Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

ABOUT BROWSE FEED

Climate Change Litigation: A Survey

Description: This report focuses on the legal debate surrounding climate change. Though the first court decision related to climate change appeared 19 years ago, such litigation has proliferated in just the past six.
Date: April 15, 2009
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Commerce Clause as a Limit on Congressional Power to Protect the Environment

Description: Several times during the 1990s the Supreme Court struck down federal enactments as exceeding Congress' power under the Commerce Clause or Tenth Amendment. This report briefly reviews three of these decisions -- United States v. Lopez, New York v. United States, and Printz v. United States. Its focus, however, is how these cases have played out in subsequent lower-court challenges to federal environmental laws. The report shows that Supreme Court rulings in favor of these states notwithstanding, such laws have generally, though not always, been found within Commerce Clause and Tenth Amendment limits.
Date: March 12, 1999
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutional Bounds on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment

Description: This report reviews five newly-emergent constitutional areas related to environmental issues, based on Supreme Court decisions. For each area, the focus is its significance for current and future federal environmental legislation.
Date: December 18, 2002
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutional Constraints on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment

Description: Federal protection of the environment must hew to the same constitutional strictures as any other federal actions. In the past decade, however, the Supreme Court has invigorated several of these strictures in ways that present new challenges to congressional drafters of environmental statutes. This report reviews six of these newly emergent constitutional areas, with special attention to their significance for current and future environmental legislation.
Date: September 8, 2000
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Endangered Species Act and Private Property

Description: If the 103rd Congress embarks upon an effort to reauthorize the Endangered Species Act (ESA), it will run into an old acquaintance: the property rights issue. As now written, the ESA has at least the potential to curtail property rights (whatever its actual impact as implemented may be). This report explores the legal repercussions of those impacts, especially whether they constitute takings of property under the fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Date: March 7, 1993
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Environmental Opinions of Judge Samuel Alito

Description: This report is based on a review of all the reported environmental decisions of the Third Circuit in which Judge Alito was on the three-judge panel that initially decided the case, or in the en banc group of judges that heard the case on review of the panel decision. It does not confine itself, as did the recently reported Washington Post study, to Third Circuit opinions in which there was a dissent.2 We construe “environmental” broadly to include insurance coverage, Fourth Amendment, and other issues arising in an environmental context — and included 34 decisions in our review.
Date: January 6, 2006
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court's Climate Change Decision in Massachusetts v. EPA: A Chronology

Description: This report offers a chronology of major federal agency actions, mainly by EPA, that involve GHGs or climate change and that occurred in the wake of Massachusetts v. EPA, a ruling that greenhouse gases are "air pollutants" via the Clean Air Act. As such, they are not under the EPA's jurisdiction.
Date: May 1, 2012
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Liability Exemptions in the Senate Brownfields Bill (S. 350)

Description: This report deals solely with the liability provisions of S. 350, found in Title II of the bill. (The manager’s amendment does not concern these.) These provisions cover three types of innocent parties: (1) owners of properties contaminated from contiguous properties, (2) prospective purchasers, and (3) innocent landowners.
Date: June 15, 2001
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Item Type: Report
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: December 10, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Wetlands Coverage of the Clean Water Act Is Revisited by the Supreme Court: Rapanos v. United States

Description: This report discusses the Supreme Court decision in Rapanos v. United States, which addressed the asserted jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over wetlands adjacent to "waters of the United States," the problematic phrase used by the Clean Water Act (CWA) to define the geographic scope of the act's wetlands permitting program.
Date: April 22, 2008
Creator: Meltz, Robert & Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Wetlands Coverage of the Clean Water Act is Revisited by the Supreme Court: Rapanos v. United States

Description: This report discusses the Supreme Court decision in Rapanos v. United States, which addressed the asserted jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over wetlands adjacent to "waters of the United States," the problematic phrase used by the Clean Water Act (CWA) to define the geographic scope of the act's wetlands permitting program.
Date: September 12, 2006
Creator: Meltz, Robert & Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Clean Air Standards: The Supreme Court Agrees to Review

Description: In May, 2000, the Supreme Court agreed to review this decision, raising the prospect of a major pronouncement on the non-delegation doctrine, the enforceability of the revised ozone standard, and the role of compliance costs in setting nationwide air quality standards.
Date: December 5, 2000
Creator: Meltz, Robert & McCarthy, James E.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department