Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Climate Change Science: Key Points

Description: This report discusses the climate change science, that though often is portrayed as controversial there is a broad scientific agreement over many points. The report provides data on long-term temperature observations, estimate of human-related versus solar contributions to global temperature change over the 20th century, estimated top 20 emitting nations of greenhouse gases in 2010, and sea ice extent in Arctic (September) and Antarctica (April), 1979 to 2012
Date: September 10, 2013
Creator: Leggett, Jane A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector and Congressional Action

Description: The debate in Congress over whether and how to address possible future climate change is intensifying. Often, the role of the U.S. agriculture sector is invoked in this debate. Agriculture is a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which many scientists agree are contributing to observed climate change. Congress is considering a range of climate change policy options, including GHG emission reduction programs that would either mandate or authorize a cap-and-trade program to reduce GHG emissions. This report discusses this issue in detail, i.e., how the agricultural industry affects GHG emissions and efforts currently underway to combat these negative effects, but it does not address the potential effects of global climate change on U.S. agricultural production.
Date: June 19, 2009
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)

Description: Carbon capture and sequestration (or storage) - known as CCS - has attracted interest as a measure for mitigating global climate change because large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from fossil fuel use in the United States are potentially available to be captured and stored underground or prevented from reaching the atmosphere. Congressional interest has grown in CCS as part of legislative strategies to address climate change. The large and rapid influx of funding for industrial-scale CCS projects may accelerate development and deployment of CO2 capture technologies.
Date: June 19, 2009
Creator: Folger, Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Calculation of Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the Renewable Fuel Standard

Description: The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA, P.L. 110-140), significantly expanded the renewable fuel standard (RFS) established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005, P.L. 109-58). The RFS requires the use of 9.0 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2008, increasing to 36 billion gallons in 2022.
Date: June 25, 2009
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D. & Bracmort, Kelsi
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: Report that is written in response to the Coast Guard's budget request for a new polar ice breaker, of which the Coast Guard currently has none in operation. Polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. Issues for Congress include what to do with decommissioned ice breakers, the impact of having no ice breakers, how to budget for new ice breakers, and how future ice breakers should be obtained.
Date: July 24, 2013
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues

Description: Section 401 of the Clean Water Act requires that an applicant for a federal license or permit provide a certification that any discharges from the facility will comply with the Act, including water quality standard requirements. Disputes have arisen over the states' exercise of authority under Section 401. Until recently, much of the debate over the Section 401 certification issue has been between states and hydropower interests. A 1994 Supreme Court decision which upheld the states' authority in this area dismayed development and hydroelectric power interest groups. The Court revisited these issues in a 2006 ruling that unanimously upheld the states' authority to condition hydropower licenses. The dispute between states and industry groups about Section 401 authority has been a legislative issue on several occasions, but Congress has not responded by modifying the provision's scope. In addition, there has been interest in clarifying whether Section 401 certification applies to nonpoint source discharges, such as rainfall runoff, as well as point source discharges from pipes or ditches.
Date: October 5, 2006
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options

Description: This report discusses four legislative options that Congress could consider to halt or redirect the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineer's proposed "waters of the United States" rule: the Congressional Review Act, appropriations bill limitations, targeted legislation, and broad amendments to the Clean Water Act. Each option faces a steep path to enactment.
Date: May 26, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Army Corps of Engineers: Water Resource Authorizations, Appropriations, and Activities

Description: This report summarizes congressional authorization and appropriations processes for the Corps. It also discusses agency activities under general authorities. Congress directs the Corps through authorizations, appropriations, and oversight of its studies, construction projects, and other activities.
Date: October 18, 2013
Creator: Carter, Nicole T. & Stern, Charles V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions

Description: This report reviews perchlorate contamination issues and related developments. Perchlorate is the explosive component of solid rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares, and other products. Used heavily by the Department of Defense (DOD) and related industries, perchlorate also occurs naturally and is present in some organic fertilizer. This soluble, persistent compound has been detected in drinking water supplies, especially in California. It also has been found in milk and many foods.
Date: August 6, 2009
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
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

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: May 7, 2009
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
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

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
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. 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 or competition.
Date: September 4, 2015
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Army Corps of Engineers: Water Resource Authorizations, Appropriations, and Activities

Description: This report summarizes congressional authorization and appropriations processes for the Army Corps of Engineers and agency activities under general authorities. Congress directs the Corps through authorizations, appropriations, and oversight of its studies, construction projects, and other activities.
Date: July 28, 2015
Creator: Carter, Nicole T. & Stern, Charles V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Grazing Regulations: Changes by the Bureau of Land Management

Description: This report discusses the two-pronged approach to grazing reform the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is taking by proposing changes to grazing regulations and considering other changes to grazing policies. BLM asserts that regulatory changes are needed to increase flexibility for grazing managers and permittees, to improve rangeland management and grazing permit administration, to promote conservation, and to comply with court decisions.
Date: August 24, 2005
Creator: Vincent, Carol Hardy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: FY2006 Appropriations

Description: The annual consideration of appropriations bills (regular, continuing, and supplemental) by Congress is part of a complex set of budget processes that also encompasses the consideration of budget resolutions, revenue and debt limit legislation, other spending measures, and reconciliation bills. This report is a guide to one of the regular appropriations bills that Congress considers each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies. It summarizes the status of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related congressional activity, and is updated as events warrant.
Date: February 3, 2006
Creator: Vincent, Carol H. & Boren, Susan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department