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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions
This report describes provisions of the LOS Convention relating to living marine resources and discusses how these provisions comport with current U.S. marine policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795561/
The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)
This report discusses the increasing international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program and how that pressure discourages foreign firms from investing in Iran's energy sector, hindering Iran's efforts to expand oil production. It also discusses the history and progress of the formal U.S. effort to curb energy investment in Iran, which began with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) in 1996 digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700725/
The Bayh-Dole Act: Selected Issues in Patent Policy and the Commercialization of Technology
This report discusses the rationale behind the passage of P.L. 96-517 (Amendments to the Patent and Trademark Act, or the "Bayh-Dole Act") as well as its provisions and information regarding the implementation of the law. Under this 1980 law, as amended, title to inventions made with government support is provided to the contractor if that contractor is a small business, a university, or other non-profit institution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743427/
Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP): Status and Issues
This report presents an overview of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), 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. The report also discusses select issues for Congress regarding tighter budget constraints that could potentially reduce funding levels for EQIP and a continuing backlog of unfunded applications. A change in income limitations along with a new waiver created in the 2008 farm bill could also raise issues for the program. EQIP will also continue to face challenges in measuring environmental and program accomplishments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463216/
Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP): Status and Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86546/
Mountain Pine Beetles and Forest Destruction: Effects, Responses, and Relationship to Climate Change
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462467/
Mountain Pine Beetles and Forest Destruction: Effects, Responses, and Relationship to Climate Change
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87132/
Ocean Piracy and Its Impact on Insurance
This report examines the issue of piracy off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. The report looks into the impact of such piracy on the insurance industry and explains the available options for Congress to mitigate piracy's negative effects on the industry. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462801/
Pipeline Safety and Security: Federal Programs
This report discusses congressional interest in securing the nation's pipelines. Nearly half a million miles of oil and natural gas transmission pipeline crisscross the United States. While an efficient and fundamentally safe means of transport, many pipelines carry hazardous materials with the potential to cause public injury and environmental damage. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503686/
Pipeline Safety and Security: Federal Programs
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87306/
Transportation and Transportation Security Related Provisions of House and Senate Stimulus Legislation (H.R. 1)
This report discusses the major transportation and transportation security-related provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) as passed by the House on January 28, 2009, and the Senate on February 10, 2009. The report also discusses the major transportation provisions of the conference report on H.R. 1 (H.Rept. 111-16), which was passed by both the House and Senate on February 13, 2009, and signed by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743475/
Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
This report identifies funding for water infrastructure programs and projects contained in the legislation, including amounts in the House- and Senate-passed versions that preceded the conference agreement. Among the purposes identified in the legislation are preservation and creation of jobs and promotion of U.S. economic recovery, and investment in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743532/
Department of Defense Facilities Energy Conservation Policies and Spending
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462011/
Department of Defense Facilities Energy Conservation Policies and Spending
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86537/
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Issues in the 111th Congress
This report discusses many federal laws and regulations regarding fish and marine mammals that are important resources in open ocean and nearshore coastal areas. These laws and regulations guide their management as well as the management of their habitat. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743584/
Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87328/
Agriculture, Nutrition, and Rural Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009
This report analyzes the agriculture, nutrition, and rural provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5). The ARRA boosts government spending on various infrastructure programs and government benefits programs, and offers individual and business tax benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795420/
Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of U.S. Financial Supervision
This report provides an overview of current U.S. financial regulation: which agencies are responsible for which institutions and markets, and what kinds of authority they have. Federal financial regulation in the United States has evolved through a series of piecemeal responses to developments and crises in the markets. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743474/
Cuba: Issues for the 111th Congress
This report tracks developments in U.S. policy toward Cuba and legislative initiatives in the 111th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795435/
The Supreme Court Accepts Five Environmental Cases During Its 2008-2009 Term
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462077/
The Supreme Court Accepts Five Environmental Cases During Its 2008-2009 Term
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87140/
The Technology Innovation Program
This report discusses the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is designed "to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need," according to the authorizing legislation. Grants are provided to small and medium-sized firms for individual projects or joint ventures with other research organizations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503627/
