Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Air Quality Standards and Sound Science: What Role for CASAC?
This report discusses the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which are standards that define what EPA considers to be clean air. Their importance stems from the long and complicated implementation process that is set in motion by their establishment.
Particulate Matter Air Quality Standards: Background and Current Developments
Following a brief summary of recent developments regarding the implementation and re-evaluation of the 1997 standards, this report provides a broad overview of the standard-setting process, followed by a description of revisions to earlier standards, legal challenges to the 1997 standard, and particulate matter health effects research. EPA’s ongoing progress in reviewing the 1997 standard is then summarized. Other activities that potentially impact the implementation and review of the particulate matter standards, such as other air quality regulations and proposed legislation, are also discussed in this report.
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced?
This report provides an overview of the statutory framework, key players, infrastructure, resources, tools, and operations associated with enforcement and compliance of the major pollution control laws and regulations administered by EPA. It also outlines the roles of federal (including regional offices) and state regulators, as well as the regulated community.
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced?
This report provides an overview of the statutory framework, key players, infrastructure, resources, tools, and operations associated with enforcement and compliance of the major pollution control laws and regulations administered by EPA. It also outlines the roles of federal (including regional offices) and state regulators, as well as the regulated community.
Global Environment Facility (GEF): Overview
The report provides an overview regarding the establishment and the role of Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Clean Air Permitting: Status of Implementation and Issues
This report describes the statutory background of the Title V program and the status of implementation, in terms of federal approval of state and local permitting authorities and permit issuance. It also discusses broad policy issues identified by various stakeholders, including program complexity and costs, and inconsistencies due to a lack of sufficient federal guidance.
Clean Air Permitting: Status of Implementation and Issues
This report describes the statutory background of the Title V program and the status of implementation, in terms of federal approval of state and local permitting authorities and permit issuance. It also discusses broad policy issues identified by various stakeholders, including program complexity and costs, and inconsistencies due to a lack of sufficient federal guidance.
Air Quality: EPA's 2006 Changes to the Particulate Matter (PM) Standard
On October 17, 2006,3 the EPA published its revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulates to provide protection against potential health effects associated with short- and long-term exposure to particulate matter (including chronic respiratory disease and premature mortality). In order to better understand EPA's actions, this report provides an analysis of the agency's final 2006 revisions to the particulates NAAQS, and the estimated costs and benefits of the new standards and of more stringent alternatives analyzed.
Global Environment Facility (GEF): Overview
This report discusses the Global Environment Facility (GEF), serves as a primary source of funding for several major international environmental concerns. It was designed to provide incremental additional funding for development projects, in order to allow incorporation of environmental considerations in four specified areas: climate change, ozone depletion, biological diversity, and international waters. In recent years, land degradation and persistent organic pollutants have been added to its agenda. The GEF has provided funding to more than 1,300 projects in 140 nations. Although the United States has participated in the GEF since its inception, its level of contributions to the GEF has varied widely, from $30 million in 1994 to a high of $167 million in 1999, and to $80 million in 2006.
Air Quality and Emissions Trading: A Primer
This report briefly discusses the extent to which emissions trading has been used in the United States, explains how trading programs work, analyzes factors that can influence the effectiveness of trading, and examines some of the principal arguments related to the use of trading to control air pollution.
Air Quality: EPA’s 2006 Changes to the Particulate Matter (PM) Standard
In order to better understand EPA’s actions, this report provides an analysis of the agency’s final 2006 revisions to the particulates NAAQS, and the estimated costs and benefits of the new standards and of a more stringent alternatives analyzed. The report concludes by highlighting concerns and issues raised regarding the revisions to the particulates standards, including those of the science advisory committee (Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, or CASAC), and actions in Congress.
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)
This report discusses carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), but not other types of carbon sequestration activities whereby CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored in vegetation, soils, or oceans.
Climate Change: Potential Regulation of Stationary Greenhouse Gas Sources Under the Clean Air Act
This report discusses the EPA's authority to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act, and the various options that EPA could exercise.
Ozone Air Quality Standards: EPA's 2007 Proposed Changes
This report provides background on the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), the process used to establish them, the existing ozone standard, and EPA's proposal, as well as information regarding the potential effects of any revision to the standard.
Clean Air Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
This report summarizes the Clean Air Act and its major regulatory requirements. It describes the Act's major provisions and provides tables listing all major amendments, with the year of enactment and Public Law number, and crossreferencing sections of the Act with the major U.S. Code sections of the codified statute.
Greenhouse Gas Reduction: Cap-and-Trade Bills in the 110th Congress
This report discusses the Cap-and-Trade Bills in the 110th Congress which are meant to advance market-based greenhouse gas reduction programs, similar to the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. The report presents a side-by-side comparison of the major provision in each of the bills and includes a glossary of common terms.
