federal environmental laws are needed to preserve military readiness has been an issue. Questions have been raised as to whether environmental requirements have limited military training activities to the point that readiness would be compromised. The potential impacts of broader exemptions on environmental quality have raised additional questions. Although certain exemptions the Department of Defense (DOD) first requested in FY2003 have been enacted into law, Congress has opposed others. From FY2003 to FY2008, DOD requested exemptions from the Clean Air Act, Solid Waste Disposal Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. To date, Congress has not enacted these three latter exceptions. The Administration's FY2009 defense authorization bill does not include these exemptions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10640/
The Clean Coal Technology Program: Current Prospects
The Clean Coal Technology (CCT) program, started in the 1980's and funded generously in the early 1990's, has completed most of its surviving projects and has not funded any new ones since 1994. However, President Bush’s FY2002 budget outline proposed spending $2 billion over 10 years on a restructured CCT program. It is not clear what kind of projects would be included in the new program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1402/
Global Climate Change: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions - Status, Trends, and Projections
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Global Climate Change: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions - Status, Trends, and Projections
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Global Climate Change: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions - Status, Trends, and Projections
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Air Quality: EPA's Proposed New Ozone and Particulate Matter Standards
This report discusses the contentious issue of enforcing stringent national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone and particulate matter (PM), the opponents of which decry as harmful to the economy. The report discusses actions undertaken by the EPA, President Clinton's support of the NAAQSs, and the criticisms of opponents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs384/
Air Quality Standards: The Decisionmaking Process
The decisions by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1997 to revise the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone and particulate matter refocused attention on the criteria and the process by which these decisions are made Tracing the steps of the decision pieces, this report identifies the statutory criteria established by the Congress and summarizes the administrative procedures the Agency follows in setting these standards and in reviewing them every 5 years. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs521/
Is Biopower Carbon Neutral?
This report assesses the variables involved in determining whether or not biopower (i.e., electricity generated from biomass) is a carbon-neutral alternative to fossil fuels as a way to help meet meet U.S. energy demands and reduce U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It includes information about the biomass carbon cycle, GHG accounting for biopower production, recent developments affecting the assessment, and overview of whether or not it can be considered carbon neutral, and legislative implications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc97992/
Is Biopower Carbon Neutral?
This report assesses the variables involved in determining whether or not biopower (i.e., electricity generated from biomass) is a carbon-neutral alternative to fossil fuels as a way to help meet meet U.S. energy demands and reduce U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It includes information about the biomass carbon cycle, GHG accounting for biopower production, recent developments affecting the assessment, and overview of whether or not it can be considered carbon neutral, and legislative implications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc97991/
Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy
This report is intended as a primer on the policy issues, science, and governance of geoengineering technologies. The report will first set the policy parameters under which geoengineering technologies may be considered. It will then describe selected technologies in detail and discuss their status. The third section provides a discussion of possible approaches to governmental involvement in, and oversight of, geoengineering, including a summary of domestic and international instruments and institutions that may affect geoengineering projects. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272009/
Biochar: Examination of an Emerging Concept to Mitigate Climate Change
This report briefly describes biochar, its potential advantages and disadvantages, legislative support, and research and development activities underway in the United States and abroad. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86544/
Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy
This report is intended as a primer on the policy issues, science, and governance of geoengineering technologies. The report will first set the policy parameters under which geoengineering technologies may be considered. It will then describe selected technologies in detail and discuss their status. The third section provides a discussion of possible approaches to governmental involvement in, and oversight of, geoengineering, including a summary of domestic and international instruments and institutions that may affect geoengineering projects. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31472/
Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate: Marine Mammal Issues
After global warming became a concern in the mid-1950s, researchers proposed measuring deep ocean temperatures to reveal any significant trends in core ocean warming. Acoustic thermometry can detect changes in ocean temperature by receiving low-frequency sounds transmitted across an ocean basin because the speed of sound is proportional to water temperature. Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate, or ATOC, is an international program involving 11 institutions in seven nations. It is designed as a 30-month "proof-of-concept" project to provide data on possible global climate change, with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Defense. A debate has arisen over ATOC's impact on marine mammals versus the benefits of better global warming information derived from ATOC. This report dicusses the ATOC program and related concerns. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs176/
Ocean Acidification
With increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, the extent of effects on the ocean and marine resources is an increasing concern. One aspect of this issue is the ongoing process whereby seawater becomes acidified (i.e., ocean acidification) as more CO2 dissolves in it, causing hydrogen ion concentration in seawater to increase. While not yet fully understood, the ecological and economic consequences of ocean acidification could be substantial. Congress is beginning to focus attention on better understanding ocean acidification and determining how this concern might be addressed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26133/
