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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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