Congressional Research Service Reports - 357 Matching Results

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Clean Air Act Issues in the 115th Congress: In Brief
This report discusses issues regarding the EPA and its regulations of greenhouse gas emissions and air quality standards under the Clean Air Act and various court proceedings and Congressional and executive discussions related to them.
Reid Vapor Pressure Requirements for Ethanol
This report discusses legislation (H.R. 1311, S. 517) regarding providing a waiver for ethanol-fuel blends containing greater than 10% ethanol (E15) from the Clean Air Act's (CAA) strict requirements on volatility of gasoline. This requirement currently prevents E15 gas from being sold during the summer. Major points of the legislation, various types of waivers and current rules under the CAA for gasoline and possible options for Congress are discussed.
EPA Proposes to Repeal the Clean Power Plan
This report discuses the EPA proposal in October 2017 to repeal the "Clean Power Plan" due to their determination after review of the rule that it exceeded their statutory authority to implement it. Steps in the process of repealing the rule, the outcome of the current court case regarding the rule, and possible replacement rules regarding Carbon dioxide emissions and power plants.
U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Trends and Projections: Role of the Clean Power Plan and Other Factors
This report examines recent trends in U.S. GHG emissions, particularly CO2 emissions from electricity generation, and the factors that impact emission levels in that sector. In addition, this report examines the degree to which CPP implementation (or lack thereof) may impact CO2 emission levels from electric power plants. The first section provides an overview of various sources of GHG emissions in the United States. This includes an overview of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and a closer look at CO2 emissions from electricity generation, which account for the second largest percentage of CO2 emission from fossil fuel combustion (1% percentage point behind the transportation sector). The second section examines projections of CO2 emissions in the electric power sector, with a particular focus on the role of the CPP and other factors. The final section highlights the challenges in making CO2 emission projections with a comparison of actual CO2 emissions with prior emission forecasts.
Reconsidering the Clean Power Plan
This report provides background on the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and its proposed repeal, describes the administrative steps that are required to repeal or amend a rule, and discusses how the CPP and its proposed repeal fit into the context of recent and projected power sector evolution.
Methane and Other Air Pollution Issues in Natural Gas Systems
This report provides information on the natural gas industry and the types and sources of air pollutants in the sector. It examines the role of the federal government in regulating these emissions, including the provisions in the Clean Air Act and other statutes, and EPA's and other agencies' regulatory activities. It concludes with a brief discussion of a number of issues under debate, including: defining the roles of industry and local, state, and federal governments; establishing comprehensive emissions data; determining the proper control of pollutants and sources; understanding the human health and environmental impacts of emissions; and estimating the costs of pollution abatement. Recent action by President Trump and the courts regarding EPA and BLM air pollution rules are also discussed.
EPA Proposes to Repeal the Clean Power Act
This report discusses the EPA's proposal to repeal the Obama Administration's 2015 rule "Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units (EGUs)" commonly known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP). It includes information about the legal basis for the repeal, process, possible challenges and impacts, as well as actions that Congress might take.
Clean Air Act Issues in the 115th Congress: In Brief
This report discusses the reviews of EPA policies regarding new rules created in 2015 regarding emission of greenhouse gases and ozone air pollution. The new regulations were put in force through authority given to the EPA in the Clean Air Acts of 1970, 1977, and 1990. Some Congressional members would like to revoke some of the authority of the EPA to change existing emission regulations and instead require Congressional approval for changes which along with the new presidential administration has prompted a review of environmental policies and EPA powers.
Methane and Other Air Pollution Issues in Natural Gas Systems
This report provides information on the natural gas industry and the types and sources of air pollutants in the sector. It examines the role of the federal government in regulating these emissions, including the provisions in the Clean Air Act and other statutes, and EPA's and other agencies' regulatory activities. It concludes with a brief discussion of a number of issues under debate, including: defining the roles of industry and local, state, and federal governments; establishing comprehensive emissions data; determining the proper control of pollutants and sources; understanding the human health and environmental impacts of emissions; and estimating the costs of pollution abatement.
