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

Description: The Copenhagen conference in December 2009 achieved only mandates to continue negotiating toward the next Conference of the Parties (COP) to be held in Mexico City in December 2010. As a background to these proceedings, this document provides a U.S.-centric chronology of the international policy deliberations to address climate change from 1979-2009. Negotiations underway since 2007 have run on two tracks, the Kyoto Protocol the Convention under the Bali Action Plan. Many in the U.S. Congress are concerned with the goals and obligations that a treaty or other form of agreement might embody. For U.S. legislators, additional 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, with a view toward potential Senate ratification of the agreement and federal legislation to assure that U.S. commitments are met.
Date: January 7, 2010
Creator: Leggett, Jane A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for Disaster Response, Recovery, and Mitigation Projects

Description: This report discusses the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 as it applies to projects for which federal funding to recover from or prepare for a disaster has been requested by local, tribal, or state grant applicants.
Date: February 3, 2010
Creator: Luther, Linda
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress

Description: This report focuses on oil spills in U.S. coastal waters. The first section highlights background issues, including oil spill statistics and potential environmental impacts. The second section discusses the legal framework that governs oil spill prevention and response. The third section examines the threat of future oil spills in coastal waters and whether response personnel are prepared to respond to a major spill.
Date: April 30, 2010
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA): Liability of Responsible Parties

Description: The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) establishes a framework that addresses the liability of responsible parties in connection with the discharge of oil into the navigable waters of the United States, adjoining shorelines, or the exclusive economic zone. Among other provisions, OPA limits certain liabilities of a responsible party in connection with discharges of oil into such areas. This report addresses liability under OPA for removal costs and damages, and the basic procedure for recovering removal costs and damages from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in the event that the responsible party fails to settle such claims.
Date: June 2, 2010
Creator: Nichols, James E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases: Congressional Responses and Options

Description: This report discusses elements of the greenhouse gas (GHG) controversy, providing background on stationary sources of GHG pollution and identifying options Congress has at its disposal to address GHG issues, including: (1) resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act; (2) freestanding legislation; (3) the use of appropriations bills as a vehicle to influence EPA activity; and (4) amendments to the Clean Air Act, including legislation to establish a new GHG control regime.
Date: June 8, 2010
Creator: McCarthy, James E. & Parker, Larry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Environmental Considerations in Federal Procurement: An Overview of the Legal Authorities and Their Implementation

Description: This report discusses issues about the role of environmental considerations in federal procurement. These include: to what extent do agencies consider environmental factors when procuring goods or services? What legal authorities presently require or allow agencies to take environmental factors into account when acquiring goods or services?
Date: June 21, 2010
Creator: Manuel, Kate M. & Halchin, L. Elaine
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

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: 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

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

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