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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Clean Water Act: A Summary of the Law

Clean Water Act: A Summary of the Law

Date: March 17, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report presents a summary of the law, describing the essence of the statute without discussing its implementation. Other CRS products do discuss implementation, including CRS Report RL33800, Water Quality Issues in the 110th Congress: Oversight and Implementation, and numerous products cited in that report.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA's Regulatory Program

Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA's Regulatory Program

Date: May 27, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses the regulation of stormwater drainage. Stormwater discharge systems are the pipes and sewer lines that carry rainwater or snow melt, but not domestic sanitary wastes, away from urban areas and commercial and industrial facilities. For many years the focus of the nation's water quality programs was on controlling pollutants associated with industrial process wastewaters and municipal sewage discharges.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Wastewater Treatment: Overview and Background

Wastewater Treatment: Overview and Background

Date: March 20, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: The Clean Water Act prescribes performance levels to be attained by municipal sewage treatment plants in order to prevent the discharge of harmful wastes into surface waters.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Water Quality Issues in the 111th Congress: Oversight and Implementation

Water Quality Issues in the 111th Congress: Oversight and Implementation

Date: March 16, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses the water quality issues. Although much progress has been made in achieving the ambitious goals that Congress established more than 35 years ago to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters, long-standing problems persist, and new problems have emerged.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues

Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues

Date: October 5, 2006
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: Section 401 of the Clean Water Act requires that an applicant for a federal license or permit provide a certification that any discharges from the facility will comply with the Act, including water quality standard requirements. Disputes have arisen over the states' exercise of authority under Section 401. Until recently, much of the debate over the Section 401 certification issue has been between states and hydropower interests. A 1994 Supreme Court decision which upheld the states' authority in this area dismayed development and hydroelectric power interest groups. The Court revisited these issues in a 2006 ruling that unanimously upheld the states' authority to condition hydropower licenses. The dispute between states and industry groups about Section 401 authority has been a legislative issue on several occasions, but Congress has not responded by modifying the provision's scope. In addition, there has been interest in clarifying whether Section 401 certification applies to nonpoint source discharges, such as rainfall runoff, as well as point source discharges from pipes or ditches.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations

Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations

Date: January 30, 2012
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: The principal federal program to aid municipal wastewater treatment plant construction is authorized in the Clean Water Act (CWA). In appropriations legislation, funding for EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) wastewater assistance is contained in the measure providing funds for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. This report summarizes, in chronological order, congressional activity to fund items in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account since 1987.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background and Governance

Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background and Governance

Date: January 11, 2012
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Description: This report provides background information regarding oil spills in U.S. coastal waters and identifies the legal authorities governing oil spill prevention, response, and cleanup. Based on data between 1973 and 2009, the annual number and volume of oil spills have shown declines- in some cases, dramatic declines.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Highlighted Actions and Issues

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Highlighted Actions and Issues

Date: May 13, 2011
Creator: Hagerty, Curry L. & Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Description: This report highlights actions taken and issues raised as a result of the April 20, 2010, explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, and the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Readers can access more extensive discussions in various CRS reports, identified at the end of this report.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Safeguarding the Nation's Drinking Water: EPA and Congressional Actions

Safeguarding the Nation's Drinking Water: EPA and Congressional Actions

Date: September 30, 2010
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Description: The events of September 11, 2001, focused heightened attention on the security status of the nation's drinking water supplies and the vulnerability of this critical infrastructure sector to attack. This report reviews governmental and water utility efforts to improve drinking water security.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response

Date: October 15, 2010
Creator: Corn, M. Lynne & Copeland, Claudia
Description: The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, and the resulting oil spill began a cascade of effects on the coastal areas of the Gulf and on the wealth of species that inhabit those areas. This report addresses the importance of wetlands in general, the ecology of the coastal wetlands in the Gulf, impacts of oil spills on wetland habitats, response options, the implications of hurricane season for the spill's impacts, and cleanup and recovery issues. The emphasis is on the nearshore environment, although a few species found in deeper waters will be mentioned. In addition, some lessons from past spills such as the Exxon Valdez in Alaska will be discussed, along with issues that may arise as response and recovery transition to restoration of the Gulf.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Tax Issues and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Legal Analysis of Payments and Tax Relief Policy Options

Tax Issues and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Legal Analysis of Payments and Tax Relief Policy Options

