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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Year: 2008
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations

A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations

Date: December 23, 2008
Creator: Leggett, Jane A.
Description: This document provides a U.S.-centric chronology of the international policy negotiations to address climate change. It covers the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the Marrakesh Accords of 2001, and the Bali Action Plan of 2007 that mandates the current negotiations toward a new agreement by the end of 2009 on commitments for the period beyond 2012. Today's negotiations under the Bali Action Plan focus on four elements: mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions; adaptation to impacts of climate change; financial assistance to low income countries; and technology development and transfer. For U.S. legislators, important issues include the compatibility of any international agreement with U.S. domestic policies and laws; the adequacy of appropriations, fiscal measures and programs to achieve any commitments under the agreement; and the desirable form of the agreement and related requirements for potential Senate ratification and federal implementing legislation.
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Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Activities: Authorization and Appropriations

Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Activities: Authorization and Appropriations

Date: November 26, 2008
Creator: Carter, Nicole T. & Hughes, H. S.
Description: This report provides an overview of the Corps civil works program. It covers the congressional authorization and appropriation process, the standard project development process, and other Corps activities and authorities.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Global Climate Change: Three Policy Perspectives

Global Climate Change: Three Policy Perspectives

Date: November 26, 2008
Creator: Parker, Larry & Blodgett, John
Description: The 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change requires that signatories, including the United States, establish policies for constraining future emission levels of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2). The George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush Administrations each drafted action plans in response to requirements of the convention. These plans have raised significant controversy and debate. This report examines three starting points from which a U.S. response to the convention is being framed.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The World Bank's Clean Technology Fund (CTF)

The World Bank's Clean Technology Fund (CTF)

Date: November 24, 2008
Creator: Weiss, Martin A. & Logan, Jeffrey
Description: The United States Treasury has led efforts to create a $10 billion Clean Technology Fund (CTF), located at the World Bank, to help fund deployment of clean technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing economies. The Bush administration has asked Congress to authorize and appropriate U.S. funding of $2 billion over three years (FY2009 to FY2011). While many Members of Congress have expressed support for the CTF, others have raised concerns, primarily with respect to whether the CTF should finance carbon-based energy projects. To date, Congress has not passed legislation authorizing or appropriating U.S. contributions to the Fund.
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Military Base Closures: Cleanup of Contaminated Properties for Civilian Reuse

Military Base Closures: Cleanup of Contaminated Properties for Civilian Reuse

Date: November 19, 2008
Creator: Bearden, David M.
Description: In 2005, the 109th Congress approved a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. As the Department of Defense (DOD) implements the new round, issues for Congress include the pace and costs of closing and realigning the selected installations and the impacts on surrounding communities. The disposal of surplus property has stimulated interest among affected communities in how the land can be redeveloped to replace jobs lost as a result of the planned closures. Environmental contamination can limit the potential for economic redevelopment if the availability of funding or technological capabilities constrains the degree of cleanup needed to make the land suitable for its intended use.
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Water Infrastructure Projects Designated in EPA Appropriations: Trends and Policy Implications

Water Infrastructure Projects Designated in EPA Appropriations: Trends and Policy Implications

Date: November 17, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses appropriations for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water infrastructure programs, focusing on congressional special project designations in the account that funds these programs. While some Members of Congress, interest groups, and Administration officials are critical of these types of congressional actions, there is little indication that the practice will cease. Information on the programmatic history of EPA involvement in assisting wastewater treatment and drinking water projects also is provided in two appendixes.
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Drilling in the Great Lakes: Background and Issues

Drilling in the Great Lakes: Background and Issues

Date: November 11, 2008
Creator: Sheikh, Pervaze A.; Humphries, Marc; Ramseur, Jonathan L. & Vann, Adam
Description: This report provides background information on historical and current drilling practices in the Great Lakes, and statistics on oil and natural gas production, where data are available. It describes state laws regarding drilling in the Great Lakes and analyzes the environmental, socioeconomic, and legal aspects of drilling in or under the Great Lakes.
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Climate Change Legislation in the 110th Congress

Climate Change Legislation in the 110th Congress

Date: November 7, 2008
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L. & Yacobucci, Brent D.
Description: This report briefly discusses the basic concepts on which climate change bills are based, and compares major provisions of the bills in each of the following categories: climate change research; emissions reduction technologies; U.S. actions pursuant to international emission reduction agreements; adaptation to the effects of climate change; GHG reporting and registration; and GHG emissions reduction programs.
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Environmental Activities of the U.S. Coast Guard

