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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Marine Protected Areas: An Overview

Marine Protected Areas: An Overview

Date: September 29, 2010
Creator: Upton, Harold E. & Buck, Eugene H.
Description: Marine protected areas (MPAs) are generally defined as areas reserved by law or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment. This report identifies a number of issues related to establishing MPAs in the United States. It begins by defining the concept and administrative actions taken to provide spatial protection in marine areas. It then considers some of the key issues and potential benefits and costs of designating additional MPAs. It concludes by considering potential areas of congressional interest for the 111th Congress. Existing federal laws related to the use of MPAs are summarized in the Appendix.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Legal Framework

Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Legal Framework

Date: September 20, 2010
Creator: Vann, Adam
Description: The development of offshore oil, gas, and other mineral resources in the United States is impacted by a number of interrelated legal regimes, including international, federal, and state laws. International law provides a framework for establishing national ownership or control of offshore areas, and domestic federal law mirrors and supplements these standards. This report discusses these issues.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Ocean Acidification

Ocean Acidification

Date: July 2, 2009
Creator: Buck, Eugene H. & Folger, Peter
Description: With increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, the extent of effects on the ocean and marine resources is an increasing concern. One aspect of this issue is the ongoing process whereby seawater becomes acidified (i.e., ocean acidification) as more CO2 dissolves in it, causing hydrogen ion concentration in seawater to increase. While not yet fully understood, the ecological and economic consequences of ocean acidification could be substantial. Congress is beginning to focus attention on better understanding ocean acidification and determining how this concern might be addressed.
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U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions

U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions

Date: June 22, 2009
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.
Description: 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. As presently understood and interpreted, these provisions generally appear to reflect current U.S. policy with respect to living marine resource management, conservation, and exploitation.
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U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions

U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions

Date: June 22, 2009
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.
Description: The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention) was agreed to in 1982, but the United States never became a signatory nation. In the 111th Congress, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on January 13, 2009, acknowledged that U.S. accession to the LOS Convention would be an Obama Administration priority. 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.
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Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress

Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress

Date: April 23, 2009
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Description: 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.
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Whales and Sonar: Environmental Exemptions for the Navy's Mid-Frequency Active Sonar Training

Whales and Sonar: Environmental Exemptions for the Navy's Mid-Frequency Active Sonar Training

Date: February 18, 2009
Creator: Alexander, Kristina
Description: This report discusses laws related to the protection of marine mammals when using mid-frequency active sonar including the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA). The report discusses each of the laws generally, and then reviews the litigation surrounding the Navy's compliance with these laws in the context of using the sonar for training purposes off California's coast.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Marine Protected Areas: An Overview

Marine Protected Areas: An Overview

Date: February 6, 2009
Creator: Upton, Harold F.
Description: This report identifies a number of issues related to establishing MPAs in the United States. It begins by defining the concept and administrative actions taken to provide spatial protection in marine areas. It then considers some of the key issues and potential benefits and costs of designating additional MPAs.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Gas Hydrates: Resource and Hazard

Gas Hydrates: Resource and Hazard

Date: November 26, 2008
Creator: Folger, Peter
Description: Solid gas hydrates are a potentially huge resource of natural gas for the United States. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated that there are about 85 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of technically recoverable gas hydrates in northern Alaska. Gas hydrates are both a potential resource and a risk, representing a significant hazard to conventional oil and gas drilling and production operations. This report addresses the issue of cost and method of recovering potential gas hydrates, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using gas hydrates as a potential energy source. Included is information on the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000 and the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Environmental Activities of the U.S. Coast Guard

Environmental Activities of the U.S. Coast Guard

Date: November 3, 2008
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department