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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments

The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments

Date: December 28, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: Congressional interest in wetlands permit regulatory programs has been evident in the past in oversight hearings and in connection with bills to fund the Corps' regulatory programs. For some time, there has been a stalemate over legislation that would revise wetlands regulatory law and that could, if enacted, modify the nationwide permit program. During this time, no consensus has emerged on whether or how to reform overall wetlands policy legislatively. Recently, Obama Administration initiatives and actions intended to restrict harmful effects of surface coal mining activities in Appalachia have drawn congressional attention and criticism that is likely to continue in the 112th Congress and that could include oversight of the Corps' regulatory program generally.
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Energy's Water Demand: Trends, Vulnerabilities, and Management

Energy's Water Demand: Trends, Vulnerabilities, and Management

Date: November 24, 2010
Creator: Carter, Nicole T.
Description: The nation's energy choices embody many tradeoffs. Water use is one of those tradeoffs. The energy choices before Congress represent vastly different demands on domestic freshwater. The energy sector's water consumption is projected to rise 50% from 2005 to 2030. This rising water demand derives from both an increase in the amount of energy demanded and shifts to more water-intense energy sources and technologies. This report discusses this issue as well as related issues that may arise for the 112th Congress.
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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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Great Lakes Water Withdrawals: Legal and Policy Issues

Great Lakes Water Withdrawals: Legal and Policy Issues

Date: September 4, 2009
Creator: Sheikh, Pervaze A. & Brougher, Cynthia
Description: This report describes the characteristics of the Great Lakes, the interests they support, and possible threats to lake levels. It analyzes the federal laws and policies that regulate the diversion, withdrawal, and consumptive use of water from the Great Lakes. Also included is a discussion of the final Compact and Agreement and some of the issues raised by various interest groups. This report concludes with a general discussion on the relationship between compacts, federal law, and the Congress.
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Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Date: March 12, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia & Carter, Nicole T.
Description: This report identifies funding for water infrastructure programs and projects contained in the legislation, including amounts in the House- and Senate-passed versions that preceded the conference agreement. Among the purposes identified in the legislation are preservation and creation of jobs and promotion of U.S. economic recovery, and investment in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits.
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Water Rights Related to Oil Shale Development in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Water Rights Related to Oil Shale Development in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Date: November 18, 2008
Creator: Brougher, Cynthia
Description: Concerns over fluctuating oil prices and declining petroleum production worldwide have revived interest in oil shale as a potential resource. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) identified oil shale as a strategically important domestic resource and directed the Department of the Interior to promote commercial development. Oil shale development would require significant amounts of water, however, and water supply in the Colorado River Basin, where several oil shale reserves are located, is limited. This report will provide a brief overview of water rights in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, including changes that may be made to currently held water rights and the possibility for abandonment of unused water rights.
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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: October 24, 2008
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Description: The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996 authorized a drinking water state revolving loan fund (DWSRF) program to help public water systems finance infrastructure projects needed to comply with federal drinking water regulations and to protect public health. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) latest (2003) survey of capital improvement needs for public water systems found that water systems need to invest $276.8 billion on infrastructure improvements over 20 years to ensure the provision of safe water. Key issues include the gap between estimated needs and funding, SDWA compliance costs, and the need for cities to update and maintain water infrastructure, apart from SDWA compliance.
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Perchlorate Conatmination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions

Perchlorate Conatmination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions

Date: October 16, 2008
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Description: Perchlorate is the explosive component of solid rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares, and other products and is used heavily by the Department of Defense (DOD) and other industries. Perchlorate also occurs naturally. This compound has been detected in drinking water supplies, especially in California. It also has been found in milk and many foods. Because of this widespread occurrence, concern over the potential health risks of perchlorate exposure has increased, and some states and Member of Congress have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a drinking water standard for perchlorate. This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and developments.
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Wave, Tidal, and In-Stream Energy Projects: Which Federal Agency Has the Lead?

Wave, Tidal, and In-Stream Energy Projects: Which Federal Agency Has the Lead?

Date: October 7, 2008
Creator: Lane, Nic
Description: Developments in wave, tidal, and in-stream energy generation technologies -- also referred to as hydrokinetic or marine energy -- are beginning to gain momentum. At the same time, their regulatory status is still evolving, as shown by recent changes in law aimed at clarifying hte federal role in ocean wave and renewable energy. Two federal agencies currently appear to have a lead role in offshore renewable energy projects -- the Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
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Flood Insurance Requirements for Stafford Act Assistance

Flood Insurance Requirements for Stafford Act Assistance

Date: September 5, 2008
Creator: Liu, Edward C.
Description: The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) imposes flood insurance requirements upon eligibility for disaster assistance in two general cases: (1) if the entity seeking disaster assistance has received disaster assistance in the past, or (2) if the entity seeking disaster assistance is a state or local government or private nonprofit located in a federally designated special flood hazard area (SFHA) as determined under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The requirements imposed by the Stafford Act operate independently of each other, and a potential applicant for disaster assistance may fall into both categories. This report will discuss the specific requirements imposed in each situation after briefly discussing the history of flood insurance and the relevant types of disaster assistance.
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