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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress
The use of biomass as an energy feedstock is emerging as a potentially viable alternative to address U.S. energy security concerns, foreign oil dependence, rural economic development, and diminishing sources of conventional energy. Biomass (organic matter that can be converted into energy) may include food crops, crops for energy, crop residues, wood waste and byproducts, and animal manure. Most legislation involving biomass has focused on encouraging the production of liquid fuels from corn. For over 30 years, the term biomass has been a part of legislation enacted by Congress for various programs, indicating some interest by the general public and policymakers in expanding its use. To aid understanding of why U.S. consumers, utility groups, refinery managers, and others have not fully adopted biomass as an energy resource, this report investigates the characterization of biomass in legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86549/
Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 112th Congress
Report discussing the use of biomass, its legislative history, and the proposed redefinition of biomass in legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227642/
Biomass Feedstocks for Biopower: Background and Selected Issues
The production of bioenergy - renewable energy derived from biomass - could potentially increase national energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to rural economic growth. This report provides analyses of commonly discussed biomass feedstocks and their relative potential for power generation. Additional biopower issues - feedstock accessibility, the biomass power plant carbon-neutrality debate, and unintended consequences of legislative activities to promote bioenergy - are also discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31382/
Hydropower: Federal and Nonfederal Investment
This report discusses the changing energy and economic landscape, as well as the roughly 25 bills introduced by the 112th Congress regarding hydropower (the use of flowing water to produce electricity). Congress is examining numerous energy sources to determine their contribution to the nation's energy portfolio and the federal role in supporting these sources, including hydropower. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93943/
Is Biopower Carbon Neutral?
This report discusses some of the most relevant factors to take into account when considering whether or not biopower is carbon neutral. It does not discuss carbon accounting for other bioenergy pathways. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99021/
Meeting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Mandate for Cellulosic Biofuels: Questions and Answers
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was expanded under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA; P.L. 110-140) in an effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil, promote biofuel use, and stabilize transportation fuel prices, among other goals. Over a 15-year period, the RFS seeks to establish a market for biofuels in the transportation sector by requiring that increasing amounts of biofuels-36 billion gallons by 2022-be blended into transportation fuel. The mandate is to be accomplished with an assortment of advanced biofuels, including cellulosic biofuels-fuels produced from cellulosic materials including grasses, trees, and agricultural and municipal wastes-which will ramp up over time to comprise some 44% of the RFS in 2022. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83938/
Meeting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Mandate for Cellulosic Biofuels: Questions and Answers
This report discusses the background of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and answers some common questions about it. The RFS was expanded under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 in an effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil, promote biofuel use, and stabilize transportation fuel prices, among other goals. Over a 15-year period, the RFS seeks to establish a market for biofuels in the transportation sector by requiring that increasing amounts of biofuels be blended into transportation fuel. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96675/
The Renewable Fuel Standard: In Brief
This report provides a basic description of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), including some of the widely discussed issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272064/
Wildfire Fuels and Fuel Reduction
This report examines wildfire biomass fuels. It discusses fuel characteristics and their relation to wildfire intensity and spread, and includes a description of actions proposed to reduce biomass fuel levels, their effectiveness for protecting property and resources from wildfires, and their impacts on other resource values. It concludes with an examination of the federal authorities for fuel reduction activities on federal and non-federal lands, together with data on the funding provided under each of these authorities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc282274/
Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress
This report discusses the use of biomass as an energy feedstock, which is emerging as a potentially viable alternative to address U.S. energy security concerns, foreign oil dependence, rural economic development, and diminishing sources of conventional energy. Biomass (organic matter that can be converted into energy) may include food crops, crops for energy (e.g., switchgrass or prairie perennials), crop residues, wood waste and byproducts, and animal manure. This report discusses legislation regarding biomass, the evolving definition of biomass, and the positions of supporters and detractors of biomass as an alternative energy source. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29569/
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/
Clean Energy Standard: Potential Qualifying Energy Sources
This report begins with a brief examination of clean energy, renewable energy, and alternative energy. It then presents possible selection criteria Congress could use to determine which sources could be eligible for a CES depending on the goal(s) of the CES. The report provides an overview of the energy sources most commonly discussed as potential CES qualifying sources: biomass, fossil fuels (natural gas combined-cycle and coal-fired power plants with carbon capture and sequestration), geothermal resources, nuclear, solar, water, and wind. The report describes where each source can be found in the United States, the estimated quantity available for electricity generation, technologies used to create electricity from the source, advantages and disadvantages of using the source for electricity generation, and policy implications should the source be included in a CES.5 The report also contains a section on energy efficiency and its potential inclusion in a CES. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40142/
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/
Cellulosic Biofuels: Analysis of Policy Issues for Congress
