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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Environmental Activities of the U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard's (USCG's) environmental activities focus on prevention programs, accompanied by enforcement and educational activities. An important component is maritime oil spill prevention, which includes inspection of U.S. and foreign-flagged ships to ensure compliance with U.S. laws and international agreements, as well as reduce the impact of oil and hazardous substances spills. Another prevention effort, minimizing marine debris, addresses commercial items as well as trash from recreational fishing and boating. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10638/
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996 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. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) latest (2003) survey of capital improvement needs for public water systems found that water systems need to invest $276.8 billion on infrastructure improvements over 20 years to ensure the provision of safe water. Key issues include the gap between estimated needs and funding, SDWA compliance costs, and the need for cities to update and maintain water infrastructure, apart from SDWA compliance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10626/
Natural Gas Passenger Vehicles: Availability, Cost, and Performance
Higher gasoline prices and concerns over U.S. oil dependence have raised interest in natural gas vehicles (NGVs). Use of NGVs for personal transportation has focused on compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative to gasoline. Consumer interest has grown, both for new NGVs as well as for conversions of existing personal vehicles to run on CNG. This report finds that the market for natural gas vehicles will likely remain limited unless the differential between natural gas and gasoline prices remains high in order to offset the higher purchase price for an NGV. Conversions of existing vehicles will also continue to be restricted unless the Clean Air Act (CAA) is amended or if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) makes changes to its enforcement of the CAA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10808/
Perchlorate Conatmination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions
Perchlorate is the explosive component of solid rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares, and other products and is used heavily by the Department of Defense (DOD) and other industries. Perchlorate also occurs naturally. This compound has been detected in drinking water supplies, especially in California. It also has been found in milk and many foods. Because of this widespread occurrence, concern over the potential health risks of perchlorate exposure has increased, and some states and Member of Congress have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a drinking water standard for perchlorate. This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and developments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10617/
The Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields Program: Scope, Authorities, and Implementation
The federal role in assisting states and communities to clean up brownfield sites -- real property affected by the potential presence of environmental contamination -- has been an ongoing issue for more than a decade. While there appears to be a broad consensus that a federal role in the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields is desirable, issues regarding the degree of financial assistance and overall program effectiveness have been raised. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10803/
Clean Water Act: Legislation Concerning Discharges from Recreational Boats
The Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to develop a regulatory response to a 2006 federal court ruling that vacated a long-standing rule that exempts discharges associated with the normal operation of vessels from permit requirements of the Clean Water Act. Concern that this ruling could require millions of recreational boaters to obtain permits has led to the introduction of legislation to exempt these and other types of vessels from water quality regulation. This report discusses background to the issue; bills introduced in response, two of which were passed by Congress on July 22; and draft permits proposed by EPA on June 17. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10739/
Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA's Regulatory Program
This report discusses the EPA's federally-mandated program for controlling stormwater discharges from industrial plants and municipalities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93808/
Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations
The principal federal program to aid municipal wastewater treatment plant construction is authorized in the Clean Water Act (CWA). 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. This report summarizes, in chronological order, congressional activity to fund items in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account since 1987. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26111/
Clean Air After the CAIR Decision: Back to Square One?
This report discusses three Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) long-term options in regard to Clean Air: (1) starting anew with a new strategy with respect to mitigating transported air pollution based on the decision; (2) allowing the states to sort out the issue through Section 126 petitions; and (3) seeking new legislation providing EPA with the statutory authority to implement either CAIR in some form, or an alternative. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94165/
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/
Clean Water Act: Legislation Concerning Discharges from Recreational Boats
The Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to develop a regulatory response to a 2006 federal court ruling that vacated a long-standing rule that exempts discharges associated with the normal operation of vessels from permit requirements of the Clean Water Act. Concern that this ruling could require millions of recreational boaters to obtain permits has led to the introduction of legislation to exempt these and other types of vessels from water quality regulation. This report discusses background to the issue; bills introduced in response, two of which were passed by Congress on July 22; and draft permits proposed by EPA on June 17. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10738/
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/
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): Fact Sheet on Three International Agreements
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are chemicals that do not break down easily in the environment, tend to accumulate as they move up the food chain, and may be harmful to people and wildlife. Between 1998 and 2001, the United States signed tow international treaties and one executive agreement to reduce the production and use of POPs and to regulate the trade and disposal of them. This report discusses these treaties in detail, as well as their ratification process and U.S. statutes that are inconsistent with these treaties. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10661/
Environmental Services Markets in the 2008 Farm Bill
This report gives an overview of issues involved in the provisions of the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-234, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act). It includes a brief overview describing environmental services markets, benefits and barriers, recent Congressional action related to the topics, and possible considerations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94106/
