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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Date: April 10, 2007
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act has two basic aims: to regulate intentional ocean disposal of materials, and to authorize related research. Permit and enforcement provisions of the law are often referred to as the Ocean Dumping Act. The basic provisions of the act have remained virtually unchanged since 1972, when it was enacted to establish a comprehensive waste management system to regulate disposal or dumping of all materials into marine waters that are within U.S. jurisdiction, although a number of new authorities have been added. This report presents a summary of the law.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants

Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants

Date: October 25, 2006
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses the section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, which requires states to identify waters that are impaired by pollution, even after application of pollution controls. For those waters, states must establish a total maximum daily load (TMDL) of pollutants to ensure that water quality standards can be attained. Implementation of this provision has been dormant until recently, when states and EPA were prodded by numerous lawsuits. The TMDL issue has become controversial, in part because of requirements and costs now facing states to implement a 25-year-old provision of the law. Congressional activity to reauthorize the Act, a possibility in the 2nd Session of the 105th Congress, could include TMDL issues, but the direction for any such action is unclear at this time.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Overview of EPA and the Army Corps’ Rule to Define “Waters of the United States”

Overview of EPA and the Army Corps’ Rule to Define “Waters of the United States”

Date: June 3, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report describes the revised rule of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) which defines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Controversies over Redefining “Fill Material” Under the Clean Water Act

Controversies over Redefining “Fill Material” Under the Clean Water Act

Date: August 21, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: On May 3, 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) announced a final rule redefining two key terms, “fill material” and “discharge of fill material,” in regulations that implement Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This report discusses the revised 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Energy-Water Nexus: The Water Sector’s Energy Use

Energy-Water Nexus: The Water Sector’s Energy Use

Date: December 1, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report provides background on energy for facilities that treat and deliver water to end users and also dispose of and discharge wastewater. Energy use for water is a function of many variables, including water source (surface water pumping typically requires less energy than groundwater pumping), treatment (high ambient quality raw water requires less treatment than brackish or seawater), intended end-use, distribution (water pumped long distances requires more energy), amount of water loss in the system through leakage and evaporation, and level of wastewater treatment (stringency of water quality regulations to meet discharge standards).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants

Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants

Date: April 6, 2007
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses the section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, which requires states to identify waters that are impaired by pollution, even after application of pollution controls. For those waters, states must establish a total maximum daily load (TMDL) of pollutants to ensure that water quality standards can be attained. Implementation was dormant until states and EPA were prodded by lawsuits. The TMDL program has become controversial, in part because of requirements and costs now facing states to implement this 35-year-old provision of the law, as well as industries, cities, farmers, and others who may be required to use new pollution controls to meet TMDL requirements. In July 2000, EPA issued revisions to strengthen the program. The rule was widely criticized, and congressional interest was high. The 2000 rule did not go into effect, and in March 2003, EPA withdrew the rule to consider whether to issue an entirely new rule or other options; no timetable has been announced. Consequently, the program continues to operate under regulations issued in 1992.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
EPA and the Army Corps' "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options

EPA and the Army Corps' "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options

Date: July 9, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses four legislative options that Congress could consider to halt or redirect the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineer's proposed "waters of the United States" rule.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
EPA and the Army Corps' Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

EPA and the Army Corps' Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

Date: June 29, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report describes the final revised rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA)--which the agencies refer to as the Clean Water Rule--and includes a table comparing the existing regulatory language that defines "waters of the United States" with the revisions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
EPA and the Army Corps' "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options

EPA and the Army Corps' "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options

Date: November 5, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses four legislative options that Congress could consider to halt or redirect the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineer's proposed "waters of the United States" rule.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Clean Water Act: A Summary of the Law

Clean Water Act: A Summary of the Law

Date: January 24, 2002
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report presents a summary of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, or Clean Water Act, describing the essence of the statute without discussing its implementation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Microbeads: An Emerging Water Quality Issue

Microbeads: An Emerging Water Quality Issue

Date: July 20, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses the debate over how to address growing environmental concerns regarding microbeads (synthetic particles made of either polyethylene or polypropylene plastic) and whether federal regulation to control or ban them is needed. A number of companies are voluntarily removing microbeads from their products, and some states--eight so far--have passed laws to ban manufacture and sale of products with microbeads.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Gold King Mine Spill May Renew Interest in "Good Samaritan" Legislation

Gold King Mine Spill May Renew Interest in "Good Samaritan" Legislation

Date: August 27, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses legislation related to an accidental spill from the Gold King Mine, a long-abandoned gold mine site in Colorado, which released acid mine drainage (AMD) wastewater into a tributary of the Animas River and downstream to the San Juan River. The proposed legislation would authorize Good Samaritan remediation, in which third parties who have no history of polluting at a particular site or legal responsibility for its pollution step forward to clean up AMD or other historic mine residue of pollution.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Controversies over Redefining "Fill Material" Under the Clean Water Act

Controversies over Redefining "Fill Material" Under the Clean Water Act

Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options

Date: May 26, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses four legislative options that Congress could consider to halt or redirect the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineer's proposed "waters of the United States" rule: the Congressional Review Act, appropriations bill limitations, targeted legislation, and broad amendments to the Clean Water Act. Each option faces a steep path to enactment.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Ballast Water Management to Combat Invasive Species

Ballast Water Management to Combat Invasive Species

Date: September 2, 2009
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.
Description: This report provides background on various approaches to ballast water management and reviews current ballast water management laws and programs.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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: August 27, 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

Date: March 20, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report describes the March 25, 2014 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Ballast Water Management to Combat Invasive Species

Ballast Water Management to Combat Invasive Species

Date: January 28, 2010
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.
Description: This report provides background on various approaches to ballast water management and reviews current ballast water management laws and programs.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues

Date: April 8, 2015
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?

EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?

Date: January 8, 2015
Creator: McCarthy, James E. & Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report provides background information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory activity during the Obama Administration. It examines major or controversial regulatory actions taken by or under development at EPA since January 2009, providing details on the regulatory action itself, presenting an estimated timeline for completion of rules not yet promulgated (including identification of related court or statutory deadlines), and, in general, providing EPA's estimates of costs and benefits, where available. The report includes tables that show which rules remain under development, and an appendix that describes major or controversial rules that are now final.
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Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues

Date: February 6, 2015
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Description: This report discusses the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996, which authorized a drinking water state revolving loan fund (DWSRF) program. It includes an overview of funding, allotments and set-asides, drinking water infrastructure needs, program issues, and legislative activity.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Potential Stafford Act Declarations for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill: Issues for Congress

Potential Stafford Act Declarations for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill: Issues for Congress

Date: May 13, 2010
Creator: McCarthy, Francis X.
Description: This report discusses the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, P.L. 93-288, which presents several options, and could provide a number of programs, to address the Gulf Coast oil spill. The Stafford Act authorizes the President to issue "major disaster" or "emergency" declarations before or after catastrophes occur. Emergency declarations trigger aid that protects property, public health, and safety and lessens or averts the threat of an incident becoming a catastrophic event.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Water Quality Issues in the 113th Congress: An Overview

Water Quality Issues in the 113th Congress: An Overview

Date: January 8, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses the legislative and oversight issues regarding water quality, as well as wastewater treatment funding issues.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (USTs): Prevention and Cleanup

Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (USTs): Prevention and Cleanup

Date: April 20, 2010
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Description: This report addresses a nationwide water pollution problem caused by leaking underground storage tanks (USTs). The report discusses key issue that state resources have not met the demands of administering the underground storage tanks (UST) leak prevention program.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department