Report that provides background on the current effort to develop industrial-scale, competitive technology to produce biofuels from cellulosic feedstocks. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc228086/
Water Rights Related to Oil Shale Development in the Upper Colorado River Basin
Concerns over fluctuating oil prices and declining petroleum production worldwide have revived interest in oil shale as a potential resource. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) identified oil shale as a strategically important domestic resource and directed the Department of the Interior to promote commercial development. Oil shale development would require significant amounts of water, however, and water supply in the Colorado River Basin, where several oil shale reserves are located, is limited. This report will provide a brief overview of water rights in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, including changes that may be made to currently held water rights and the possibility for abandonment of unused water rights. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10824/
Clean Energy Standard: Design Elements, State Baseline Compliance and Policy Considerations
This report evaluates design elements of previous Clean Energy Standards (CES) proposals, summarizes the Administration’s CES policy framework, provides state-level baseline CES compliance analysis, and presents several policy options that Congress might consider as part of a CES debate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99032/
Clean Energy Standard: Summary and Analysis of S. 2146
U.S. policymakers have considered and deliberated on several policy designs that could potentially reduce energy-related carbon emissions. In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama proposed the concept of a Clean Energy Standard (CES) that would result in 80% of U.S. electricity generation from clean energy sources by 2035. In March of 2012, the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 (S. 2146) was introduced in the Senate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc85424/
European Union Wind and Solar Electricity Policies: Overview and Considerations
The subject matter covered within this report is European Union (EU) renewable electricity generation--specifically onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227901/
U.S. Renewable Electricity: How Does the Production Tax Credit (PTC) Impact Wind Markets?
This report discusses the use of wind as a power source, including: production tax credits (PTC), U.S. electricity demand growth, and the price of natural gas. Issues for Congress include whether or not the PTC will be extended. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93940/
The Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is one of the largest energy conservation programs in the nation. The DOE program is implemented in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Native American Tribes. It weatherizes an average of 70,000 dwellings per year. The program strives to increase the energy efficiency of dwellings occupied by low-income persons in order to reduce their energy consumption and lower their fuel bills. It targets vulnerable groups including the elderly, people with disabilities, and families with children. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2681/
The Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is one of the largest energy conservation programs in the nation. The DOE program is implemented in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Native American Tribes. It weatherizes an average of 70,000 dwellings per year. The program strives to increase the energy efficiency of dwellings occupied by low-income persons in order to reduce their energy consumption and lower their fuel bills. It targets vulnerable groups including the elderly, people with disabilities, and families with children. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1678/
The Weatherization Assistance Program: A Fact Sheet
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10007/
China and the United States--A Comparison of Green Energy Programs and Policies
This report looks at the laws, programs, and policies encouraging development of wind, solar, and biomass power in the China and the United States. While hydropower is the most developed source of renewable electricity in both China and the United States, additional development of conventional hydropower is not currently a major focus of energy policy in the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc306556/
China and the United States—A Comparison of Green Energy Programs and Policies
This report looks at the laws, programs, and policies encouraging development of wind, solar, and biomass power in the China and the United States. While hydropower is the most developed source of renewable electricity in both China and the United States, additional development of conventional hydropower is not currently a major focus of energy policy in the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99052/
Fukushima Nuclear Crisis
This report briefly discusses the March 11, 2001, earthquake off the east coast of Honshu, Japan's largest island. The earthquake caused an automatic shutdown of eleven of Japan's fifty-five operating nuclear power plants. The plants closes to the earthquake's epicenter, Fukushima and Onagawa, were damaged by the earthquake and resulting tsunami. This report also discusses efforts by the United States and other countries to provide assistance to Japan to deal with the nuclear crisis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33026/
Options for a Federal Renewable Electricity Standard
This report discusses current ideas for a federal Renewable Electricity (or Energy) Standard (RES) and a broader Clean Energy Standard (CES). The goal of this report is to explore how such policies could potentially increase the amounts of renewable electricity generated in the United States, discussing other related public policy goals and rationales for renewable energy development, and the challenges/drawbacks of RES policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29634/
Weather-Related Power Outages and Electric System Resiliency
This report focuses on the impacts of sustained power outages as might result from the result of seasonal storms, and whether there is a role for the federal government in hastening the restoration of power from weather-related outages. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122249/
Fukushima Nuclear Crisis
This report briefly discusses the March 11, 2001 earthquake off the east coast of Honshu, Japan's largest island. The earthquake caused an automatic shutdown of eleven of Japan's fifty-five operating nuclear power plants, though the plants closest to the earthquake's epicenter, Fukushima and Onagawa, were damaged by the earthquake and resulting tsunami. This report also discusses efforts by the United States and other countries to provide assistance to Japan to deal with the nuclear crisis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98969/
Why Some Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Are Not Sold Domestically
Report that discusses reasons why some fuel-efficient vehicles are not sold in the U.S. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227780/