Costs and Benefits of Clear Skies: EPA's Analysis of Multi-Pollutant Clean Air Bills
This report examines EPA's analysis and adjusts some of its assumptions to reflect current regulations. The most important adjustment is the choice of baseline. The agency’s analysis assumes as a baseline that, in the absence of new federal legislation, EPA and the states will take no additional action to control SO2, NOx, Hg, or CO2 emissions beyond those actions finalized by mid-2004. This baseline is put forth despite three rules recently promulgated by EPA that limit SO2, NOx, and Hg emissions on a timeframe similar to that proposed by the Clear Skies legislation.
Clean Air and New Source Review: Defining Routine Maintenance
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) final rule on clarifying the definition of routine maintenance under its New Source Review (NSR) process exempts industrial facilities from undergoing NSR if they are replacing safety, reliability, and efficiency rated components with new, functionally equivalent equipment and if the cost of the replacement components is under 20 percent of the replacement value of the process unit.
Market-Based Greenhouse Gas Control: Selected Proposals in the 111th Congress
This report discusses several legislative proposals that would control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The proposals offered to date would employ market-based approaches--either a cap-and-trade or carbon tax system, or some combination thereof--to reduce GHG emissions.
Aviation and Climate Change
This report provides background on aviation emissions and the factors affecting them; it discusses the tools available to control emissions, including existing authority under the Clean Air Act and proposed economy-wide cap-and-trade legislation; and it examines international regulatory developments that may affect U.S. commercial airlines.
Estimates of Carbon Mitigation Potential from Agricultural and Forestry Activities
The report is organized into three parts. The first provides a brief overview of the role of the agriculture and forestry sectors within the broader climate change debate, describing available estimates of current GHG emissions and carbon sequestration in the farm and forestry sectors. The second describes available data and information on the potential for carbon storage (tonnage) by type of farming and forestry activity, and presents available estimates of the carbon sequestration potential in these sectors. The final part discusses some of the limitations of available estimates of GHG mitigation potential in the agriculture and forestry sectors, focusing on recent policy and market changes and other types of modeling uncertainties that could limit the accuracy of available mitigation projections.
Estimates of Carbon Mitigation Potential from Agricultural and Forestry Activities
This report presents a brief overview of the available estimates from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carbon mitigation studies, and then discusses some of the limitations of the available data and modeling results. It includes informationa bout estimated current emissions and sequestration, estimated addtional potential sequestration, limitations of mitigation potential estimates, and considerations for Congress.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, intended to produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress
Climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a continuing issue in the 109th Congress. Bills directly addressing climate change issues range from those focused primarily on climate change research to comprehensive emissions cap-and-trade programs. Additional bills focus on GHG reporting and registries, or on power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, as part of wider controls on pollutant emissions. The bills vary in their approaches to climate change issues. This report briefly discusses the basic concepts on which these bills are based and compares major provisions of the bills in each of the following categories: climate change research, technology deployment, GHG reporting and registries, and emissions reduction programs.
Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress
Climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a continuing issue in the 109th Congress. Bills directly addressing climate change issues range from those focused primarily on climate change research to comprehensive emissions cap-and-trade programs. Additional bills focus on GHG reporting and registries, or on power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, as part of wider controls on pollutant emissions. The bills vary in their approaches to climate change issues. This report briefly discusses the basic concepts on which these bills are based and compares major provisions of the bills in each of the following categories: climate change research, technology deployment, GHG reporting and registries, and emissions reduction programs.
Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress
Climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a continuing issue in the 109th Congress. Bills directly addressing climate change issues range from those focused primarily on climate change research to comprehensive emissions cap-and-trade programs. Additional bills focus on GHG reporting and registries, or on power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, as part of wider controls on pollutant emissions. The bills vary in their approaches to climate change issues. This report briefly discusses the basic concepts on which these bills are based and compares major provisions of the bills in each of the following categories: climate change research, technology deployment, GHG reporting and registries, and emissions reduction programs.
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: Implementation Issues
No Description Available.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
From an environmental quality standpoint, much of the interest in animal agriculture has focused on impacts on water resources, because animal waste, if not properly managed, can harm water quality through surface runoff, direct discharges, spills, and leaching into soil and groundwater. A more recent issue is the contribution of emissions from animal feeding operations (AFO), enterprises where animals are raised in confinement, to air pollution. AFOs can affect air quality through emissions of gases such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants, and odor. These pollutants and compounds have a number of environmental and human health effects. This report reviews key issues associated with the Air Compliance Agreement.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, intended to produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Climate Change: EU and Proposed U.S. Approaches to Carbon Leakage and WTO Implications
This report discusses climate change and issues related to carbon leakage by examining the European Union's (EU's) cap-and-trade program with a review and analysis of various EU efforts to address the concerns of energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries. Additionally, it considers similar provisions enacted or proposed by the U.S. and analyzes potential World Trade Organization (WTO) implications in relation to U.S. trade agreements.
