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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Western Water Resource Issues
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Western Water Resource Issues
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Western Water Resource Issues
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Soil and Water Conservation Issues
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Federal Disaster and Emergency Assistance for Water Infrastructure Facilities and Supplies
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Everglades Restoration: The Federal Role in Funding
In 2000, Congress approved a 30-year, $7.8 billion restoration plan, termed the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), for the Everglades ecosystem in southern Florida, and authorized an initial set of projects at a cost of $1.4 billion. This report provides information on federal appropriations for Everglades restoration, and discusses some issues related to the authorization and appropriations for restoration projects. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7566/
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/
Western Water Resource Issues
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Western Water Resource Issues
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Western Water Resource Issues
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Western Water Resource Issues
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Western Water Resource Issues
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South Florida Ecosystem Restoration and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
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South Florida Ecosystem Restoration and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
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South Florida Ecosystem Restoration and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
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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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Western Water Resource Issues
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Great Lakes Water Quality: Current Issues
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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 1994 Summary of S. 2019, as Passed
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Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1995: Overview of S.1316, As Passed
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Locally Operated Levees: Issues and Federal Programs
The report discusses the role of levees in flood risk reduction, the shared responsibilities for levees in the United States, and the role of three agencies: FEMA, the Corps, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It also discusses federal assistance for levees, describes the debate about whether levees investments have a role in federal flood mitigation programs, and compares Corps, FEMA, and NRCS activities and authorities. Finally, the report outlines policy options for locally-operated levees that might be considered by the 112th Congress. Legislative proposals in the 111th Congress are discussed in an Appendix. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99055/
Inland Waterways: Recent Proposals and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the major issues for Congress which include whether to increase inland waterway funding in the future (and by what amount); the appropriate type of revenue stream (e.g., fuel taxes or lockage fees) for the user-required portion of these projects; division of the cost-share responsibilities between the federal government and commercial users (e.g., 50/50 or some other division); and whether to initiate process-based recommendations that some argue will improve the delivery and efficiency of Corps-led IWTF projects. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227683/
Federally Supported Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Programs
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The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments
Permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorize various types of development projects in wetlands and other waters of the United States. The Corps' regulatory process involves two types of permits: general permits for actions by private landowners that are similar in nature and will likely have a minor effect on wetlands, and individual permits for more significant actions. The Corps uses general permits to minimize the burden of its regulatory program: they authorize landowners to proceed with a project without the time-consuming need to obtain standard individual permits in advance. About 90% of the Corps' regulatory workload is processed in the form of general permits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83832/
The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83831/
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 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83833/
Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Projects: Authorization and Appropriations
This report explains how the congressional authorization and appropriations process overlays the Corps' project development process. Special attention is given to initiating a water resources study, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) process, civil works appropriations, and emergency response activities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93975/
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/
Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87133/
U.S.-Mexico Water Sharing: Background and Recent Developments
This report is a primer on U.S. and Mexican water-sharing topics. It focuses on surface water quantity sharing and recent developments, including drought conditions. Due to Mexico's recent below-target deliveries of Rio Grande water to the United States, particular attention is given to the status, underlying causes, and responses to the Rio Grande water debt. This report describes: legal obligations and processes under the 1944 Water Treaty; drought conditions from 2010 to 2013; water sharing and developments in the Colorado River Basin; water sharing in the Rio Grande Basin and Mexico's water debt; and stakeholder, diplomatic, and legislative responses to Mexico's Rio Grande water debt. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc267861/
CALFED Bay-Delta Program: Overview of Institutional and Water Use Issues
The California Bay-Delta Program (CALFED) was initiated in 1995 to resolve water resources conflicts in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Rivers Delta and San Francisco Bay (Bay-Delta) in California. The program planning effort focused on developing a plan to address three main problem areas in the Bay-Delta: ecosystem health, water quality, and water supply reliability. CALFED was authorized to receive federal funding from FY1998 to FY2000, and is now being considered for reauthorization. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8241/
Delegation of the Federal Power of Eminent Domain to Nonfederal Entities
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10746/
Flood Insurance Requirements for Stafford Act Assistance
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10788/
The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments
Permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorize various types of development projects in wetlands and other waters of the United States. The Corps' regulatory process involves two types of permits: general permits for actions for private landowners that will likely have a minor effect on wetlands, and individual permits for more significant actions. Interest groups have a number of specific criticisms of the permits. For some time, there has been a stalemate in Congress over legislation related to this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26114/
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: Program Overview and Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7773/
Protecting New Orleans: From Hurricane Barriers to Floodwalls
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Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
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Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8785/
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration
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Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9020/
Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration: The Recommended Corps Plan
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9108/
Pesticide Use and Water Quality : Are the Laws Complementary or in Conflict?
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Upper Mississippi River - Illinois Waterway Navigation Expansion: An Agricultural Transportation and Environmental Context
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The Wetlands Coverage of the Clean Water Act is Revisited by the Supreme Court: Rapanos and Carabell
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Water Rights Related to Oil Shale Development in the Upper Colorado River Basin
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10824/
The Wetlands Coverage of the Clean Water Act is Revisited by the Supreme Court: Rapanos and Carabell
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Clean Water Issues in the 104th Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs168/
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/