Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Clean Air After the CAIR Decision: Back to Square One?

Description: 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.
Date: July 22, 2008
Creator: McCarthy, James E.; Parker, Larry B. & Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cruise Ship Pollution: Background, Laws and Regulations, and Key Issues

Description: 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.
Date: July 1, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Clean Water Act: Legislation Concerning Discharges from Recreational Boats

Description: The Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to develop a regulatory response to a 2006 federal court ruling that vacated a long-standing rule that exempts discharges associated with the normal operation of vessels from permit requirements of the Clean Water Act. Concern that this ruling could require millions of recreational boaters to obtain permits has led to the introduction of legislation to exempt these and other types of vessels from water quality regulation. This report discusses background to the issue; bills introduced in response, two of which were passed by Congress on July 22; and draft permits proposed by EPA on June 17.
Date: June 19, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Global Climate Change: Status of Negotiations

Description: In December 2007, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held their 13th annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia, and began the process of working toward an agreement/treaty that would succeed the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC when it expires in 2012. The Protocol includes a mandate for a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 developed/industrialized nations to an average of some 5% below their 1990 levels over the commitment period 2008-2012. The broad array of these issues, briefly discussed in this report, has been described by some as comprising perhaps the most complex negotiations ever undertaken internationally.
Date: June 17, 2008
Creator: Fletcher, Susan R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Open Ocean Aquaculture

Description: This report discusses four general areas related to open ocean aquaculture: (1) operational and business-related challenges; (2) potential economic impacts; (3) potential environmental impacts; and (4) the legal and regulatory environment. It summarizes recent executive and legislative branch actions.
Date: June 12, 2008
Creator: Upton, Harold F. & Buck, Eugene H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): Fact Sheet on Three International Agreements

Description: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are chemicals that do not break down easily in the environment, tend to accumulate as they move up the food chain, and may be harmful to people and wildlife. Between 1998 and 2001, the United States signed tow international treaties and one executive agreement to reduce the production and use of POPs and to regulate the trade and disposal of them. This report discusses these treaties in detail, as well as their ratification process and U.S. statutes that are inconsistent with these treaties.
Date: June 12, 2008
Creator: Schierow, Linda-Jo
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Environmental Services Markets in the 2008 Farm Bill

Description: This report gives an overview of issues involved in the provisions of the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-234, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act). It includes a brief overview describing environmental services markets, benefits and barriers, recent Congressional action related to the topics, and possible considerations.
Date: June 10, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Environmental Activities of the U.S. Coast Guard

Description: The U.S. Coast Guard's (USCG's) environmental activities focus on prevention programs, accompanied by enforcement and educational activities. An important component is maritime oil spill prevention, which includes inspection of U.S. and foreign-flagged ships to ensure compliance with U.S. laws and international agreements, as well as reduce the impact of oil and hazardous substances spills. Another prevention effort, minimizing marine debris, addresses commercial items as well as trash from recreational fishing and boating.
Date: May 22, 2008
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions

Description: Perchlorate is the explosive component of solid rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares, and other products and is used heavily by the Department of Defense (DOD) and other industries. Perchlorate also occurs naturally. This compound has been detected in drinking water supplies, especially in California. It also has been found in milk and many foods. Because of this widespread occurrence, concern over the potential health risks of perchlorate exposure has increased, and some states and Member of Congress have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a drinking water standard for perchlorate. This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and developments.
Date: May 22, 2008
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Exemptions from Environmental Law for the Department of Defense

Description: Whether broader expansions from federal environmental laws are needed to preserve military readiness has been an issue. Questions have been raised as to whether environmental requirements have limited military training activities to the point that readiness would be compromised. The potential impacts of broader exemptions on environmental quality have raised additional questions. Although certain exemptions the Department of Defense (DOD) first requested in FY2003 have been enacted into law, Congress has opposed others. From FY2003 to FY2008, DOD requested exemptions from the Clean Air Act, Solid Waste Disposal Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. To date, Congress has not enacted these three latter exceptions. The Administration's FY2009 defense authorization bill does not include these exemptions.
Date: May 1, 2008
Creator: Bearden, David M.
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
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

California's Waiver Request to Control Greenhouse Gases Under the Clean Air Act

Description: This report reviews the nature of Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) authority, as well as that of California and other states, to regulate emissions from mobile sources. It includes a discussion fo the applicability of that authority to greenhouse gases (GHGs) and issues related to the California waiver request.
Date: March 4, 2008
Creator: McCarthy, James E. & Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: Program Overview and Issues

Description: This report discusses the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996, which authorized a drinking water state revolving loan fund (DWSRF) program to help public water systems finance infrastructure projects needed to comply with federal drinking water regulations and to protect public health.
Date: February 22, 2008
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Open Ocean Aquaculture

Description: This report discusses four general areas related to open ocean aquaculture: (1) operational and business-related challenges; (2) potential economic impacts; (3) potential environmental impacts; and (4) the legal and regulatory environment. It summarizes recent executive and legislative branch actions.
Date: February 12, 2008
Creator: Upton, Harold F. & Buck, Eugene H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)

Description: This report discusses carbon capture and sequestration (CSS), but not other types of carbon sequestration activities whereby CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored in vegetation, soils, or oceans.
Date: February 7, 2008
Creator: Folger, Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Climate Change: Federal Laws and Policies Related to Greenhouse Gas Reductions

Description: This report provides background on the evolution of U.S. climate change policy, from ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to the George W. Bush Administration's 2001 rejection of the Kyoto Protocol to the present. The report focuses on major regulatory programs that monitor or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, along with their estimated effect on emissions levels.
Date: January 28, 2008
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D. & Parker, Larry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Global Climate Change Policy: Evolving Views on Cost, Competitiveness, and Comprehensiveness

Description: This report discusses U.S. policy toward global climate change, which evolved from a "study only" to a more "study and action" orientation in 1992 with ratification of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Date: January 28, 2008
Creator: Parker, Larry B. & Blodgett, John E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pipelines for Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Control: Network Needs and Cost Uncertainties

Description: This report examines key uncertainties in CO2 pipeline requirements for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) by contrasting hypothetical pipeline scenarios in one region of the United States. The report summarizes the key factors influencing CO2 pipeline configuration for major power plants in the region, and illustrates how the viability of different sequestration sites may lead to enormous differences in pipeline costs.
Date: January 10, 2008
Creator: Parfomak, Paul W. & Folger, Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions

Description: Perchlorate is the explosive component of solid rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares, and other products. Used mainly by the Department of Defense (DOD) and related industries, perchlorate also occurs naturally and is present in some organic fertilizer.This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and recent developments.
Date: November 9, 2007
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department