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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Abandoned Mine Land Fund: Grants Distribution and Issues
The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA, P.L. 95-87), enacted in 1977, established reclamation standards for all coal surface mining operations, and for the surface effects of underground mining. It also established the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program to promote the reclamation of sites mined and abandoned prior to the enactment of SMCRA. To finance reclamation of abandoned mine sites, the legislation established fees on coal production. These collections are divided into federal and state shares; subject to annual appropriation, AML funds are distributed annually to states with approved reclamation programs. This report describes the distribution of these funds and the various issues that arise from said distribution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs398/
Federal Land Management: Appeals and Litigation
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs473/
The Federal Helium Program: The Reaction Over an Inert Gas
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs343/
Amtrak and Energy Conservation in Intercity Passenger Transportation
A rationale for federal financial support to Amtrak has been that rail service conserves energy, compared to other forms of intercity passenger transportation. The numbers presented in this report suggest that the rationale might not be valid with regard to some alternative modes of transportation, and the report discusses some public policy implications that could follow from that conclusion. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs364/
New World Gold Mine and Yellowstone National Park
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs354/
The Salvage Timber Sale Rider: Overview and Policy Issues
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs348/
Softwood Lumber Imports: The 1996 U.S.-Canada Agreement
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6357/
Forest Fires and Forest Health
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs345/
Salvage Timber Sales and Forest Health
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs344/
Grazing Fees: An Overview
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs281/
The "Timber Rider": Section 2001 of the Rescissions Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs347/
Mining in National Parks and Wilderness Areas: Policy, Rules, Activity
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs353/
An Introduction to Major Natural Resource Issues in the 104th Congress
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs346/
Survey of Grazing Programs in Western States
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs283/
Agreements to Promote Fishery Conservation and Management in International Waters
Declining fish populations threaten an important food source. Natural catastrophes, pollution, habitat destruction, and overfishing contribute to the depletion of fish stocks. Overexploitation of fishery resources often occurs when management allows expanding and increasingly efficient fishing fleets to continue harvesting dwindling supplies. Although prevalent, overexploitation is not universal and its extent varies among areas, species, and fisheries. This report discusses the issue of overfishing and its possible consequences, as well as domestic and international efforts to combat overfishing. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs341/
Agricultural Wetlands: Current Programs and Legislative Proposals
Amending Federal laws to protect wetlands, especially agricultural wetlands, is a contentious issue for the 104th Congress. Critics contend that current programs are excessive in their reach and unfairly restrict private landowners. Supporters counter that these programs are critical if the Nation is to achieve the stated goal of no-net-loss of wetlands. The two major statutes under which agricultural wetlands are protected are swampbuster, enacted in the Agriculture, Food, Trade, and Conservation Act of 1985, and section 404, enacted in the 1972 Clean Water Act. This report describes both programs, emphasizing how they relate to each other. It explains how each program works, especially on agricultural wetlands, and the likely effect of proposed revisions to swampbuster. Also, it briefly considers other legislative proposals that would amend the section 404 program, which, if enacted, would further affect how agricultural wetlands are protected. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6360/
Forest Service Timber Sale Practices and Procedures: Analysis of Alternative Systems
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs233/
Sustainable Agriculture
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs173/
International Forest Agreements: Current Status
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs194/
Habitat Modification and the Endangered Species Act: The
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs179/
The Rural Abandoned Mine Program - A Fact Sheet
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs236/
Biological Diversity Treaty: Fact Sheet
As human activity continues to change and modify natural areas, widespread extinctions of plants, animals, and other types of species result. In 1992, negotiations conducted under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) were completed on a comprehensive global treaty to protect biological diversity (biodiversity). In June 1993, President Clinton signed the treaty and sent it to the Senate for advice and consent. It is not pending in the Senate. The treaty entered into force on December 29, 1993. As of May 15, 1995, 118 nations had ratified the treaty. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26102/
Biological Diversity: Issues Related to the Convention on Biodiversity
This report discusses treaty on biodiversity, issues, history and current status. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs235/
Natural Resource "Subsidy" Issues
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs237/
Deep Seabed Mining: U.S. Interests and the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea
On July 29, 1994, the United States signed the Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982. This agreement substantially reforms the seabed mining provisions of the 1982 Convention, which the United States found objectionable. In signing the Agreement, President Clinton accepted provisional application of it which enables the United States to participate in the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and its organs and bodies. On November 16, 1994, the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention entered into force without accession by the United States.The treaty document was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations late in the 103d Congress and awaits committee action in the 104th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs230/
Ecosystem Management Tools and Techniques: Proceedings of a CRS Workshop
The House Subcommittee on Technology, Environment, and Aviation of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (103rd Congress) requested that Congressional Research Service (CRS) hold a workshop on the tools and techniques of ecosystem management. The purposes of this workshop were to demonstrate tools and techniques used in scientific research on ecosystems and to address technological aspects of developing and administering a national policy for ecosystem management. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10004/
An Overview of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE)
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs232/
Below-Cost Timber Sales: An Overview
The Forest Service sells some timber at prices that are less than the agency costs to administer the timber program. This report discusses these "below-cost" timber sales that have been debated by Congress for more than a decade, but no policy to address the issue has been adopted legislatively or administratively. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs145/
Wetlands and Agriculture: Policy Issues in the 1995 Farm Bill
Wetlands protection efforts have been a major concern for agricultural interests since Congress enacted so-called swampbuster provisions in the 1985 Food Security Act. Under these provisions, all producers who alter wetlands risk losing certain farm program benefits. Determining which sites are wetlands and enforcement of penalties remain contentious issues. Controversy has been heightened by confusion over how this program is related to the principal Federal regulatory program to protect wetlands, section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and how wetland determinations affect land values and private property rights. Because the 103rd Congress did not reauthorize the Clean Water Act, some of the wetland issues raised in that debate might be raised in the farm bill. Another wetland protection program, the Wetland Reserve (WRP), was enacted in the 1990 farm bill. This program, which pays farmers to place wetlands under long-term or permanent easements, has been far less controversial. This paper reviews the swampbuster and WRP, as well as controversies surrounding delineation of wetlands and relationships between private property rights and wetland protection efforts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs146/
Mahoganies: International Protection?