Environmental Activities of the U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard's (USCG's) environmental activities focus on prevention programs, accompanied by enforcement and educational activities. An important component is maritime oil spill prevention, which includes inspection of U.S. and foreign-flagged ships to ensure compliance with U.S. laws and international agreements, as well as reduce the impact of oil and hazardous substances spills. Another prevention effort, minimizing marine debris, addresses commercial items as well as trash from recreational fishing and boating. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10637/
Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions
Perchlorate is the explosive component of solid rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares, and other products and is used heavily by the Department of Defense (DOD) and other industries. Perchlorate also occurs naturally. This compound has been detected in drinking water supplies, especially in California. It also has been found in milk and many foods. Because of this widespread occurrence, concern over the potential health risks of perchlorate exposure has increased, and some states and Member of Congress have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a drinking water standard for perchlorate. This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and developments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10616/
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/
California's Waiver Request to Control Greenhouse Gases Under the Clean Air Act
This report reviews the nature of Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) authority, as well as that of California and other states, to regulate emissions from mobile sources. It includes a discussion fo the applicability of that authority to greenhouse gases (GHGs) and issues related to the California waiver request. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96785/
The National Environmental Policy Act: Background and Implementation
This report discusses the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) including its history, its provisions, and the evolution of its implementation; it also provides an overview of how agencies implement NEPA's requirements. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98060/
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/metadc96770/
Open Ocean Aquaculture
This report discusses four general areas related to open ocean aquaculture: (1) operational and business-related challenges; (2) potential economic impacts; (3) potential environmental impacts; and (4) the legal and regulatory environment. It summarizes recent executive and legislative branch actions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98056/
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)
This report discusses carbon capture and sequestration (CSS), 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/metadc98087/
Pipelines for Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Control: Network Needs and Cost Uncertainties
This report examines key uncertainties in CO2 pipeline requirements for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) by contrasting hypothetical pipeline scenarios in one region of the United States. The report summarizes the key factors influencing CO2 pipeline configuration for major power plants in the region, and illustrates how the viability of different sequestration sites may lead to enormous differences in pipeline costs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96797/
Military Base Closures: Role and Costs of Environmental Cleanup
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10175/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10136/
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 109th Congress: Conflicting Values and Difficult Choices
The 109th Congress is considering proposals to amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA; P.L. 93-205, 16 U.S.C. §§1531-1543). Major issues in recent years have included changing the role of science in decision-making, modifying critical habitat (CH) procedures, incorporating further protection and incentives for property owners, and increasing protection of listed species, among others. In addition, many have advocated enacting as law some ESA regulations promulgated during the Clinton Administration. This report identifies other bills that have been introduced in the 109th Congress to address specific concerns related to how the ESA is implemented and how endangered species are managed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10137/
Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues
Section 401 of the Clean Water Act requires that an applicant for a federal license or permit provide a certification that any discharges from the facility will comply with the Act, including water quality standard requirements. Disputes have arisen over the states' exercise of authority under Section 401. Until recently, much of the debate over the Section 401 certification issue has been between states and hydropower interests. A 1994 Supreme Court decision which upheld the states' authority in this area dismayed development and hydroelectric power interest groups. The Court revisited these issues in a 2006 ruling that unanimously upheld the states' authority to condition hydropower licenses. The dispute between states and industry groups about Section 401 authority has been a legislative issue on several occasions, but Congress has not responded by modifying the provision's scope. In addition, there has been interest in clarifying whether Section 401 certification applies to nonpoint source discharges, such as rainfall runoff, as well as point source discharges from pipes or ditches. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83833/
Military Base Closures: Role and Cost of Environmental Cleanup
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9952/
Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress
Climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a continuing issue in the 109th Congress. Bills directly addressing climate change issues range from those focused primarily on climate change research to comprehensive emissions cap-and-trade programs. Additional bills focus on GHG reporting and registries, or on power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, as part of wider controls on pollutant emissions. The bills vary in their approaches to climate change issues. This report briefly discusses the basic concepts on which these bills are based and compares major provisions of the bills in each of the following categories: climate change research, technology deployment, GHG reporting and registries, and emissions reduction programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10374/
Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress
Climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a continuing issue in the 109th Congress. Bills directly addressing climate change issues range from those focused primarily on climate change research to comprehensive emissions cap-and-trade programs. Additional bills focus on GHG reporting and registries, or on power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, as part of wider controls on pollutant emissions. The bills vary in their approaches to climate change issues. This report briefly discusses the basic concepts on which these bills are based and compares major provisions of the bills in each of the following categories: climate change research, technology deployment, GHG reporting and registries, and emissions reduction programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9809/
Implementing International Agreements on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): Proposed Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9417/
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 109th Congress: Conflicting Values and Difficult Choices