Energy Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5)
This report discusses the energy appropriations in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5). It includes background information, a summary of provisions, and detailed explanations of the relevant appropriations and tax provisions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743508/
Supreme Court Appellate Jurisdiction Over Military Court Cases
This report surveys military courts' jurisdiction, the structure of appellate review for military cases, interactions between military and civilian courts, and legislative proposals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700738/
The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)
This report discusses the increasing international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program and how that pressure discourages foreign firms from investing in Iran's energy sector, hindering Iran's efforts to expand oil production. It also discusses the history and progress of the formal U.S. effort to curb energy investment in Iran, which began with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) in 1996 digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700920/
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc505573/
Enforcing Immigration Law: The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement
This report examines some of the policy and legal issues that may accompany an increased role of state and local law officials in the enforcement of immigration law. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700868/
Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
This report identifies funding for water infrastructure programs and projects contained in the legislation, including amounts in the House- and Senate-passed versions that preceded the conference agreement. Among the purposes identified in the legislation are preservation and creation of jobs and promotion of U.S. economic recovery, and investment in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87133/
CRS Issue Statement on Abortion, Family Planning, and Reproductive Health
The 111th Congress will likely consider a variety of issues involving family planning and reproductive health. Legislation related to family planning and Title X of the Public Health Service Act, including appropriations measures that could affect the funding of Title X family planning initiatives, is expected. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83880/
Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification
This report discusses E-Verify, a program in which participating employers submit information about their new hires (name, date of birth, Social Security number, immigration/citizenship status, and alien number, if applicable) from the I-9 form. This information is automatically compared with information in Social Security Administration and, if necessary, DHS databases to verify identity and employment eligibility. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700588/
Federalism Issues in Surface Transportation Policy: Past and Present
This report provides an historical perspective on contemporary federalism issues in surface transportation policy that are likely to be addressed by Congress during the 111th Congress, including possible devolution of programmatic responsibility to states and proposals to change state maintenance-of-effort requirements and state cost matching requirements. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501851/
Federal Taxation of the Drug Industry and Its Effects on New Drug Development
This report examines the impact of federal taxation on the incentive to invest in new drug development. More specifically, it looks at the provisions in current tax law that affect the performance of the drug industry, compares the industry's federal tax burden with that of other major industries, and assesses the effect of federal taxation on the incentive to invest in new drug development. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700831/
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals
This report discusses bills introduced into the 110th Congress pertaining to food safety that could affect farmers and ranchers. Several of these bills would expressly have required enforceable on-farm safety standards. Others that focused primarily on post-harvest food safety measures nonetheless might have led to changes in on-farm practices if the regulated sectors (handlers and processors of agricultural products) placed new demands on their suppliers in order to comply. Similar proposals are re-emerging in the 111th Congress, where food safety reform is expected to be on the agenda. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820990/
Royalty Relief for U.S. Deepwater Oil and Gas Leases
This report discusses the Gulf of Mexico outer continental shelf (OCS) leasing system including recovery relief and deepwater development as well as Congressional concerns and legislative actions. Various forms of royalty relief are the most common incentives for offshore oil and gas development. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to grant royalty relief to promote increased oil and gas production (43 U.S.C. 1337). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87387/
Patent Reform in the 111th Congress: Innovation Issues
This study provides an overview of current patent reform issues. It begins by offering a summary of the structure of the current patent system and the role of patents in innovation policy. The report then reviews some of the broader issues and concerns, including patent quality, the high costs of patent litigation, international harmonization, and speculation in patents, that have motivated these diverse legislative reform proposals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700821/
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSR): 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. The program was intended to help public water systems finance infrastructure projects that were needed to comply with federal drinking water regulations and to meet the Act's health objectives. It includes an overview of funding, allotments and set-asides, drinking water infrastructure needs, program issues, and legislative activity. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94206/
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Issues in the 111th Congress
This report discusses many federal laws and regulations regarding fish and marine mammals that are important resources in open ocean and nearshore coastal areas. These lows and regulations guide their management as well as the management of their habitat. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86542/
The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)
