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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Climate Change: Frequently Asked Questions about the 2015 Paris Agreement
This report discusses the frequently asked questions about the 2015 Paris Agreement (PA). The PA opened for signature by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on April 22, 2016, at U.N. headquarters in New York City. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944673/
Clean Power Plan: Legal Background and Pending Litigation in West Virginia v. EPA
This report provides legal background on the Clean Power Plan rule (CPP or Rule) to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), its Clean Air Act (CAA) framework under Section 111, and climate-related lawsuits that have preceded the present litigation over the CPP. It then gives an overview of the participants in the current litigation, including two groups of Members of Congress, who have offered briefs in support of the petitioners and the respondents, respectively. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944700/
Pipeline Security: Domestic Threats
This report discusses recent acts of sabotage against U.S. oil pipelines by environmental activists have raised concern about the security of the nation's energy pipelines and the federal program to protect them. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944764/
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
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. Some general issues include Arctic territorial disputes; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic, which could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation or competition. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944731/
Evolution of the Meaning of "Waters of the United States" in the Clean Water Act
This report examines the changing definition of the phrase, "waters of the United States." The scope of waters that are properly the subject of federal water pollution legislation has been the subject of long-standing consideration by all three branches of the federal government, particularly in the aftermath of the 1972 amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944786/
Paris Agreement: United States, China Move to Become Parties to Climate Change Treaty
This report discusses the Paris agreement, which was negotiated under the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and where President Obama and China's President Xi Jinping synchronously deposited their nations' signed instruments with U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944800/
The 2016 Olympic Games: Health, Security, Environmental, and Doping Issues
This report discusses a variety of issues might pose risks to the health, safety, and general well-being of athletes and their families, team personnel, and spectators participating in or attending the 2016 Olympic Games. Chief among these are the Zika virus, public safety threats, security concerns, and environmental conditions. The report also discusses the possible implications of hosting the Olympics for Brazil and the issue of doping. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944816/
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides a series of frequently-asked questions with answers regarding the Clean Power Plan and related litigation. On August 3, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated standards for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing fossil-fuel-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA); the rule, known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), appeared in the Federal Register on October 23, 2015. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855898/
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet. The Coast Guard's proposed FY2017 budget requests $150 million in acquisition funding for a new polar icebreaker that the Coast Guard wants to begin building in FY2020. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Administration's FY2017 acquisition funding request for a new polar icebreaker, and, more generally, whether to approve, reject, or modify the Coast Guard's overall plan for sustaining and modernizing the polar icebreaking fleet. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855901/
EPA Policies Concerning Integrated Planning and Affordability of Water Infrastructure
This report examines two recent initiatives by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in which the agency works with states to develop and implement new approaches for water quality goals that will be more cost-effective and address the most pressing water infrastructure problems first. The examples include 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). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855932/
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress
This report discusses one major element of the energy debate in the 108th Congress, which has been whether to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in northeastern Alaska, and if so, under what conditions, or whether to continue to prohibit development to protect the area's biological resources. The Refuge is an area rich in fauna, flora, and commercial oil potential. Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855939/
Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
This report discusses key drinking water issues in the 108th Congress involving water infrastructure funding and problems caused by specific contaminants, such as the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), perchlorate, and lead in drinking water. Congress last reauthorized the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1996, and although funding authority for most SDWA programs expired in FY2003, broad reauthorization efforts were not pursued as EPA, states, and water utilities continued implementing the 1996 amendments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855737/
Clean Air Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
This report summarizes the Clean Air Act and its major regulatory requirements. It describes the Act's major provisions and provides tables listing all major amendments, with the year of enactment and Public Law number, and crossreferencing sections of the Act with the major U.S. Code sections of the codified statute. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855761/
Clean Power Plan: Legal Background and Pending Litigation in West Virginia v. EPA
This report provides legal background on the Clean Power Plan rule (CPP) to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), its Clean Air Act (CAA) framework under Section 111, and climate-related lawsuits that have preceded the present litigation over the CPP. It then gives an overview of the participants in the current litigation, including two groups of Members of Congress, who have offered briefs in support of the petitioners and the respondents, respectively. This report explains the major events in the litigation as of the date of publication, including the Supreme Court stay, and the likely timetable of events in the near term. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855770/