Increasing the Efficiency of Existing Coal- Fired Power Plants
This report focuses on efficiency improvements to power plants, and discusses retrofits, technologies, and other modifications to facility operations which offer the potential to improve power plant efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272073/
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: A Primer
This report focuses on the environmental quality of water resources as affected by animal agriculture, specifically animal waste, which can harm water quality through surface runoff, direct discharges, spills, and leaching into soil and groundwater. This report also discusses the contribution of emissions from animal feeding operations (AFO), enterprises where animals are raised in confinement, to air pollution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8641/
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: A Primer
This report focuses on the environmental quality of water resources as affected by animal agriculture, specifically animal waste, which can harm water quality through surface runoff, direct discharges, spills, and leaching into soil and groundwater. This report also discusses the contribution of emissions from animal feeding operations (AFO), enterprises where animals are raised in confinement, to air pollution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7792/
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA's Air Compliance Agreement
In an effort to collect scientifically credible data regarding the effect of animal agriculture on water resources (specifically animal waste and emissions from animal feeding operations (AFO), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in January 2005 announced the Air Compliance Agreement. The agreement is intended to produce air quality monitoring data on AFO emissions during a two-year study, while at the same time protecting participants through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8640/
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA's Air Compliance Agreement
In an effort to collect scientifically credible data regarding the effect of animal agriculture on water resources (specifically animal waste and emissons from animal feeding operations (AFO), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in January 2005 announced the Air Compliance Agreement. The agreement is intended to produce air quality monitoring data on AFO emissions during a two-year study, while at the same time protecting participants through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws. This report discusses the agreement and the perspectives of both its supporters and opponents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7791/
Clean Air Act Permitting: Status of Implementation
The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments established an operating permit system that is affecting many new and existing sources of air emissions, as well as state and local air pollution control agencies. After delays and early missteps, the operating permit program is moving ahead. All state and local programs have received interim or full approval, and permits are being issued, although at a slower rate than anticipated. However, a number of issues exist. These include the effect of key federal regulations, not yet promulgated, on permit programs and regulated sources; adequacy of state resources; gaining full approval for those permit programs that now have interim approval; and oversight. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs964/
Clean Air Permitting: Status of Implementation and Issues
This report describes the statutory background of the Title V program and the status of implementation, in terms of federal approval of state and local permitting authorities and permit issuance. It also discusses broad policy issues identified by various stakeholders, including program complexity and costs, and inconsistencies due to a lack of sufficient federal guidance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94071/
Cruise Ship Pollution: Background, Laws and Regulations, and Key Issues
This report describes the several types of waste streams that cruise ships may discharge and emit. It identifies the complex body of international and domestic laws that address pollution from cruise ships. It then describes federal and state legislative activity concerning cruise ships in Alaskan waters and activities in a few other states, as well as current industry initiatives to manage cruise ship pollution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87283/
Cruise Ship Pollution: Background, Laws and Regulations, and Key Issues
This report describes the several types of waste streams that cruise ships may discharge and emit. It identifies the complex body of international and domestic laws that address pollution from cruise ships. It then describes federal and state legislative activity concerning cruise ships in Alaskan waters and activities in a few other states, as well as current industry initiatives to manage cruise ship pollution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98054/
EPA's Vessel General Permit: Background and Issues
This report is an overview of the revised Vessel General Permit (VGP) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and two key issues: inclusion of numeric performance standards to limit ballast water discharges from vessels, and controversies about the role of states in regulating vessel discharges. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276891/
2006 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5): Designating Nonattainment Areas
This report focuses primarily on the NAAQS implementation process for designating geographical nonattainment areas with respect to the tightening of the PM2.5 standards under the 2006 particulates NAAQS, including comparisons with the final designations under the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. Also included is a brief overview of states' subsequent obligations for developing and submitting implementation plans (SIPs) for attaining or maintaining compliance with the NAAQS. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122190/
Air Quality: EPA's 2012 Proposed Changes to the Particulate Matter (PM) Standard
This report summarizes the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) June 2012 proposed changes to the particulate matter (PM) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) and includes comparisons with previous (1997) and current (2006) promulgated and proposed standards. Key actions leading up to the June 2012 proposal, and potential issues and concerns associated with the proposal to strengthen the PM2.5 annual standard, are also highlighted. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122239/
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced?