Carbon Sequestration in Forests
This report examines basic questions concerning carbon sequestration in forests. The first section provides a brief background on congressional interest in forest carbon sequestration. The second describes the basic carbon cycle in forests, with an overview of how carbon cycling and storage vary among different types of forests. The third section then addresses how forest carbon is considered in the global climate change debate.
Carbon Tax and Greenhouse Gas Control: Options and Considerations for Congress
This report begins with an overview of the fundamental choices involved between a cost (tax) and a quantity (cap) control instrument. This includes a discussion of policy tools that could be employed to bridge the gap between a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade program. Following this overview, the report analyzes the potential advantages and disadvantages of a carbon tax. In many cases, carbon tax attributes are compared with those of a cap-and-trade program. The next section discusses implementation issues for a carbon tax, including where to apply the tax, at what level to set the tax, and options for distributing the tax revenues. The final section provides conclusions.
Cruise Ship Pollution: Background, Laws and Regulations, and Key Issues
This report describes the several types of waste streams that cruise ships may discharge and emit. It identifies the complex body of international and domestic laws that address pollution from cruise ships. It then describes federal and state legislative activity concerning cruise ships in Alaskan waters and activities in a few other states, as well as current industry initiatives to manage cruise ship pollution.
Climate Change: Current Issues and Policy Tools
This report introduces the reader to fundamentals of the climate change issue. Part One summarizes current understandings and controversies concerning the science, economics, international cooperation, and other aspects of the climate change policy problem. Part Two is a brief update on the status of domestic and international policies. Part Three outlines the policy toolbox seen as being available to policymakers to address the challenge as they define the emerging legislative agenda.
Capturing CO2 from Coal-Fired Power Plants: Challenges for a Comprehensive Strategy
This report examines the current effort to develop technology that would capture CO2. First, the paper outlines the current status of carbon capture technology. Second, the paper examines the role of government in developing that technology, both in terms of creating a market for carbon capture technology and encouraging development of the technology. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion of implications of capture technology for climate change legislation.
Clean Air After the CAIR Decision: Back to Square One?
This report discusses three Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) long-term options in regard to Clean Air: (1) starting anew with a new strategy with respect to mitigating transported air pollution based on the decision; (2) allowing the states to sort out the issue through Section 126 petitions; and (3) seeking new legislation providing EPA with the statutory authority to implement either CAIR in some form, or an alternative.
Cars and Climate: What Can EPA Do to Control Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources?
This report discusses legislation being considered by congress to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change. It discusses the EPA's authority under Title II and provides information regarding the mobile sources that might be regulated under this authority. Among these sources, motor vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks, including SUVs) are assumed to be the most likely initial targets for regulation, both because a petition addressing these sources began EPA's consideration of the endangerment issue, and because these are the most significant GHG emission sources among those covered by Title II.
Revising the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Lead
This report provides background on the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), the process used to establish the standards, the factors leading to the reduction in lead emissions, and the proposed changes to the lead standard, as well as information regarding the potential effects of any revision.
Capturing CO2 from Coal-Fired Power Plants: Challenges for a Comprehensive Strategy
This report examines the current effort to develop technology that would capture CO2 (carbon dioxide). It outlines the current status of carbon capture technology; examines the role of government in developing that technology, both in terms of creating a market for carbon capture technology and encouraging development of the technology; and concludes with a discussion of implications of capture technology for climate change legislation.
Carbon Tax and Greenhouse Gas Control: Options and Considerations for Congress
This report provides an overview of the fundamental choices involved between a cost (tax) and a quantity (cap) control instrument, including a discussion of policy tools that could be employed to bridge the gap between a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade program. It also analyzes the potential advantages and disadvantages of a carbon tax, discusses implementation issues for a carbon tax -- including where to apply the tax, at what level to set the tax, and options for distributing the tax revenues-- and provides conclusions.
Global Climate Change
This report discusses different perspectives used to consider issues related to the global climate change and issues related to the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 1997 Kyoto Agreement.
Are Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rising More Rapidly Than Expected?
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?
Global Climate Change: A Survey of Scientific Research and Policy Reports
This report is intended to guide the reader through U.S. global climate change policy from the passage of the National Climate Program Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-367) through the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, where the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) was opened for signatures. It offers a summary of scientific research on global climate change and related U.S. policy and identifies what many consider to be important milestones in the international policy debate on global climate change.