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 Decade: 2010-2019
 Year: 2010
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
International Agreements on Climate Change: Selected Legal Questions

International Agreements on Climate Change: Selected Legal Questions

Date: April 12, 2010
Creator: Barbour, Emily C.
Description: This report provides background information on global climate change negotiations. The report discuses the United Nations framework for convention for climate change, the Kyoto protocol, and the Copenhagen accord.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: March 30, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response

Date: August 5, 2010
Creator: Corn, M. Lynne & Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report addresses the importance of wetlands in general, the ecology of the coastal wetlands in the Gulf, impacts of oil spills on wetland habitats, response options, the implications of hurricane season for the spill's impacts, and cleanup and recovery issues.3 The emphasis is on the nearshore environment, though a few species found in deeper waters will be mentioned. In addition, some lessons from past spills such as the Exxon Valdez in Alaska will be discussed along with issues that may arise in the years after the leak from the deepwater well is capped.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA): Liability of Responsible Parties

Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA): Liability of Responsible Parties

Date: June 2, 2010
Creator: Nichols, James E.
Description: The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) establishes a framework that addresses the liability of responsible parties in connection with the discharge of oil into the navigable waters of the United States, adjoining shorelines, or the exclusive economic zone. Among other provisions, OPA limits certain liabilities of a responsible party in connection with discharges of oil into such areas. This report addresses liability under OPA for removal costs and damages, and the basic procedure for recovering removal costs and damages from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in the event that the responsible party fails to settle such claims.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Date: July 21, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Litigation Seeking to Establish Climate Change Impacts as a Common Law Nuisance

Litigation Seeking to Establish Climate Change Impacts as a Common Law Nuisance

Date: December 10, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: This report discusses recent legislative initiatives seeking to establish climate change impacts as a common law nuisance. The report explains what private and public nuisances are, the issues faced by policymakers when litigating a climate-change/nuisance suit, and also discusses five climate-chance/nuisance suits that are now or formerly active, as a basis of comparison. The report also explores arguments of those both for and against addressing the complex issue of climate change through common law suits.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Environmental Activities of the U.S. Coast Guard

Environmental Activities of the U.S. Coast Guard

Date: December 6, 2010
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Description: This report discusses the environmental activities of the U.S. Coast Guard, which fall within the service's program for protection of natural resources, and consist of maritime oil spill prevention, marine debris, and pollution response preparedness. Protection of living marine resources and fisheries also falls in this category, but is not discussed here. Marine environmental protection is one of six "non-homeland security missions" specified in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Date: July 2, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Federal Civil and Criminal Penalties Possibly Applicable to Parties Responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Federal Civil and Criminal Penalties Possibly Applicable to Parties Responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Date: August 16, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: Since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill began on April 20, 2010, Congress has given much attention to the compensatory liability provisions of the Oil Pollution Act and, to a lesser extent, those of the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act. However, federal laws possibly relevant to the oil spill also impose civil and criminal money penalties, which may reach dollar amounts in connection with the Gulf spill greater than those for compensatory liability. This report summarizes selected federal civil and criminal penalty provisions that may be found violated in connection with the Gulf spill and related worker fatalities.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Marine Protected Areas: An Overview

Marine Protected Areas: An Overview

Date: September 29, 2010
Creator: Upton, Harold E. & Buck, Eugene H.
Description: Marine protected areas (MPAs) are generally defined as areas reserved by law or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment. This report identifies a number of issues related to establishing MPAs in the United States. It begins by defining the concept and administrative actions taken to provide spatial protection in marine areas. It then considers some of the key issues and potential benefits and costs of designating additional MPAs. It concludes by considering potential areas of congressional interest for the 111th Congress. Existing federal laws related to the use of MPAs are summarized in the Appendix.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Pesticide Use and Water Quality: Are the Laws Complementary or in Conflict?

Pesticide Use and Water Quality: Are the Laws Complementary or in Conflict?

Date: October 13, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report provides background on the conflict over interpretation and implementation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act. A brief discussion of the two laws is followed by a review of the major litigation of interest. EPA's efforts to clarify its policy in this area and the November 2006 rule and the 2009 federal court ruling are discussed, as well as possible options for EPA and Congress to further address the FIFRA-CWA issues. In June, EPA proposed a draft general CWA permit that it intends to finalize by April 2011 in response to the court ruling.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Army Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects: Authorization and Appropriations

Army Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects: Authorization and Appropriations

Date: July 29, 2010
Creator: Carter, Nicole T. & Stern, Charles V.
Description: This report summarizes congressional authorization and appropriations processes for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It also discusses agency activities under general authorities.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Army Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects: Authorization and Appropriations

