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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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/
Great Lakes Water Quality: Current Issues
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Auburn Dam on the American River: Fact Sheet
For more than 30 years, Congress has debated constructing a dam on the American River near Auburn, California. The Army Corps of Engineers recently identified three alternatives for flood control, with the Division office's preferred plan calling for construction of a 508-foot-high detention dam. Currently, two bills address the issue: H.R. 3270 supports construction of the dam, while H.R. 2951 opposes construction of any structure on the North Fork of the American River. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs314/
Safe Drinking Water Act Reauthorization Issues
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Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Reauthorization
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Safe Drinking Water Act: State Revolving Fund Program
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Clean Water Issues in the 105th Congress
For the 105th Congress, reauthorization of the Clean Water Act may be a priority in the second session. The Act was last amended in 1987 and authorizations expired on Sept. 30, 1990. Clean water was a priority for the last two Congresses, but no legislation was enacted. In the 104th Congress, the House passed a comprehensive reauthorization bill, but during House debate and subsequently, controversies arose over whether and how the Act should be made more flexible and less burdensome on regulated entities. Issues likely to be of interest again in the 105th Congress include funding, overall flexibility and regulatory reform of water quality programs, and measures to address polluted runoff from farms and city streets. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs498/
Clean Water Act and TMDLs
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs417/
Wetland Mitigation Banking: Status and Prospects
Wetland protection is controversial because the federal government regulates activities on private lands and because the natural values at some of these regulated sites are being debated. This controversy pits property owners and development interests against environmentalists and others who seek to protect the remaining wetlands. Mitigation banking, which allows a person to degrade a wetland at one site if a wetland at another site is improved, has been identified as a potential answer to this shrill and seemingly intractable debate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs474/
Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA's Regulatory Program
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American Heritage Rivers
This report discusses the American Heritage Rivers Initiative, implemented in 1998 by President Bill Clinton. The Initiative designed 14 rivers as "American Heritage Rivers," and declared that each "will receive help over the next five years tapping federal resources to carry out their plans for revitalizing their rivers and riverfronts." This report also discusses the reactions from both supporters and detractors of the initiative, and related legislation and appropriations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs823/
Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues
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 dispute between states and industry groups was a legislative issue in the 104th Congress through an amendment to a House-passed Clean Water Act re-authorization bill; the Senate did not act on that bill. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs646/
Rural Water Supply and Sewer Systems: Background Information
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Nationwide Permits for Wetlands Projects: Permit 26 and Other Issues and Controversies
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Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996: Overview of P.L. 104-182
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Desalination R and D: The New Federal Program
The purpose of the program is to determine the most technologically efficient and cost- effective means by which useable water can be produced from saline water or water otherwise impaired or contaminated. Currently, the cost of desalting seawater is 3 to 5 times the comparable cost of desalting brackish water, which is up to twice as expensive as the treatment and delivery of other municipal water supplies (not counting sewage-related costs). Funding for the new Desalination R&D Program is provided through Bureau of Reclamation's Office of Research in the Department of the Interior digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1043/
Water Quality Initiatives and Agriculture
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Wetlands Regulation and the Law of Property Rights "Takings"
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Soil and Water Conservation Issues
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Wetland Issues
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Water Quality Initiatives and Agriculture
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Clean Water Issues in the 107th Congress: An Overview
Key water quality issues that may face the 107th Congress include: actions to implement existing provisions of the Clean Water Act, whether additional steps are necessary to achieve overall goals of the Act, and the appropriate federal role in guiding and paying for clean water activities. This Act is the principal law that deals with polluting activity in the nation’s lakes, rivers, and coastal waters and authorizes funds to aid construction of municipal wastewater treatment plants. Legislative prospects for comprehensively amending it have been stalled over whether and exactly how to change the law. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2041/
Endocrine Disruption: An Introduction
Exposure to certain chemicals in the environment could disrupt the hormone systems of animals and humans, according to some scientists who are concerned about potential risks to public health and ecosystems. Congress has mandated chemical screening to assess the potential of pesticides and drinking water contaminants to influence the normal functions of female, male and thyroid hormones. As conflicting scientific evidence accumluates on the hormone disruption hypothesis, legislators may consider proposals to increase or decrease funding for the endocrine disruption screening program, or to expand its requirements to include additional chemicals or hormone functions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1879/
Water Resource Issues in the 107th Congress
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The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and Federal Water Rights
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Soil and Water Conservation Issues
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The Supreme Court Addresses Corps of Engineers Jurisdiction Over "Isolated Waters": The SWANCC Decision
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South Florida Ecosystem Restoration and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
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Western Water Resource Issues
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Wetland Issues
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Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
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Soil and Water Conservation Issues
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Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants
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 was dormant until recently, when states and EPA were prodded by numerous lawsuits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1524/
Arsenic in Drinking Water: Recent Regulatory Developments and Issues
This report discusses issues regarding the arsenic’s health effects and how to reduce the uncertainty in assessing health risks associated with exposure to low levels of arsenic. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the current standard of 50 parts per billion (ppb) in 1975. . This report reviews EPA efforts to develop a new arsenic rule and summarizes key provisions and subsequent events. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2047/
Safe Drinking Water Act: State Revolving Fund Program
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South Florida Ecosystem Restoration and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
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Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector
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Soil and Water Conservation Issues
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Wetland Issues
Instead of a single comprehensive federal wetland protection law, multiple laws provide varying levels of protection in different forms: the permit program authorized in §404 in the Clean Water Act; programs for agricultural wetlands; laws that protect specific sites; and laws that protect wetlands which perform certain functions. Many protection advocates view these laws and their implementation as inadequate or uncoordinated. Others, who advocate the rights of property owners and development interests, by contrast, characterize these efforts, especially the §404 permit program, as too intrusive. Numerous state and local wetland programs add to the complexity of the protection effort. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3610/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
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Western Water Resource Issues
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Arsenic in Drinking Water: Recent Regulatory Developments and Issues
This report discusses issues regarding the arsenic’s health effects and how to reduce the uncertainty in assessing health risks associated with exposure to low levels of arsenic. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the current standard of 50 parts per billion (ppb) in 1975. . This report reviews EPA efforts to develop a new arsenic rule and summarizes key provisions and subsequent events. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3619/
Wetland Issues
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Soil and Water Conservation Issues
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Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
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Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants
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 was dormant until recently, when states and EPA were prodded by numerous lawsuits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2340/
Western Water Resource Issues
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Wetland Issues
Instead of a single comprehensive federal wetland protection law, multiple laws provide varying levels of protection in different forms: the permit program authorized in §404 in the Clean Water Act; programs for agricultural wetlands; laws that protect specific sites; and laws that protect wetlands which perform certain functions. Many protection advocates view these laws and their implementation as inadequate or uncoordinated. Others, who advocate the rights of property owners and development interests, by contrast, characterize these efforts, especially the §404 permit program, as too intrusive. Numerous state and local wetland programs add to the complexity of the protection effort. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3612/
Safe Drinking Water Act: State Revolving Fund Program
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Soil and Water Conservation Issues
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