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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Commerce Clause as a Limit on Congressional Power to Protect the Environment

The Commerce Clause as a Limit on Congressional Power to Protect the Environment

Date: March 12, 1999
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: Several times during the 1990s the Supreme Court struck down federal enactments as exceeding Congress' power under the Commerce Clause or Tenth Amendment. This report briefly reviews three of these decisions -- United States v. Lopez, New York v. United States, and Printz v. United States. Its focus, however, is how these cases have played out in subsequent lower-court challenges to federal environmental laws. The report shows that Supreme Court rulings in favor of these states notwithstanding, such laws have generally, though not always, been found within Commerce Clause and Tenth Amendment limits.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Constitutional Bounds on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment

Constitutional Bounds on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment

Date: December 18, 2002
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Constitutional Constraints on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment

Constitutional Constraints on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment

Date: September 8, 2000
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: Federal protection of the environment must hew to the same constitutional strictures as any other federal actions. In the past decade, however, the Supreme Court has invigorated several of these strictures in ways that present new challenges to congressional drafters of environmental statutes. This report reviews six of these newly emergent constitutional areas, with special attention to their significance for current and future environmental legislation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Endangered Species Act and Private Property

The Endangered Species Act and Private Property

Date: March 7, 1993
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: If the 103rd Congress embarks upon an effort to reauthorize the Endangered Species Act (ESA), it will run into an old acquaintance: the property rights issue. As now written, the ESA has at least the potential to curtail property rights (whatever its actual impact as implemented may be). This report explores the legal repercussions of those impacts, especially whether they constitute takings of property under the fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Environmental Opinions of Judge Samuel Alito

The Environmental Opinions of Judge Samuel Alito

Date: January 6, 2006
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: This report is based on a review of all the reported environmental decisions of the Third Circuit in which Judge Alito was on the three-judge panel that initially decided the case, or in the en banc group of judges that heard the case on review of the panel decision. It does not confine itself, as did the recently reported Washington Post study, to Third Circuit opinions in which there was a dissent.2 We construe “environmental” broadly to include insurance coverage, Fourth Amendment, and other issues arising in an environmental context — and included 34 decisions in our review.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court's Climate Change Decision in Massachusetts v. EPA: A Chronology

Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court's Climate Change Decision in Massachusetts v. EPA: A Chronology

Date: May 1, 2012
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: This report offers a chronology of major federal agency actions, mainly by EPA, that involve GHGs or climate change and that occurred in the wake of Massachusetts v. EPA, a ruling that greenhouse gases are "air pollutants" via the Clean Air Act. As such, they are not under the EPA's jurisdiction.
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
The Future of the Citizen Suit After Steel Co. and Laidlaw

The Future of the Citizen Suit After Steel Co. and Laidlaw

Date: January 5, 1999
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Liability Exemptions in the Senate Brownfields Bill (S. 350)

The Liability Exemptions in the Senate Brownfields Bill (S. 350)

Date: June 15, 2001
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Liability Exemptions in the Senate Brownfields Bill (S. 350)

The Liability Exemptions in the Senate Brownfields Bill (S. 350)

Date: June 15, 2001
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: This report deals solely with the liability provisions of S. 350, found in Title II of the bill. (The manager’s amendment does not concern these.) These provisions cover three types of innocent parties: (1) owners of properties contaminated from contiguous properties, (2) prospective purchasers, and (3) innocent landowners.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department