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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response
The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, and the resulting oil spill began a cascade of effects on the coastal areas of the Gulf and on the wealth of species that inhabit those areas. This report addresses the importance of wetlands in general, the ecology of the coastal wetlands in the Gulf, impacts of oil spills on wetland habitats, response options, the implications of hurricane season for the spill's impacts, and cleanup and recovery issues. The emphasis is on the nearshore environment, although a few species found in deeper waters will be mentioned. In addition, some lessons from past spills such as the Exxon Valdez in Alaska will be discussed, along with issues that may arise as response and recovery transition to restoration of the Gulf. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29596/
Tax Issues and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Legal Analysis of Payments and Tax Relief Policy Options
This report will briefly discuss existing disaster-related tax provisions and their application to the recent Depewater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The report then provides an analysis of the tax treatment of the BP payments to the individuals and businesses impacted by the oil spill as well as various policy options for providing tax relief to oil spill victims, highlighting the circumstantial differences between previous natural disasters and the current oil spill. The report concludes with a brief summary of current legislative efforts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29598/
Reorganization of the Minerals Management Service in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29631/
Ocean Acidification
With increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, the extent of effects on the ocean and marine resources is an increasing concern. One aspect of this issue is the ongoing process whereby seawater becomes acidified (i.e., ocean acidification) as more CO2 dissolves in it, causing hydrogen ion concentration in seawater to increase. While not yet fully understood, the ecological and economic consequences of ocean acidification could be substantial. Congress is beginning to focus attention on better understanding ocean acidification and determining how this concern might be addressed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26133/
Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26111/
Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress
This report reviews the history and trends of oil spills in the United States; identifies the legal authorities governing oil spill prevention, response, and cleanup; and examines the threats of future oil spills in U.S. coastal waters. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26249/
Federally Supported Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Programs
This report provides background information on the types of water supply and wastewater treatment projects traditionally funded by the federal government and the several existing programs to assist communities with water supply and wastewater treatment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26196/
Clean Water Act: Legislation Concerning Discharges from Recreational Boats
The Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to develop a regulatory response to a 2006 federal court ruling that vacated a long-standing rule that exempts discharges associated with the normal operation of vessels from permit requirements of the Clean Water Act. Concern that this ruling could require millions of recreational boaters to obtain permits has led to the introduction of legislation to exempt these and other types of vessels from water quality regulation. This report discusses background to the issue; bills introduced in response, two of which were passed by Congress on July 22; and draft permits proposed by EPA on June 17. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10738/
Clean Water Act: Legislation Concerning Discharges from Recreational Boats
The Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to develop a regulatory response to a 2006 federal court ruling that vacated a long-standing rule that exempts discharges associated with the normal operation of vessels from permit requirements of the Clean Water Act. Concern that this ruling could require millions of recreational boaters to obtain permits has led to the introduction of legislation to exempt these and other types of vessels from water quality regulation. This report discusses background to the issue; bills introduced in response, two of which were passed by Congress on July 22; and draft permits proposed by EPA on June 17. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10739/
Clean Water Action Plan: Budgetary Initiatives
In October 1997, Vice President Gore directed federal agencies to develop a Clean Water Initiative to improve and strengthen water pollution control efforts. The multiagency plan was released on Feb. 19, 1998, and identifies nearly 100 key actions. Most are existing activities, now labeled as part of the Initiative. The President's FY1999 budget requests $2.2 billion for five departments and agencies to fund implementation of the Plan. While Congress is considering appropriations bills to fund the Plan, federal agencies are beginning or accelerating activities to carry out the actions under the Plan. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10008/
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 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/metacrs10107/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10136/
Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA's Regulatory Program
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10084/
U.S. Disposal of Chemical Weapons in the Ocean: Background and Issues for Congress
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9999/
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve: History, Perspectives, and Issues
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9989/
U.S. Disposal of Chemical Weapons in the Ocean: Background and Issues for Congress
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9975/
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve: History, Perspectives, and Issues
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9965/
Ocean Dumping: A Time to Reappraise?
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9178/
Federally Supported Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Programs
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9117/
Animal Waste and Water Quality: EPA Regulation of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)
This report describes the revised environmental rules of the Clean Water Act, the background of previous Clean Water Act rules and the Clinton Administration proposal for revising these rules, and perspectives of key interest groups on the proposal and final regulations. It also identifies several issues likely to be of congressional interest as implementation of the revised rules proceeds. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9077/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8556/
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/
Phosphorus Mitigation in the Everglades
This report discusses the FY2004 appropriations provisions that condition federal funding for Everglades restoration on compliance with water quality standards, provides a side-by-side analysis of pending appropriations legislation, and provides background and a timeline of efforts to address Everglades phosphorus pollution (from Summary). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7374/
San Diego Wastewater Treatment: Current Issues
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs272/
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/
Water Quality Initiatives and Agriculture
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1347/
The Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Program: Status and Legislative Issues
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1041/
Water Quality Initiatives and Agriculture
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1346/
The Clean Water Action Plan: Background and Early Implementation
In October 1997, Vice President Gore directed federal agencies to develop a Clean Water Initiative to improve and strengthen water pollution control efforts. The multiagency plan was released on Feb. 19, 1998, and identifies nearly 100 key actions. Most are existing activities, now labeled as part of the Initiative. The President's FY1999 budget requests $2.2 billion for five departments and agencies to fund implementation of the Plan. While Congress is considering appropriations bills to fund the Plan, federal agencies are beginning or accelerating activities to carry out the actions under the Plan. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs822/
The Clean Water Action Plan: Background and Early Implementation
October 1997, Vice President Gore directed federal agencies to develop a Clean Water Initiative to improve and strengthen water pollution control efforts. The multi-agency plan was released on Feb. 19, 1998, and identifies more than 100 key actions. Most are existing activities, now labeled as part of the Initiative. The President's FY1999 budget requested $2.2 billion for five departments and agencies ($568 million more than in FY1998) to fund implementation. By October 1998, Congress passed bills to fund the plan, but appropriations provided $1.8 billion, or less than 15%, of the requested increases. In the meantime, however, federal agencies are beginning or accelerating activities to carry out the actions under the Plan. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1040/
Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA's Regulatory Program
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs821/
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: Summary of H.R. 961, As Passed
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs270/
Great Lakes Water Quality: Current Issues
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs365/
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/
Toxic Pollutants and the Clean Water Act: Current Issues
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs89/
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/
Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1007/
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/
Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund (LUST)
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs431/
Leaking Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Issues
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs959/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4124/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4123/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4122/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4121/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4120/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4119/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4118/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4117/
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2364/