This report discusses the increasing international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program and how that pressure discourages foreign firms from investing in Iran's energy sector, hindering Iran's efforts to expand oil production. It also discusses the history and progress of the formal U.S. effort to curb energy investment in Iran, which began with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) in 1996. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700756/
Climate Change Litigation: A Survey
This report focuses on the legal debate surrounding climate change. Though the first court decision related to climate change appeared 19 years ago, such litigation has proliferated in just the past six. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700681/
Executive Compensation: SEC Regulations and Congressional Proposals
This report discusses appropriate standards for executive compensation and the economic and social impact of escalating pay for corporate executives has led to a controversy regarding the practices of paying these executives digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822559/
Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis
Tax Credit Bonds (TCBs) are a type of bond that offers the holder a federal tax credit instead of interest. This report explains the tax credit mechanism and describes the market for the bonds. It also discusses related pieces of legislation and what the most common uses of the proceeds from TCBs are. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26145/
Controversies over Redefining "Fill Material" Under the Clean Water Act
On May 3, 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) announced a regulation redefining two key terms, "fill material" and "discharge of fill material," in rules that implement Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This report discusses the 2002 rule, focusing on how it changes which material and types of activities are regulated under Section 404 and the significance of these issues, especially for the mining industry. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700801/
The Year 2000 Computer Problem: Congressional Issues
Many computers were designed to store a two-digit number for the year, which makes the year 2000 indistinguishable from 1900. Unless they are corrected, many computers will not be able to process dates beyond the year 2000, and may cause many costly problems in commerce and government. In the 106th Congress, hearings are being held and will continue to provide the public with the most accurate information available on the status of Y2K remediations at federal agencies, state and local agencies, private sector entities, and international organizations. Congress may also consider additional legislation to ensure that private sector systems are compliant, to establish emergency preparedness measures to address problems that might occur, and to limit liability associated with Y2K failures for manufacturers and industry groups. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1028/
Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress
This report reviews the history and trends of oil spills in the United States; identifies the legal authorities governing oil spill prevention, response, and cleanup; and examines the threats of future oil spills in U.S. coastal waters. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26249/
Piracy off the Horn of Africa
This report discusses recent (2008-2009) pirate attacks on vessels, including United States vessels, in the waters off the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is sometimes called the Somali Peninsula and includes the nations of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This report explores reasons behind the increased number of pirate attacks in recent years, as well as what efforts are being taken to combat said attacks, including those by the 111th Congress and President Obama and his Administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26147/
Federal Tort Claims Act
The Federal Tort Claims Act is the statute by which the United States authorizes tort suits to be brought against itself. With exceptions, it makes the United States liable for injuries caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any federal employee acting within the scope of his employment, in accordance with the law of the state where the act or omission occurred. This report discusses, among other things, the application of the Feres doctrine to suits for injuries caused by medical malpractice in the military, the prohibition of suits by victims of atomic testing, Supreme Court cases interpreting the discretionary function exception, the extent to which federal employees may be held liable for torts they commit in the scope of their employment, and the government contractor defense to products liability design defect suits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29494/
Passports: Current Regulations
This report details changes made to travel between the United States and other countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean island nations. Such changes include the expansion of time necessary to get a passport, as well as additional passport and proof-of-identity documentation requirements. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26341/
Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress
This report explores the relationship between the United States and Mexico in terms of trade, drug trafficking, and cooperative disease control and management. Specifically, the report discusses the Mérida Initiative, the trade dispute involving the implementation of NAFTA trucking provisions, Secretary of State Clinton's March 2009 visit to Mexico, and the April 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 "swine flu" virus. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26225/
Alert Systems for Missing Adults in Eleven States: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the emerging development of nationwide alert systems to recover missing adults, such as those with mental impairment (such as Alzheimer's disease), developmental disabilities, or suicidal tendencies. This report provides an overview of such alert systems in 11 states: Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia. This report also provides a discussion of issues for Congress to consider with respect to the federal role, if any, in developing state alert programs for missing adults. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26150/
State and Local Restrictions on Employing, Renting Property to, or Providing Services for Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Issues and Recent Judicial Developments
This report discusses the constitutional issues raised in relation to state and local laws intended to deter the presence of unauthorized aliens, along with the implications that federal civil rights statutes might have on the implementation and enforcement of measures restricting such persons' ability to obtain employment, housing, or other state and local benefits or services. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700536/