Clean Water Act Issues in the 108th Congress
This report discusses issues regarding the Clean Water Act. Prospects for legislative initiatives to comprehensively amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) have stalled for some time over whether and exactly how to change the law, and Congress has recently focused legislative attention on narrow bills to extend or modify selected CWA programs, rather than taking up comprehensive proposals. For example, the 108th Congress enacted one bill amending the CWA, legislation to reauthorize the National Estuary Program (H.R. 4731, P.L. 108-399). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855805/
Brownfields and Superfund Issues in the 108th Congress
This report discusses the Superfund program for cleaning up the nation's worst hazardous waste sites, created by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, or CERCLA (P.L. 96-510, as amended). It includes recent development and background issues, superfund issues, revenue issues, comprehensive reauthorization, and legislation regarding superfund program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855812/
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, and describes how the EPA resolved these issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855813/
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
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. The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region's future. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855892/
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). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847621/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847791/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847555/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847565/
Exemptions from Environmental Law for the Department of Defense: An Overview of Congressional Action
This report discusses the difficulty of assessing the impact of environmental requirements on military readiness, broader exemptions for military activities that Congress has enacted, and DOD's request for additional exemptions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847737/
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: Program Overview and Issues
This report discusses the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996, which authorized a drinking water state revolving loan fund (DWSRF) program to help public water systems finance infrastructure projects needed to comply with federal drinking water regulations and to protect public health. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847740/
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet. Congress's decisions on this issue could affect Coast Guard funding requirements, the Coast Guard's ability to perform its polar missions, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847743/
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
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. The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region's future. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847749/
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report summarizes the Clean Power Plan rule as it was finalized on August 3, 2015, before discussing how the ongoing litigation may potentially impact the rule and its deadlines. EPA faced a number of issues and questions while developing the regulations. This report describes how EPA answered these and other questions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847767/
Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations
This report summarizes, in chronological order, congressional activity to fund items in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account since 1987. In appropriations legislation, funding for EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) wastewater assistance is contained in the measure providing funds for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847776/
National Environmental Education Act of 1990: Overview, Implementation, and Reauthorization Issues
This report presents an overview of the National Environmental Education Act of 1990, discusses appropriations, examines the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) implementation of the act, and analyzes reauthorization issues relevant to legislation introduced in recent Congresses. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847780/
Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
This report discusses key drinking water issues in the 109th Congress, including problems caused by specific contaminants, such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and perchlorate, as well as the related issue of the appropriate federal role in providing financial assistance for water infrastructure projects. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847623/
Military Base Closures: Role and Costs of Environmental Cleanup
This report explains cleanup requirements for the transfer and reuse of properties on closed bases, discusses property transfer status and cleanup costs on bases closed in prior rounds, and examines estimates of costs to clean up bases to be closed in the 2005 round to make these properties safe for civilian reuse. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847635/
Exemptions from Environmental Law for the Department of Defense: Background and Issues for Congress
Over time, Congress has included exemptions in several environmental statutes to ensure that requirements of those statutes would not restrict military training needs to the extent that national security would be compromised. This report discusses these exemptions and congressional disagreement over the need for broader exemptions in the absence of data on the overall impact of environmental requirements on training and readiness. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847636/
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 109th Congress: Conflicting Values and Difficult Choices
This report discusses various proposals to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA; P.L. 93-205, 16 U.S.C. §§1531-1543). Major issues include changing the role of science in decision-making, modifying critical habitat (CH) procedures, reducing conflicts with Department of Defense activities, incorporating further protection and incentives for property owners, and increasing protection of listed species, among others. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847650/
Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress
This report discusses major decisions on clean air issues facing the courts and the executive branch in 2006. One focus will be EPA's recent proposal to strengthen air quality standards for fine particles. Other issues of continuing interest are EPA's 2005 decisions limiting interstate transport of air pollution and establishing cap-and-trade systems for emissions from coal fired power plants, and the agency's proposed changes to New Source Review. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847663/
