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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): A Primer for the 112th Congress
In the ongoing energy debate in Congress, one issue has been whether to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR or Refuge) in northeastern Alaska or whether to continue to prohibit development to protect the area's biological, recreational, and subsistence values. ANWR is rich in fauna, flora, and oil and natural gas potential. Its development has been debated for more than 50 years, but sharp increases in energy prices from late 2000 to early 2001, in 2004-2008, and in 2011 from a variety of causes (e.g., terrorist attacks, oil spills, and energy infrastructure damage from hurricanes), have repeatedly intensified the debate. This primer provides background for analyzing the various claims through an examination of its history, and an analysis of its geological, biological, human, and economic resources.
Recreation on Federal Lands
The growing and diverse nature of recreation on federal lands has increased the challenge of balancing recreation with other land uses, and balancing different types of recreation. Motorized recreation has been particularly controversial, with issues centering on access and environmental impacts. The 109th Congress may consider legislation and conduct oversight on issues involving recreation on federal lands, including traditional recreational pursuits and newer forms of motorized recreation. Other federal land recreation issues of possible interest include recreational uses within the National Wildlife Refuge System, recreation at federal water, recreation fees, and Grand Canyon Colorado River management.
Marine Protected Areas: An Overview
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.
National Park System: What Do the Different Park Titles Signify?
This report addresses questions that legislators have asked about park unit titles, when considering proposals to establish new park units, to redesignate existing units, or to change the provisions governing a unit It also discusses potential advantages and disadvantages of systemwide recommendations to simplify park nomenclature.
Condemnation of Private Property for Economic Development: Legal Comments on the House-Passed Bill (H.R. 4128) and Bond Amendment
The prohibition on economic development condemnations extends not only to land taken for the explicit purpose of economic development but also to land subsequently so used. The latter coverage raises the possibility that although a parcel was initially condemned for a non-prohibited purpose, its use years later for a prohibited one would trigger the two-year cut-off of federal funds. Nor does there seem to be any proportionality requirement between the prohibited condemnations and the length and scope of the federal funds suspension. If Congress’ Spending Power includes a proportionality requirement for conditions on federal funds, as the Court suggests, the absence of proportionality in some of the bill’s applications may raise a constitutional issue.
Sport Hunting in Alaska
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Land and Water Conservation Fund: Overview, Funding History, and Current Issues
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Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies in 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.