Climate Change Litigation Update: "Children's Crusade" Case Against the United States Goes Forward
This report discusses the case of "Juliana v. United States" which was brought by a group of 21 individuals all under the age of 20 organized through an Oregon nonprofit called Our Children's Trust. The plaintiffs seek to compel the federal government to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through appeals to the Constitution and common law.
U.S. Climate Change Regulation and Litigation: Selected Legal Issues
This report provides a brief history of U.S. climate change regulation, reviews the different types of regulation and legal actions that have been pursued in the national debate over greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, examines selected legal issues and next steps in related litigation, and addresses what these legal and regulatory developments mean for Congress. President Trump's Executive Order of March 28, 2017 requiring agencies to reconsider their policies related to climate change is also discussed.
EPA's 20115 Ozone Air Quality Standards
This report discusses the EPA's standard-setting process for National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the specifics of the most recent reviews, and issues raised by the 2015 rulemaking, which lowered the allowed levels of ozone pollution in the air, and its implementation.
Methane and Other Air Pollution Issues in Natural Gas Systems
This report discusses the natural gas supply chain that contributes to air pollution in several ways, including (1) the leaking, venting, and combustion of natural gas in the course of production operations; and (2) the combustion of other fossil fuel resources or other emissions during associated operations.
Methane: An Introduction to Emission Sources and Reduction Strategies
This report discusses the "Climate Action Plan" (CAP) announced by President Obama to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs), as well as to encourage adaptation to expected climate change.
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) in the United States
This report provides a summary and analysis of the current state of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) in the United States and current legislation and funding related to the CCS process and the regulation of air pollution and greenhouse gases.
U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emission Trends and the Role of the Clean Power Plan
This report examines recent trends in U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions -- particularly CO2 emissions from electricity generation -- and the factors that impact emission levels in that sector. In addition, this report examines the degree to which Clean Power Plan (CPP) implementation (or lack thereof) may impact CO2 emission levels from electric power plants.
Key Historical Court Decisions Shaping EPA's Program Under the Clean Air Act
This report provides a selective overview of court decisions that historically have most shaped the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) program under the Clean Air Act (CAA).
EPA's Mid-Term Evaluation of Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards
This report discusses the standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for new light-duty vehicles.
Federal Citations to the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases
This report compiles a table of Federal Register notices related to federal regulatory actions that specifically cite the social cost of carbon (SC-CO2), SC-CH4 (social cost of methane), SC-N2O (social cost of nitrous oxide), or SC-GHG (social cost of greehnouse gases).
Automakers Seek to Align Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Regulations
This report briefly discusses proposed regulatory changes to revise federal fuel economy and environmental standards and reduce potentially large penalties. The technical proposals would be the first major structural change in these standards since 2012, and they come at a time when federal agencies are undertaking a regulatory review that may result in far greater changes.
Paris Agreement: United States, China Move to Become Parties to Climate Change Treaty
This report discusses the Paris agreement, which was negotiated under the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and where President Obama and China's President Xi Jinping synchronously deposited their nations' signed instruments with U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon.
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides a series of frequently-asked questions with answers regarding the Clean Power Plan and related litigation. On August 3, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated standards for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing fossil-fuel-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA); the rule, known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), appeared in the Federal Register on October 23, 2015.
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.
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report summarizes the issues the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encountered when developing regulations for "carbon pollution" from existing power plants as part of the Clean Power Plan, and describes how the EPA resolved these issues.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Lessons Learned and Issues for Congress
The first section of this report provides an overview of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, pronounced "Reggie") cap-and-trade program and the participating RGGI states. The subsequent sections discuss selected issues raised by RGGI that may be of interest to Congress. The final section provides some final observations that may be instructive to policymakers.
Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles
This report briefly discusses the second phase of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles jointly proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on July 13, 2015.
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.
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report summarizes the issues the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encountered when developing regulations for "carbon pollution" from existing power plants as part of the Clean Power Plan. The report describes how the EPA resolved these issues.
Cars, Trucks, and Climate: EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources
This report focuses on EPA's completed and potential actions to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from mobile sources, relying on the authorities in Title II of the Clean Air Act (CAA). We begin with a brief discussion of the petitions and court action that led to EPA's regulatory decisions.