This report provides an overview of the statutory framework, key players, infrastructure, resources, tools, and operations associated with enforcement and compliance of the major pollution control laws and regulations administered by EPA. It also outlines the roles of federal (including regional offices) and state regulators, as well as the regulated community. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272112/
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced?
This report provides an overview of the statutory framework, key players, infrastructure, resources, tools, and operations associated with enforcement and compliance of the major pollution control laws and regulations administered by EPA. It also outlines the roles of federal (including regional offices) and state regulators, as well as the regulated community. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96804/
Air Quality: Impacts of Trip Reduction Programs on States and Affected Employers
This report discusses employer trip reduction (ETR) programs, which would require large employers to implement certain transportation control measures as part of a national effort to combat air pollution, largely as a direct result of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs45/
Global Climate Change: The Kyoto Protocol
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Global Climate Change: The Kyoto Protocol
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Global Climate Change: The Kyoto Protocol
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Global Climate Change: The Kyoto Protocol
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Global Climate Change: The Kyoto Protocol
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Global Climate Change: The Kyoto Protocol
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Global Climate Change: The Kyoto Protocol
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Global Climate Change Treaty: Negotiations and Related Issues
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Global Climate Change Treaty: The Kyoto Protocol
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Global Climate Change Treaty: The Kyoto Protocol
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Global Climate Change: Status of Negotiations
In December 2007, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held their 13th annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia, and began the process of working toward an agreement/treaty that would succeed the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC when it expires in 2012. The Protocol includes a mandate for a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 developed/industrialized nations to an average of some 5% below their 1990 levels over the commitment period 2008-2012. The broad array of these issues, briefly discussed in this report, has been described by some as comprising perhaps the most complex negotiations ever undertaken internationally. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10759/
Global Environment Facility (GEF): Overview
The report provides an overview regarding the establishment and the role of Global Environment Facility (GEF). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94198/
Carbon Capture: A Technology Assessment
This report is a brief summary of what carbon capture and storage (CCS) is, how it is supposed to work, why it has gained the interest and support of some members of Congress, and what some of the challenges are to its implementation and deployment across the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272007/
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)
Carbon capture and sequestration (or storage) - known as CCS - has attracted interest as a measure for mitigating global climate change because large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from fossil fuel use in the United States are potentially available to be captured and stored underground or prevented from reaching the atmosphere. Congressional interest has grown in CCS as part of legislative strategies to address climate change. The large and rapid influx of funding for industrial-scale CCS projects may accelerate development and deployment of CO2 capture technologies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26253/
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)
This report discusses carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), but not other types of carbon sequestration activities whereby CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored in vegetation, soils, or oceans. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94086/
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS): A Primer
This report is a brief summary of what CCS is, how it is supposed to work, why it has gained the interest and support of some members of Congress, and what some of the challenges are to its implementation and deployment across the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc85431/
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS): A Primer
Report describing Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), how it is supposed to work, why it has gained the interest and support of some members of Congress, and what some of the challenges are to its implementation and deployment across the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227766/
Legal Analysis and Background on the EPA's Proposed Rules for Regulating Mercury Emissions from Electric Utilities
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Measuring and Monitoring Carbon in the Agricultural and Forestry Sectors
Proposals to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases often include the use of forestry and agricultural practices and lands for carbon sequestration. However, uncertainty about the accuracy of measuring carbon from these activities has led some to question this potential. Basic approaches for measuring forest and agricultural carbon include on-site measurement; indirect measurement from off-site tools; and estimation using models or inferences. Because of challenges associated with balancing the cost and accuracy of these measurement tools, any practicable system for measuring forest and agricultural carbon might require a mix of these approaches. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10802/
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: Regulatory Issues
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