Environmental Activities of the U.S. Coast Guard

Date: November 3, 2008
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Description: The U.S. Coast Guard's (USCG's) environmental activities focus on prevention programs, accompanied by enforcement and educational activities. An important component is maritime oil spill prevention, which includes inspection of U.S. and foreign-flagged ships to ensure compliance with U.S. laws and international agreements, as well as reduce the impact of oil and hazardous substances spills. Another prevention effort, minimizing marine debris, addresses commercial items as well as trash from recreational fishing and boating.
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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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Natural Gas Passenger Vehicles: Availability, Cost, and Performance

Natural Gas Passenger Vehicles: Availability, Cost, and Performance

Date: October 20, 2008
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D.
Description: Higher gasoline prices and concerns over U.S. oil dependence have raised interest in natural gas vehicles (NGVs). Use of NGVs for personal transportation has focused on compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative to gasoline. Consumer interest has grown, both for new NGVs as well as for conversions of existing personal vehicles to run on CNG. This report finds that the market for natural gas vehicles will likely remain limited unless the differential between natural gas and gasoline prices remains high in order to offset the higher purchase price for an NGV. Conversions of existing vehicles will also continue to be restricted unless the Clean Air Act (CAA) is amended or if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) makes changes to its enforcement of the CAA.
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Are Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rising More Rapidly Than Expected?

Are Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rising More Rapidly Than Expected?

Date: October 17, 2008
Creator: Leggett, Jane A. & Logan, Jeffrey
Description: This report discusses the recent emissions estimates with the greenhouse gas (GHG) and addresses the question, are carbon dioxide emissions rising more rapidly than expected?
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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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The Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields Program: Scope, Authorities, and Implementation

The Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields Program: Scope, Authorities, and Implementation

Date: October 7, 2008
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Description: The federal role in assisting states and communities to clean up brownfield sites -- real property affected by the potential presence of environmental contamination -- has been an ongoing issue for more than a decade. While there appears to be a broad consensus that a federal role in the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields is desirable, issues regarding the degree of financial assistance and overall program effectiveness have been raised.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Administering Green Programs in Congress: Issues and Options

Administering Green Programs in Congress: Issues and Options

Date: October 6, 2008
Creator: Straus, Jacob R.
Description: This report discusses "green" programs and the higher profile they have gained in the 110th Congress. "Green" programs are those designed to create an environmentally friendly work environment and conserve energy. This report discusses initiatives and policy options that would improve the "greening" process on Capitol Hill.
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EPA's Final Health and Safety Standard for Yucca Mountain

EPA's Final Health and Safety Standard for Yucca Mountain

Date: October 6, 2008
Creator: Gitlin, Bonnie C.
Description: This report discusses the awaited revision of the 2001 Public Health and Safety Standard for the proposed Yucca Mountain deep geologic repository, high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.
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Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Date: October 3, 2008
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
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Do Not Mail Initiatives and Their Potential Effects: Possible Issues for Congress

Do Not Mail Initiatives and Their Potential Effects: Possible Issues for Congress

Date: September 24, 2008
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy
Description: This report examines the state level initiatives to create Do Not Mail (DNM) registries, and analyzes their potential effects on the environment and the economy should they be implemented. It also notes, but does not exhaustively analyze, possible constitutional impediments to state DNM registries. In addition, the report reviews existing methods to reduce or eliminate the delivery of unsolicited advertising mail. This report concludes with federal legislative options that could affect direct mail marketing.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
National Environmental Education Act of 1990: Overview, Implementation, and Issues for Congress

National Environmental Education Act of 1990: Overview, Implementation, and Issues for Congress

Date: September 22, 2008
Creator: Bearden, David M.
Description: This report summarizes major provisions of the National Environmental Education Act of 1990, discusses appropriations for activities authorized in that statute, examines the implementation of these activities, and analyzes key issues and relevant legislation.
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Clean Water Act: Legislation Concerning Discharges from Recreational Boats

Clean Water Act: Legislation Concerning Discharges from Recreational Boats

Date: September 17, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: 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.
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Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Date: September 11, 2008
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA's Regulatory Program

Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA's Regulatory Program

Date: August 26, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses the EPA's federally-mandated program for controlling stormwater discharges from industrial plants and municipalities.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations

Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations

Date: August 19, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: 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.
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Nanotechnology and Environmental, Health, and Safety: Issues for Consideration

Nanotechnology and Environmental, Health, and Safety: Issues for Consideration

Date: August 6, 2008
Creator: Sargent, John F.
Description: This report identifies the potential environmental, health, and safety opportunities and challenges of nanotechnology; explains the importance of addressing nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety (EHS) concerns; identifies and discusses nanotechnology EHS issues; and summarizes options for Congressional action, including the nanotechnology EHS-related provisions of selected legislation. The report also includes two appendices.
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