Army Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects: Authorization and Appropriations

Date: May 26, 2010
Creator: Carter, Nicole T. & Stern, Charles V.
Description: This report summarizes congressional authorization and appropriations processes for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It also discusses agency activities under general authorities.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response

Date: July 7, 2010
Creator: Corn, M. Lynne & Copeland, Claudia
Description: The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, and the resulting oil spill began a cascade of effects on the coastal areas of the Gulf and on the wealth of species that inhabit those areas. This report addresses the importance of wetlands in general, the ecology of the coastal wetlands in the Gulf, impacts of oil spills on wetland habitats, response options, the implications of hurricane season for the spill's impacts, and cleanup and recovery issues. The emphasis is on the nearshore environment, although a few species found in deeper waters will be mentioned. In addition, some lessons from past spills such as the Exxon Valdez in Alaska will be discussed, along with issues that may arise as response and recovery transition to restoration of the Gulf.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Date: May 28, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress

Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress

Date: April 30, 2010
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Description: This report focuses on oil spills in U.S. coastal waters. The first section highlights background issues, including oil spill statistics and potential environmental impacts. The second section discusses the legal framework that governs oil spill prevention and response. The third section examines the threat of future oil spills in coastal waters and whether response personnel are prepared to respond to a major spill.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Date: May 10, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Date: March 30, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Army Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects: Authorization and Appropriations

Army Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects: Authorization and Appropriations

Date: September 29, 2010
Creator: Carter, Nicole T. & Stern, Charles V.
Description: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attracts congressional attention because its projects can have significant local and regional economic benefits and environmental effects, in addition to their water resource development purposes. This report provides an overview of the Corps civil works program. It covers the congressional authorization and appropriation process, the standard project development process, and other Corps activities and authorities. It also includes an Appendix on the evolution of Corps civil works missions and authorities and a description of the limits on the Corps' role in levee accreditation and improvements for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response

Date: October 15, 2010
Creator: Corn, M. Lynne & Copeland, Claudia
Description: The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, and the resulting oil spill began a cascade of effects on the coastal areas of the Gulf and on the wealth of species that inhabit those areas. This report addresses the importance of wetlands in general, the ecology of the coastal wetlands in the Gulf, impacts of oil spills on wetland habitats, response options, the implications of hurricane season for the spill's impacts, and cleanup and recovery issues. The emphasis is on the nearshore environment, although a few species found in deeper waters will be mentioned. In addition, some lessons from past spills such as the Exxon Valdez in Alaska will be discussed, along with issues that may arise as response and recovery transition to restoration of the Gulf.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Date: September 29, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The Coast Guard's two heavy polar icebreakers - Polar Star and Polar Sea - have exceeded their intended 30-year service lives. Following a decision to design and build one or more new polar icebreakers, the first replacement polar icebreaker might enter service in eight to 10 years, by which time Polar Star and Polar Sea could be more than 40 years old. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify Coast Guard plans for modernizing its polar icebreakers. Congressional decisions on this issue could affect the Coast Guard's ability to perform its polar missions, Coast Guard funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: July 21, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues. Congressional readers with questions about an issue discussed in this report should contact the author or authors of the section discussing that issue. The authors are identified by footnote at the start of each section.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Litigation Seeking to Establish Climate Change Impacts as a Common Law Nuisance

Litigation Seeking to Establish Climate Change Impacts as a Common Law Nuisance

Date: November 19, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: This report discusses recent legislative initiatives seeking to establish climate change impacts as a common law nuisance. The report explains what private and public nuisances are, the issues faced by policymakers when litigating a climate-change/nuisance suit, and also discusses five climate-chance/nuisance suits that are now or formerly active, as a basis of comparison. The report also explores arguments of those both for and against addressing the complex issue of climate change through common law suits.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations

A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations

Date: January 7, 2010
Creator: Leggett, Jane A.
Description: The Copenhagen conference in December 2009 achieved only mandates to continue negotiating toward the next Conference of the Parties (COP) to be held in Mexico City in December 2010. As a background to these proceedings, this document provides a U.S.-centric chronology of the international policy deliberations to address climate change from 1979-2009. Negotiations underway since 2007 have run on two tracks, the Kyoto Protocol the Convention under the Bali Action Plan. Many in the U.S. Congress are concerned with the goals and obligations that a treaty or other form of agreement might embody. For U.S. legislators, additional issues include the compatibility of any international agreement with U.S. domestic policies and laws; the adequacy of appropriations, fiscal measures, and programs to achieve any commitments under the agreement; and the desirable form of the agreement and related requirements, with a view toward potential Senate ratification of the agreement and federal legislation to assure that U.S. commitments are met.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department