Congressional Research Service Reports - 38 Matching Results

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Litigation Seeking to Establish Climate Change Impacts as a Common Law Nuisance

Description: This report discusses recent legislative initiatives seeking to establish climate change impacts as a common law nuisance. The report explains what private and public nuisances are, the issues faced by policymakers when litigating a climate-change/nuisance suit, and also discusses five climate-chance/nuisance suits that are now or formerly active, as a basis of comparison. The report also explores arguments of those both for and against addressing the complex issue of climate change through common law suits.
Date: December 10, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Environmental Activities of the U.S. Coast Guard

Description: This report discusses the environmental activities of the U.S. Coast Guard, which fall within the service's program for protection of natural resources, and consist of maritime oil spill prevention, marine debris, and pollution response preparedness. Protection of living marine resources and fisheries also falls in this category, but is not discussed here. Marine environmental protection is one of six "non-homeland security missions" specified in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.
Date: December 6, 2010
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Litigation Seeking to Establish Climate Change Impacts as a Common Law Nuisance

Description: This report discusses recent legislative initiatives seeking to establish climate change impacts as a common law nuisance. The report explains what private and public nuisances are, the issues faced by policymakers when litigating a climate-change/nuisance suit, and also discusses five climate-chance/nuisance suits that are now or formerly active, as a basis of comparison. The report also explores arguments of those both for and against addressing the complex issue of climate change through common law suits.
Date: November 19, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

International Climate Change: A Negotiations Side-by-Side

Description: This report discusses various cooperative international efforts to address the issue of global climate change. The two major international agreements discussed in a side-by-side comparison are the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2010 Copenhagen Accord. The report discusses how many observers are hoping that initiatives carried out under the Copenhagen Accord may help bridge divides between the various tracks and economic groupings established under the Kyoto Protocol.
Date: November 18, 2010
Creator: Leggett, Jane A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

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.
Date: October 28, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened concerns about the region's future. Issues such as Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation, competition, or conflict. This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues.
Date: October 15, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response

Description: 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.
Date: October 15, 2010
Creator: Corn, M. Lynne & Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pesticide Use and Water Quality: Are the Laws Complementary or in Conflict?

Description: This report provides background on the conflict over interpretation and implementation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act. A brief discussion of the two laws is followed by a review of the major litigation of interest. EPA's efforts to clarify its policy in this area and the November 2006 rule and the 2009 federal court ruling are discussed, as well as possible options for EPA and Congress to further address the FIFRA-CWA issues. In June, EPA proposed a draft general CWA permit that it intends to finalize by April 2011 in response to the court ruling.
Date: October 13, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened concerns about the region's future. Issues such as Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation, competition, or conflict. This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues.
Date: October 8, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Environmental Laws: Summaries of Major Statutes Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency

Description: This report summarizes several federal statutes providing legal authority for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) programs and activities. These include: the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Ocean Dumping Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Solid Waste Disposal Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA), the Emergency Planning Act, and the Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
Date: October 8, 2010
Creator: Bearden, David M.; Copeland, Claudia; Luther, Linda; McCarthy, James E.; Schierow, Linda-Jo & Tiemann, Mary
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Army Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects: Authorization and Appropriations

Description: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attracts congressional attention because its projects can have significant local and regional economic benefits and environmental effects, in addition to their water resource development purposes. 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. It also includes an Appendix on the evolution of Corps civil works missions and authorities and a description of the limits on the Corps' role in levee accreditation and improvements for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Date: September 29, 2010
Creator: Carter, Nicole T. & Stern, Charles V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The Coast Guard's two heavy polar icebreakers - Polar Star and Polar Sea - have exceeded their intended 30-year service lives. Following a decision to design and build one or more new polar icebreakers, the first replacement polar icebreaker might enter service in eight to 10 years, by which time Polar Star and Polar Sea could be more than 40 years old. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify Coast Guard plans for modernizing its polar icebreakers. Congressional decisions on this issue could affect the Coast Guard's ability to perform its polar missions, Coast Guard funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Date: September 29, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Marine Protected Areas: An Overview

Description: Marine protected areas (MPAs) are generally defined as areas reserved by law or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment. This report identifies a number of issues related to establishing MPAs in the United States. It begins by defining the concept and administrative actions taken to provide spatial protection in marine areas. It then considers some of the key issues and potential benefits and costs of designating additional MPAs. It concludes by considering potential areas of congressional interest for the 111th Congress. Existing federal laws related to the use of MPAs are summarized in the Appendix.
Date: September 29, 2010
Creator: Upton, Harold E. & Buck, Eugene H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Regulating Coal Combustion Waste Disposal: Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides an overview of the current rulemaking for Coal combustion waste (CCW) and relevant background information that applies to that rulemaking. In particular, the report describes the nature of the waste itself and primary methods of managing it; discusses potential risks associated with its mismanagement, particularly as supported by new data EPA has gathered to support the proposed rulemaking; and provides an overview of EPA's current regulatory proposal.
Date: September 21, 2010
Creator: Luther, Linda
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background and Governance

Description: This report provides background information regarding oil spills in U.S. coastal waters and identifies the legal authorities governing oil spill prevention, response, and cleanup. Based on data between 1973 and 2009, the annual number and volume of oil spills have shown declines- in some cases, dramatic declines.
Date: September 2, 2010
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Civil and Criminal Penalties Possibly Applicable to Parties Responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Description: Since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill began on April 20, 2010, Congress has given much attention to the compensatory liability provisions of the Oil Pollution Act and, to a lesser extent, those of the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act. However, federal laws possibly relevant to the oil spill also impose civil and criminal money penalties, which may reach dollar amounts in connection with the Gulf spill greater than those for compensatory liability. This report summarizes selected federal civil and criminal penalty provisions that may be found violated in connection with the Gulf spill and related worker fatalities.
Date: August 16, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response

Description: 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.3 The emphasis is on the nearshore environment, though 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 in the years after the leak from the deepwater well is capped.
Date: August 5, 2010
Creator: Corn, M. Lynne & Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues. Congressional readers with questions about an issue discussed in this report should contact the author or authors of the section discussing that issue. The authors are identified by footnote at the start of each section.
Date: July 21, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response

Description: 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.
Date: July 7, 2010
Creator: Corn, M. Lynne & Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department