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 Country: United States
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Supreme Court Accepts Five Environmental Cases During Its 2008-2009 Term

The Supreme Court Accepts Five Environmental Cases During Its 2008-2009 Term

Date: February 27, 2009
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: In the Supreme Court's 2008-2009 term, which likely will conclude in late June, 2009, the Court has accepted for argument five environmental cases—an unusually large number out of the roughly 85 cases accepted for argument. The reason for this interest in environmental cases at this particular time is speculative; the Court generally does not explain why it accepts cases. This report reviews the cases, decided and undecided, and then briefly comments.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program

Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program

Date: February 20, 2009
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: The 110th Congress in June 2008 passed a new omnibus farm bill (P.L. 110-246). Provisions in this new law now spell out more explicitly how the Secretary is to use the annual Section 32 appropriation. Section 32 of the act of August 24, 1935 (P.L. 74-320 as amended; 7 U.S.C. 612c) authorizes a permanent appropriation equal to 30% of annual U.S. customs receipts.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Department of Defense Facilities Energy Conservation Policies and Spending

Department of Defense Facilities Energy Conservation Policies and Spending

Date: February 19, 2009
Creator: Andrews, Anthony
Description: This report reviews energy conservation legislation and Executive Orders that apply to the Department of Defense, directives and instructions to the military departments and agencies on implementing the legislation and orders, Defense spending on facility energy over the last decade, annual Defense appropriations that fund energy-conservation improvements, and Defense energy conservation investments.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Pipeline Safety and Security: Federal Programs

Pipeline Safety and Security: Federal Programs

Date: February 17, 2009
Creator: Parfomak, Paul W.
Description: Congress passed the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-468) to improve pipeline safety and security practices. The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), within the Department of Transportation (DOT), is the lead federal regulator of pipeline safety. The OPS uses a variety of strategies to promote compliance with its safety regulations, including inspections, investigation of safety incidents, and maintaining a dialogue with pipeline operators.
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Mountain Pine Beetles and Forest Destruction: Effects, Responses, and Relationship to Climate Change

Mountain Pine Beetles and Forest Destruction: Effects, Responses, and Relationship to Climate Change

Date: February 6, 2009
Creator: Gorte, Ross W.
Description: This report examines the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) epidemic because it is one of the most damaging insects affecting forests and because more is known about its life cycle than the cycles of many other forest pests.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP): Status and Issues

Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP): Status and Issues

Date: February 5, 2009
Creator: Stubbs, Megan
Description: The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides technical and financial assistance to eligible agricultural producers who wish to implement soil and water conservation practices. The purpose of EQIP is to promote agriculture production, forestry management, and environmental quality as compatible goals, and to optimize environmental benefits.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Fairness Doctorine: History and Constitutional Issues

Fairness Doctorine: History and Constitutional Issues

Date: January 12, 2009
Creator: Ruane, Kathleen Ann
Description: The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) that required broadcast licensees to cover issues of public importance and to do so in a fair manner. In 1987, after a period of study, the FCC repealed the Fairness Doctrine. The debate in Congress regarding whether to reinstate the doctrine continues today. This report covers the history of such debates.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Date: January 7, 2009
Creator: Luckey, John R.
Description: Many Members of Congress see continued tension between "free speech" decisions of the Supreme Court, which protect flag desecration as expressive conduct under the First Amendment, and the symbolic importance of the United States flag. This report is divided into two parts. The first gives a brief history of the flag protection issue, from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 through current consideration of a constitutional amendment. The second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman, that struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context punishing expressive conduct.
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: December 23, 2008
Creator: Leggett, Jane A.
Description: This document provides a U.S.-centric chronology of the international policy negotiations to address climate change. It covers the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the Marrakesh Accords of 2001, and the Bali Action Plan of 2007 that mandates the current negotiations toward a new agreement by the end of 2009 on commitments for the period beyond 2012. Today's negotiations under the Bali Action Plan focus on four elements: mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions; adaptation to impacts of climate change; financial assistance to low income countries; and technology development and transfer. For U.S. legislators, important 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 for potential Senate ratification and federal implementing legislation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Water Rights Related to Oil Shale Development in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Water Rights Related to Oil Shale Development in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Date: November 18, 2008
Creator: Brougher, Cynthia
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department