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report summarizes the Clean Power Plan rule as it was finalized on August 3, 2015, before discussing how the ongoing litigation may potentially impact the rule and its deadlines. EPA faced a number of issues and questions while developing the regulations. This report describes how EPA answered these and other questions.
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.
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.
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.
Volkswagen, Defeat Devices, and the Clean Air Act: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides answers to a series of frequently asked questions focusing on a description of modern diesel technologies, their market and emissions profiles, and some potential reasons that could underlie the use of defeat devices. It summarizes the specific allegations filed against VW under the Clean Air Act, the current status of federal and state investigations, and the potential civil and criminal penalties. Further, the report introduces several outstanding issues currently under debate regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) resources and activities, and issues surrounding VW's defeat device.
EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?
This report provides background information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory activity during the Obama Administration. It examines major or controversial regulatory actions since January 2009, providing details on the regulatory action itself, presenting an estimated timeline for completion of rules not yet promulgated (including related court or statutory deadlines), and, in general, providing EPA's estimates of costs and benefits, where available. The report includes tables for rules under development, and an appendix that describes major or controversial rules that are now final.
Global Climate Change
This report briefly reviews the status of climate science, international negotiations, and congressional activity focused specifically on climate change.
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report summarizes the issues the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encountered when developing regulations for "carbon pollution" from existing power plants as part of the Clean Power Plan. The report describes how the EPA resolved these issues. In addition to discussing details of the Clean Power Plan, the report addresses the EPA's authority under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act (CAA), the EPA's previous experience using that authority, and other background questions. The report discusses the ongoing litigation in which a number of states and other entities have challenged the rule, while other states and entities have intervened in support of the rule. It also discusses challenges to the rule under the Congressional Review Act and other options that Congress has to influence the EPA's action.
Ozone Air Quality Standards: EPA's 2015 Revision
This report discusses the standard-setting process, the specifics of the most recent reviews, and issues raised by the final rulemaking for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. The rule sets more stringent standards, lowering both the primary (health-based) and secondary (welfare-based) standards from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb.
Methane Capture: Options for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction
This report discusses alternatives for addressing methane capture, sources of methane, opportunities and challenges for methane capture, and current federal programs that support methane recovery.
An Overview of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Control Policies in Various Countries
This report summarizes the GHG control policies in effect or under consideration in the European Union (EU) and various other large countries, and offers a brief set of initial observations. It gives particular emphasis to how particular trade sensitive sectors may be treated in the context of each national program.
Air Quality and Transportation Enhancement Provisions in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991
This report describes how the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program (CMAQ) and enhancement programs function, examines the policy issues surrounding them, and summarizes relevant provisions in major legislation to reauthorize ISTEA in the 105th 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, 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, 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.
Key Historical Court Decisions Shaping EPA’s Program Under the Clean Air Act
This report provides a selective overview of court decisions that historically have most shaped EPA’s program under the Clean Air Act (CAA).
Air Pollution: Legal Perspectives on the “Routine Maintenance” Exception to New Source Review
The report surveys the original legal landscape surrounding this exemption – in the contexts of determining applicability of New Source Performance Standards, and New Source Review in Prevention of Significant Deterioration and nonattainment areas. It then summarizes the many significant developments during the current Bush Administration, both in the Federal Register and in the courts.
Regulation of Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions: State and Federal Standards
This report discusses the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards (including tighter standards enacted under P.L. 110-140) and compares them with the GHG standards under California’s law. It also identifies some factors that would have a bearing on the relative stringency of CAFE and the California program.
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.
Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards
This report discusses the gas emission and fuel standards for tier 3 motor vehicle. Emission requirements for new motor vehicles have been strengthened numerous times since the first federal rulemaking took effect in 1968.
Clean Air Act Issues in the 110th Congress: Implementation and Oversight
This report provides a discussion of several interrelated air issues of interest in the 110th Congress, including revision of the particulate standards, the role of independent scientific review in the setting of air quality standards, multi-pollutant legislation for electric power plants, mercury from power plants, and New Source Review. This report provides an overview of these issues; CRS reports that contain additional information and detailed sources are referenced in the appropriate sections.