The 109th Congress is considering proposals to amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA; P.L. 93-205, 16 U.S.C. §§1531-1543). Major issues in recent years have included changing the role of science in decision-making, modifying critical habitat (CH) procedures, incorporating further protection and incentives for property owners, and increasing protection of listed species, among others. In addition, many have advocated enacting as law some ESA regulations promulgated during the Clinton Administration. This report identifies other bills that have been introduced in the 109th Congress to address specific concerns related to how the ESA is implemented and how endangered species are managed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10138/
Exemptions from Environmental Law for the Department of Defense: An Overview of Congressional Action
Several environmental statutes contain national security exemptions, which the Department of Defense (DOD) can obtain on a case-by-case basis. Since FY2003, DOD has sought broader exemptions that it argues are needed to preserve training capabilities and ensure military readiness. There has been disagreement in Congress over the need for broader exemptions in the absence of data on the overall impact of environmental requirements on training and readiness. There has also been disagreement over the potential impacts of broader exemptions on environmental quality. This report outlines this issue and relevant legislation in detail. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10224/
Environmental Protection Issues in the 109th Congress
Environmental protection concerns span a wide variety of issues, including clear air, water quality, chemical security, and environmental aspects of other major issue areas, such as energy, transportation, disaster relief and cleanup, and defense. This report provides an overview of key environmental issues receiving attention in the 109th Congress. A number of environmental measures have been the subject of congressional activity, some of them as part of comprehensive bills and laws on broader subjects such as energy and transportation. Appropriations for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) affect many of the programs and issues discussed in this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10327/
Environmental Protection Issues in the 109th Congress
Environmental protection concerns span a wide variety of issues, including clean air, water quality, chemical security, and environmental aspects of other major issue areas, such as energy, transportation, disaster relief and cleanup, and defense. This report provides an overview of key environmental issues receiving attention in the 109th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9744/
Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress
The courts and the executive branch face major decisions on clean air issues in 2006, with Congress more likely playing an oversight role. One focus is EPA's Jan. 17 2006 proposal to strengthen air quality standards for fine particles, which are estimated to cause tens of thousands of premature deaths annually. Whether the proposal is supported by the available science and what impact its implementation would have have likely issues of concern. 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/metacrs10514/
Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress
The courts and the executive branch face major decisions on clean air issues in 2006, with Congress more likely playing an oversight role. One focus is EPA's Jan. 17 2006 proposal to strengthen air quality standards for fine particles, which are estimated to cause tens of thousands of premature deaths annually. Whether the proposal is supported by the available science and what impact its implementation would have likely issues of concern. 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/metadc83873/
U.S. Disposal of Chemical Weapons in the Ocean: Background and Issues for Congress
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9999/
U.S. Disposal of Chemical Weapons in the Ocean: Background and Issues for Congress
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9975/
Environmental Protection Issues in the 109th Congress
Environmental protection concerns span a wide variety of issues, including clean air, water quality, chemical security, and environmental aspects of other major issue areas such as transportation and defense. This issue brief provides an overview of key environmental issues that are receiving or may receive attention in the 109th Congress. The sections on specific issues contain references to more detailed and extensive CRS reports on the subjects covered. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8994/
Exemptions from Environmental Law for the Department of Defense: An Overview of Congressional Action
Several environmental statutes contain national security exemptions, which the Department of Defense (DOD) can obtain on a case-by-case basis. Since FY2003, DOD has sought broader exemptions that it argues are needed to preserve training capabilities and ensure military readiness. There has been disagreement in Congress over the need for broader exemptions in the absence of data on the overall impact of environmental requirements on training and readiness. There also has been disagreement over the potential impacts of broader exemptions on environmental quality. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10223/
Superfund: Overview and Selected Issues
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9266/
Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress
The courts and the executive branch face major decisions on clean air issues in 2006, with Congress more likely playing an oversight role. One focus is EPA's Jan. 17 2006 proposal to strengthen air quality standards for fine particles, which are estimated to cause tens of thousands of premature deaths annually. Whether the proposal is supported by the available science and what impact its implementation would have likely issues of concern. 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/metadc83874/
Cleanup After Hurricane Katrina: Environmental Considerations
This report aims to provide an overview of the immediate and intermediate cleanup tasks across the diverse communities in the affected region, and federal legal authorities and plans for tackling them. The report also discusses coordinated roles and activities among local, state, and federal agencies and officials. Finally, the report serves to reference other, more detailed CRS reports and other sources on particular Katrina cleanup activities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9025/
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 109th 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/metacrs10167/
Implementing International Agreements on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): Proposed Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9168/
NEPA and Hurricane Response, Recovery, and Rebuilding Efforts
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8655/
Global Climate Change
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8752/
National Environmental Education Act of 1990: Overview, Implementation, and Reauthorization Issues
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10141/
Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress
Climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a continuing issue in the 109th Congress. Bills directly addressing climate change issues range from those focused primarily on climate change research to comprehensive emissions cap-and-trade programs. Additional bills focus on GHG reporting and registries, or on power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, as part of wider controls on pollutant emissions. The bills vary in their approaches to climate change issues. This report briefly discusses the basic concepts on which these bills are based and compares major provisions of the bills in each of the following categories: climate change research, technology deployment, GHG reporting and registries, and emissions reduction programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10154/