Date: October 14, 2010
Creator: Sherlock, Molly F.; Lunder, Erika K. & Liu, Edward C.
Description: This report will briefly discuss existing disaster-related tax provisions and their application to the recent Depewater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The report then provides an analysis of the tax treatment of the BP payments to the individuals and businesses impacted by the oil spill as well as various policy options for providing tax relief to oil spill victims, highlighting the circumstantial differences between previous natural disasters and the current oil spill. The report concludes with a brief summary of current legislative efforts.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Reorganization of the Minerals Management Service in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Reorganization of the Minerals Management Service in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Date: November 10, 2010
Creator: Hogue, Henry B.
Description: This report provides background and context on the origins of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) in the Department of the Interior (DOI). The April 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill refocused attention on MMS, which had previously endured management challenges. The report also discusses Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar's handling of conflicts within MMS, potential congressional options regarding MMS reorganization, historical examples of similar reorganization efforts, and information on related legislative initiatives.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Water Infrastructure Projects Designated in EPA Appropriations: Trends and Policy Implications

Water Infrastructure Projects Designated in EPA Appropriations: Trends and Policy Implications

Date: October 28, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses appropriations for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water infrastructure programs, focusing on congressional special project designations in the account that funds these programs. While some Members of Congress, interest groups, and Administration officials are critical of these types of congressional actions, there is little indication that the practice will cease. Information on the programmatic history of EPA involvement in assisting wastewater treatment and drinking water projects also is provided in two appendixes.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Oil Spill Legislation in the 111th Congress

Oil Spill Legislation in the 111th Congress

Date: October 15, 2010
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Description: This report summarizes provisions of selected legislation - enacted and proposed - that address oil spill policy issues raised after the April 20, 2010, explosion and resulting oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. This report focuses primarily on oil spill policy matters that concern prevention, preparedness, response, and the liability and compensation framework.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Pesticide Use and Water Quality: Are the Laws Complementary or in Conflict?

Pesticide Use and Water Quality: Are the Laws Complementary or in Conflict?

Date: October 13, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report provides background on the conflict over interpretation and implementation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act. A brief discussion of the two laws is followed by a review of the major litigation of interest. EPA's efforts to clarify its policy in this area and the November 2006 rule and the 2009 federal court ruling are discussed, as well as possible options for EPA and Congress to further address the FIFRA-CWA issues. In June, EPA proposed a draft general CWA permit that it intends to finalize by April 2011 in response to the court ruling.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Federally Supported Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Programs

Federally Supported Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Programs

Date: June 15, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia; Cody, Betsy A.; Tiemann, Mary; Carter, Nicole T. & Stubbs, Megan
Description: This report provides background information on the types of water supply and wastewater treatment projects traditionally funded by the federal government and the several existing programs to assist communities with water supply and wastewater treatment.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations

Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations

Date: August 19, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: The principal federal program to aid municipal wastewater treatment plant construction is authorized in the Clean Water Act (CWA). In appropriations legislation, funding for EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) wastewater assistance is contained in the measure providing funds for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. This report summarizes, in chronological order, congressional activity to fund items in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account since 1987.
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.
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: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Clean Water Act: Legislation Concerning Discharges from Recreational Boats

Clean Water Act: Legislation Concerning Discharges from Recreational Boats

Date: June 19, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: The Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to develop a regulatory response to a 2006 federal court ruling that vacated a long-standing rule that exempts discharges associated with the normal operation of vessels from permit requirements of the Clean Water Act. Concern that this ruling could require millions of recreational boaters to obtain permits has led to the introduction of legislation to exempt these and other types of vessels from water quality regulation. This report discusses background to the issue; bills introduced in response, two of which were passed by Congress on July 22; and draft permits proposed by EPA on June 17.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Clean Water Act: Legislation Concerning Discharges from Recreational Boats

Clean Water Act: Legislation Concerning Discharges from Recreational Boats

Date: September 17, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: The Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to develop a regulatory response to a 2006 federal court ruling that vacated a long-standing rule that exempts discharges associated with the normal operation of vessels from permit requirements of the Clean Water Act. Concern that this ruling could require millions of recreational boaters to obtain permits has led to the introduction of legislation to exempt these and other types of vessels from water quality regulation. This report discusses background to the issue; bills introduced in response, two of which were passed by Congress on July 22; and draft permits proposed by EPA on June 17.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Clean Water Action Plan: Budgetary Initiatives

Clean Water Action Plan: Budgetary Initiatives

Date: February 14, 2000
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: In October 1997, Vice President Gore directed federal agencies to develop a Clean Water Initiative to improve and strengthen water pollution control efforts. The multiagency plan was released on Feb. 19, 1998, and identifies nearly 100 key actions. Most are existing activities, now labeled as part of the Initiative. The President's FY1999 budget requests $2.2 billion for five departments and agencies to fund implementation of the Plan. While Congress is considering appropriations bills to fund the Plan, federal agencies are beginning or accelerating activities to carry out the actions under the Plan.
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: January 4, 2005
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act 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
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act

Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act

Date: December 12, 2006
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department