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs144/
Alternative Sources of Wood for Japan
Japan is one of the world's largest wood importers, with two-thirds of its imports as logs (unprocessed timber). Southeast Asia has been the largest log supplier, but supplies (and exports to Japan) have been declining. The United States has become a more important supplier, but concerns about declining domestic timber supplies have led to proposals to prohibit or to tax log exports. Opponents suggest that Japan would simply turn to other sources to replace U.S. logs. One question in this debate is where the alternative sources of logs or wood products might be. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs143/
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species: Its Past and Future
This report discusses the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It is divided into six sections: Introduction, Background, CITES and the Endangered Species Act, Implementation, Upcoming Events, and Appendices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs96/
The Northern Goshawk: Future Endangered Species?
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs95/
Mining Law Reform: The Impact of a Royalty
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs142/
Market-Based Environmental Management: Issues in Implementation
Increasingly, efforts to protect integral features of the natural environment that are essential to human well being face a double challenge. First, the magnitude of some conventional and emerging threats to environmental quality is growing, despite solid progress in controlling some causes. This is particularly the concern on a global scale in terms of atmospheric changes and loss of biological diversity. Second, easily-implemented uniform control methods using feasible technologies or other direct regulatory approaches are already in place for many pollution and resource management problems in the United States. Additional progress with so-called command and control policies can be expensive and disruptive, and thus counter productive to overall economic well being. This type of dilemma is common where environmental deterioration results from diffuse and complex causes inherent in technically-advanced high-consumption industrial societies such as the U.S. Solutions to these types of environmental problems are complicated by the diffuse benefits which obscures the net gains of additional controls that have concentrated and highly visible costs. Given this double bind, many policy analysts and academics have for years advocated more cost-effective and flexible approaches relying on market forces to further some environmental management objectives. Although market-based theory and practical environmental policy are still far apart, the incremental approach to environmental policymaking since the late seventies has resulted in some market-type innovations within traditional regulatory frameworks at all levels of government. The most prominent examples are the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) air emissions trading program and the recently enacted sulfur dioxide allowance trading program under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26038/
Trade and Environment: Treatment in Recent Agreements--GATT and NAFTA
This report reviews some of the concerns surrounding the environment work program and other environmental issues. It briefly describes work underway in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and current thinking underlying development of U.S. positions on trade and the environment in the GATT. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26036/
Mexican Wolf: Federal Protection
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs48/
Restricting Softwood Log Exports: Policy and Legal Implications
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs71/
Ecosystems, Biomes, and Watersheds: Definitions and Use
This paper describes the meaning and applications of ecosystem and of the related terms watershed and biome. It discusses the pros and cons of all three as organizing principles for land management, and the major issues that are likely to arise in the debate over ecosystem management. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs70/
Mexican Spotted Owls: Federal Protection
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs47/
Biotechnology, Indigenous Peoples, and Intellectual Property Rights
This report examines intellectual property right in pharmaceuticals in a particular context, namely, medicinal products and processes derived from the biodiversity resources of areas inhabited by indigenous peoples. This report discusses the international law regarding intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge and the American laws regarding traditional knowledge. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8176/
The Endangered Species Act and Private Property
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26028/
The Listing of a Species: Legal Definition and Biological Realities
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs23/
Deforestation: An Overview of Global Programs and Agreements
In recent years, global environmental concerns have figured prominently on the American political agenda. In particular, tropical deforestation and its implications for global climate change and biological diversity loss have prompted public outcry. Concerns have since grown to include other forest types as well. The Congress has considered a variety of legislation to stem the tide of increasing deforestation and the United States has supported a number of bilateral and multilateral initiatives to assist other countries in managing their forest resources. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs35/
Clearcutting in the National Forests
Congressional interest in clearcutting has increased in the past few years. Several bills have been introduced in the current and preceding Congresses to ban the use of clearcutting and/or all even-aged management systems in the national forests. The issue, however, transcends the use of clearcutting and focuses on how to assure the choice of a silvicultural system and the implementation of the management practices that will achieve the stated goals for public land and resource management. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs34/
Acid Rain: Does it Contribute to Forest Decline?
This minibrief describes the major hypothesis explaining why acid rain may be contributing to forest decline, along with the major arguments against this hypothesis. For additional information on acid rain and current legislation for pollutant emissions controls, see IB83016 -- Acid Rain: Current Issues, and IB83005 -- Clean Air Act: An Overview. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9048/
Sport Hunting in Alaska
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9234/
Leasing of Energy and Mineral Resources on Federal Lands
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8792/
Reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8791/
The Availability of Nonfuel Minerals on Federal Lands: Background on the Issue
The following report reviews the laws and practices that govern the extraction of non-fuel minerals from federal lands, and the restrict ions against such extract ions. Moreover, the federal land management agencies that regulate such activities are identified, and their responsibilities discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8508/