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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants

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

Date: June 7, 2002
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 was dormant until recently, when states and EPA were prodded by numerous lawsuits.
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Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants

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

Date: February 13, 2003
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 was dormant until recently, when states and EPA were prodded by numerous lawsuits.
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Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues

Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues

Date: October 4, 1998
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 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.
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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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Clean Water Issues in the 104th Congress

Clean Water Issues in the 104th Congress

Date: December 1, 1994
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: For the 104th Congress, reauthorization of the Clean Water Act would seem likely to be a priority, since the Act was last amended in 1987 and authorizations expired on September 30, 1990. But legislative prospects in the 104th Congress are uncertain. Clean water also was a priority for the 103rd Congress, but, in 1994, Congress ran out of time and did not act on comprehensive amendments. Many of the issues proved to be too complex and controversial to be resolved easily, while Congress also was considering a large agenda of environmental and other bills. Controversies arose in connection with issues specific to the Clean Water Act and a trio of regulatory relief issues that became barriers to a number of bills in the 103rd Congress.
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Clean Water Issues in the 105th Congress

Clean Water Issues in the 105th Congress

Date: August 21, 1997
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: 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.
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Clean Water Issues in the 107th Congress: An Overview

Clean Water Issues in the 107th Congress: An Overview

Date: January 5, 2001
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: 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.
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Clean Water: Summary of H.R. 961, As Passed

Clean Water: Summary of H.R. 961, As Passed

Date: May 30, 1995
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: The Clean Water Act, which was last amended in 1987, consists of two major parts: regulatory provisions that impose progressively more stringent requirements on industries and cities to abate pollution and meet the statutory goal of zero discharge of pollutants, and provisions that authorize Federal financial assistance for municipal wastewater treatment construction.
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Coast Guard Deepwater Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress

Coast Guard Deepwater Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress

Date: April 30, 2007
Creator: O’Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report discusses the Integrated Deepwater Systems (IDS) program, or Deepwater program which is the largest and most complex acquisition effort in Coast Guard history, encompassing 91 new cutters, 124 new small surface craft, and 244 new or converted airplanes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
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Coastal Louisiana: Attempting to Restore an Ecosystem

Coastal Louisiana: Attempting to Restore an Ecosystem

Date: October 25, 2004
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A
Description: Congress continues to consider legislative options to address wetlands loss in coastal Louisiana. Some legislative proposals would dedicate some federal revenues from offshore oil and gas development to restoration efforts. Other proposals would authorize specific restoration projects or activities, or further examination of the causes and effects of loss. These projects are neutralizing conditions that lead to loss at some sites, and are reestablishing some wetlands. These projects are expected to have many ecological, economic, and social benefits. A July 2004 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report, a draft ecosystem restoration study, identifies more than 150 possible remedies.
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Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Date: March 17, 2006
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A
Description: Prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been seeking congressional approval for a $1.1 billion multi-year program to both construct five projects that would help to restore specified sites in the coastal wetland ecosystem in Louisiana, and to continue planning several other related projects. The state of Louisiana and several federal agencies have participated in the development of this program. This report introduces this program and restoration options that are being discussed in the wake of the hurricanes. It also discusses whether this program, if completed, might have muted the impacts of these hurricanes.
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Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Date: May 4, 2006
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A
Description: Prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been seeking congressional approval for a $1.1 billion multi-year program to both construct five projects that would help to restore specified sites in the coastal wetland ecosystem in Louisiana, and to continue planning several other related projects. The state of Louisiana and several federal agencies have participated in the development of this program. This report introduces this program and restoration options that are being discussed in the wake of the hurricanes. It also discusses whether this program, if completed, might have muted the impacts of these hurricanes.
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Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration: The Recommended Corps Plan

Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration: The Recommended Corps Plan

Date: April 11, 2005
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A
Description: The Corps estimates that this entire package of recommended activities would cost a total of $1,996 million. Included in this package are recommendations for immediate authorization ($1,123 million), further authorized investigation ($145 million), and projects that could be authorized in the future ($728 million). This CRS short report is limited to a summary of this Corps report and the next steps in implementation.
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Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA): Effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on Implementation

Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA): Effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on Implementation

Date: January 24, 2007
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A.
Description: This report discusses the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA), which enacted in 1990 and administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has funded wetland restoration projects for more than 10 years.
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Delegation of the Federal Power of Eminent Domain to Nonfederal Entities

Delegation of the Federal Power of Eminent Domain to Nonfederal Entities

Date: May 20, 2008
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: Congress has on several occasions delegated its power of eminent domain to entities outside the federal government -- public and private corporations, interstate compact agencies, state and local governments, and even individuals. The constitutionality of such delegation, and of the exercise of such power by even private delegates, is today beyond dispute. However, among delegates with both federal and private characteristics, there is some subjectivity to deciding which to list in a report limited to "nonfederal entities." For delegatees of federal eminent domain power listed here, delegations since 1920 have primarily been to Amtrak, hydroelectric facilities (for dams and reservoirs), and entities engaged in the movement of electricity, gas, and petroleum (the last one expired), and for interstate bridges.
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Desalination R and D: The New Federal Program

Desalination R and D: The New Federal Program

Date: February 18, 1999
Creator: Mielke, James E
Description: 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
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Desalination: Status and Federal Issues

Desalination: Status and Federal Issues

Date: December 30, 2009
Creator: Carter, Nicole T.
Description: This report discusses desalination in the context of federal policy. Interest in desalination of seawater, brackish water, and contaminated freshwater has increased in the United States as the technology's costs have fallen and pressure to develop new water supplies has grown. Adoption of desalination, however, remains constrained by financial, environmental, and regulatory and social factors.
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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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Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: Program Overview and Issues

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: Program Overview and Issues

Date: June 14, 2005
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Description: In the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996 (P.L. 104-182), Congress 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. Under the program, states receive capitalization grants to make loans to water systems for drinking water projects and certain other SDWA activities. Since the program was first funded in FY1997, Congress has provided $7.8 billion, including roughly $844 million for FY2005. The President has requested $850 million for FY2006. Through June 2004, the DWSRF program had provided $7.9 billion in assistance and had supported 6,500 projects.
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Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: Program Overview and Issues

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: Program Overview and Issues

Date: February 22, 2008
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 to help public water systems finance infrastructure projects needed to comply with federal drinking water regulations and to protect public health.
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Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress

Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress

Date: August 15, 2012
Creator: Folger, Peter; Cody, Betsy A. & Carter, Nicole T.
Description: This report describes the physical causes of drought, drought history in the United States, and policy challenges related to drought. It also provides examples of recurrent regional drought conditions.
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Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress

Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress

Date: June 12, 2012
Creator: Folger, Peter; Cody, Betsy A. & Carter, Nicole T.
Description: This report defines drought and discusses its background and cause in the United States. It looks in detail at the 2007-2009 California drought as well as drought in the American West in general. Lastly, it discusses the future of U.S. drought and how congressional policy can affect drought.
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Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress

Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress

Date: March 2, 2009
Creator: Folger, Peter; Cody, Betsy A. & Carter, Nicole T.
Description: This report discusses how drought is defined, and why drought occurs in the United States. How droughts are classified, and what is meant by moderate, severe, and extreme drought classification, are also discussed. The report concludes with a description of policy challenges for Congress, such as the existing federal/non-federal split in drought response and management, and the patchwork of drought programs subject to oversight by multiple congressional committees.
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Drought Legislation: Comparison of Selected Provisions in H.R. 2898 and S. 1894

Drought Legislation: Comparison of Selected Provisions in H.R. 2898 and S. 1894

Date: September 4, 2015
Creator: Stern, Charles V.; Sheikh, Pervaze A.; Cody, Betsy A.; Carter, Nicole T. & Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report summarizes the provisions of S. 1894, as introduced, and H.R. 2898, as passed by the House for conservation of fish species and their habitats in drought-stricken areas. It identifies comparable provisions between the two bills and discusses some of the ways in which those provisions overlap or differ. It also summarizes selected other major provisions in each bill.
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