The Wetlands Coverage of the Clean Water Act Is Revisited by the Supreme Court: Rapanos v. United States
This report discusses the Supreme Court decision in Rapanos v. United States, which addressed the asserted jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over wetlands adjacent to "waters of the United States," the problematic phrase used by the Clean Water Act (CWA) to define the geographic scope of the act's wetlands permitting program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847676/
The National Environmental Policy Act: Streamlining NEPA
This report discusses elements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321, et seq.) relevant to streamlining, issues associated with determining project delays attributed to NEPA, common streamlining methods, and recently proposed and enacted legislative and administrative streamlining activities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847702/
Brownfields Tax Incentive Extension
This report discusses the brownfields tax incentive, which expires on December 31, 2007. Enacted in 1997, the provision allowed a taxpayer to fully deduct the costs of environmental cleanup in the year the costs were incurred, rather than spreading the costs over a period of years. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847582/
Brief Summaries of Federal Animal Protection Statutes
This report contains brief summaries of federal animal protection statutes, listed alphabetically. It includes statutes enacted to implement treaties, those that protect certain groups of animals (e.g., protection of "game" animals rather than predators), statutes to conserve fish, statutes that allow the disabled to use service animals, and statutes aimed at acts of animal rights advocates (the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, and the Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act of 1994). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847604/
Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions
This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and developments. Concern over the potential health risks of perchlorate exposure has increased, and some states and members of Congress have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a drinking water standard for perchlorate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847501/
Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions
This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and developments. Concern over the potential health risks of perchlorate exposure has increased, and some states and members of Congress have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a drinking water standard for perchlorate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847512/
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847514/
Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Bills in the 110th Congress
This report presents a side-by-side comparison of the major provisions of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, and includes a glossary of common terms. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847525/
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Waiver Authority and Modification of Volumes
This report discusses the process and criteria for the Environmental Protection Agency to waive various portions of the renewable fuel standard (RFS), and the modification of applicable volumes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824757/
EPA and the Army Corps' Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"
This report describes the revised rule of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) which defines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Agencies refer to this final rule as the Clean Water Rule. This report includes a table comparing the existing regulatory language that defines "waters of the United States" with the revisions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824769/
Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
This report discusses key drinking water issues in the 109th Congress, which have included problems caused by specific contaminants, such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and perchlorate, as well as the related issue of the appropriate federal role in providing financial assistance for water infrastructure projects. Congress last reauthorized the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1996, and although funding authority for most SDWA programs expired in FY2003, broad reauthorization bills have not been proposed, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states, and water systems remain busy implementing the 1996 amendments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824805/
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress such as: Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic that could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation or competition. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824663/
Constitutional Bounds on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment
This report reviews five newly-emergent constitutional areas related to environmental issues, based on Supreme Court decisions. For each area, the focus is its significance for current and future federal environmental legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824671/
EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?
This report provides background information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory activity during the Obama Administration. It examines major or controversial regulatory actions since January 2009, providing details on the regulatory action itself, presenting an estimated timeline for completion of rules not yet promulgated (including related court or statutory deadlines), and, in general, providing EPA's estimates of costs and benefits, where available. The report includes tables for rules under development, and an appendix that describes major or controversial rules that are now final. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824683/
Clean Water Act Issues in the 109th Congress
This report discusses various issues in the 109th Congress pertaining to water infrastructure and water quality standards. Legislative initiatives to comprehensively amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) have stalled for some time as interested parties have debated whether and exactly how to change the law. Congress has recently focused legislative attention on narrow bills to extend or modify selected CWA programs, rather than taking up comprehensive proposals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824707/
Military Base Closures: Role and Costs of Environmental Cleanup
This report provides an overview of cleanup requirements for the transfer and reuse of base closure properties, discusses the status of property transfer on bases closed under prior rounds, examines costs to clean up bases closed under these prior rounds, and discusses cleanup costs and issues for the 2005 round. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824570/
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