Biofuels Provisions in the 2007 Energy Bill and the 2008 Farm Bill: A Side-by-Side Comparison
The report discusses the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 (EISA, P.L. 110-140), also known as the 2007 energy bill. It also describes the key elements of EISA and the 2008 Farm Bill. The report provides a table with comparison of current or prior law with biofuels provisions in EISA and the enacted Farm Bill. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94125/
Energy's Water Demand: Trends, Vulnerabilities, and Management
The nation's energy choices embody many tradeoffs. Water use is one of those tradeoffs. The energy choices before Congress represent vastly different demands on domestic freshwater. The energy sector's water consumption is projected to rise 50% from 2005 to 2030. This rising water demand derives from both an increase in the amount of energy demanded and shifts to more water-intense energy sources and technologies. This report discusses this issue as well as related issues that may arise for the 112th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31387/
Rising Energy Competition and Energy Security in Northeast Asia: Issues for U.S. Policy
This report analyzes how China, Japan, and South Korea's pursuits to bolster their energy security impacts U.S. interests. It also examines decisions being made by Asian states now that will significantly shape global affairs in the future, how these decisions might play out, and how Congress and the executive branch might play a role in those decisions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93986/
Rising Energy Competition and Energy Security in Northeast Asia: Issues for U.S. Policy
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7529/
Nuclear Explosions in Space: The Threat of EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse)
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9172/
Auburn Dam on the American River: Fact Sheet
For more than 30 years, Congress has debated constructing a dam on the American River near Auburn, California. The Army Corps of Engineers recently identified three alternatives for flood control, with the Division office's preferred plan calling for construction of a 508-foot-high detention dam. Currently, two bills address the issue: H.R. 3270 supports construction of the dam, while H.R. 2951 opposes construction of any structure on the North Fork of the American River. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs314/
Federal Tort Claims Act
The Federal Tort Claims Act is the statute by which the United States authorizes tort suits to be brought against itself. With exceptions, it makes the United States liable for injuries caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any federal employee acting within the scope of his employment, in accordance with the law of the state where the act or omission occurred. This report discusses, among other things, the application of the Feres doctrine to suits for injuries caused by medical malpractice in the military, the prohibition of suits by victims of atomic testing, Supreme Court cases interpreting the discretionary function exception, the extent to which federal employees may be held liable for torts they commit in the scope of their employment, and the government contractor defense to products liability design defect suits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29494/
Soviet Pipeline
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9171/
Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9237/
Russia's Accession to the WTO
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9225/
Cooling Water Intake Structures: Summary of EPA's Proposed Rule
This report looks at the environmental impact of using water to absorb the heat from thermoelectric generating plants and manufacturing facilities during their industrial processes. The issue for Congress has been whether a stringent and costly environmental mandate could jeopardize reliability of electricity supply in the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96691/
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Background and Issues
This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for energy development. The report discusses arguments for and against such development and related pieces of legislation. It does not analyze specific proposals to develop or protect the Refuge. Rather, it provides basic material for analyzing possibilities and implications of the major issues that have been the focus of the legislative debate over its fate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3775/
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. This report addresses several legislative options on the issue, as well as policymakers' arguments for and against development, especially in the wake of increasing terrorism since 2000-2001. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3770/
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. This report addresses several legislative options on the issue, as well as policymakers' arguments for and against development, especially in the wake of increasing terrorism since 2000-2001. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs5735/
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. This report addresses several legislative options on the issue, as well as policymakers' arguments for and against development, especially in the wake of increasing terrorism since 2000-2001. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs5736/
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. This report addresses several legislative options on the issue, as well as policymakers' arguments for and against development, especially in the wake of increasing terrorism since 2000-2001. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3764/
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. This report addresses several legislative options on the issue, as well as policymakers' arguments for and against development, especially in the wake of increasing terrorism since 2000-2001. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3769/
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. This report addresses several legislative options on the issue, as well as policymakers' arguments for and against development, especially in the wake of increasing terrorism since 2000-2001. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3766/
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. This report addresses several legislative options on the issue, as well as policymakers' arguments for and against development, especially in the wake of increasing terrorism since 2000-2001. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3765/
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. This report addresses several legislative options on the issue, as well as policymakers' arguments for and against development, especially in the wake of increasing terrorism since 2000-2001. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3767/
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. This report addresses several legislative options on the issue, as well as policymakers' arguments for and against development, especially in the wake of increasing terrorism since 2000-2001. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3768/