Congressional Research Service Reports - 415 Matching Results

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The Availability of Nonfuel Minerals on Federal Lands: Background on the Issue
The following report reviews the laws and practices that govern the extraction of non-fuel minerals from federal lands, and the restrict ions against such extract ions. Moreover, the federal land management agencies that regulate such activities are identified, and their responsibilities discussed.
Conservation and the 2007 Farm Bill
This report introduces some of the issues that are influencing the development of a conservation title. It then reviews the contents of the House-passed bill, H.R. 2419. Some alternative proposals that the House considered are summarized in an appendix. The House-passed bill includes some elements of the alternative proposals (usually in modified form). This report is limited to the conservation title. However, conservation topics in recent farm bills have been increasingly addressed in other titles, and that trend continues with the House-passed version, which contains conservation provisions in the energy, forestry, and research titles, and others as well.
Amtrak and Energy Conservation: Background and Selected Public Policy Issues
A rationale for federal financial support to Amtrak has been that rail service conserves energy, compared to other forms of intercity passenger transportation. The numbers discussed in this report suggest that the rationale might not be valid with regard to autos and buses. The report discusses some public policy implications that could follow from that conclusion.
Amtrak and Energy Conservation in Intercity Passenger Transportation
A rationale for federal financial support to Amtrak has been that rail service conserves energy, compared to other forms of intercity passenger transportation. The numbers presented in this report suggest that the rationale might not be valid with regard to some alternative modes of transportation, and the report discusses some public policy implications that could follow from that conclusion.
Upper Mississippi River System: Proposals to Restore an Inland Waterway's Ecosystem
No Description Available.
Biosphere Reserves and the U.S. MAB Program
Since 1972, the United States has participated in the Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB), coordinated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In addition to the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act this report also discusses the legislation that would affect U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention, under which World Heritage sites are recognized, and which include some of the sites recognized as biosphere reserves
Federal Lands Managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service (FS): Issues for the 110th Congress
This report discusses actions the 110th Congress is considering that affect the various uses and management of federal lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. These actions include legislation, administrative or regulatory proposals, and litigation and judicial decisions. Issues areas include access to energy resources on federal lands, especially implementation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005; development of hardrock minerals; roadless area management and protection; management, protection, and disposal of wild horses and burros; wilderness designation and management; and wildfire management and protection. Many of these issues have been of interest to Congress and the nation for decades.
Restricting Softwood Log Exports: Policy and Legal Implications
No Description Available.
Endangered Species Act Amendments: An Analysis of S. 1180 and H.R. 2351
Because of wide-spread interest in possible amendments to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), CRS has received numerous requests for an analysis and critique of S.1180 and H.R. 2351. This report analyzes those bills. HR. 2351 was introduced on July 31, 1997 and S. 1180 on September 16, 1997. Each bill is discussed under various topic headings. The Senate bill will be described first, since it has been reported.
Survey of Grazing Programs in Western States
No Description Available.
Federal Land Management Agencies: Background on Land and Resource Management
No Description Available.
Wildlife Restoration Projects Fund
Since 1937, a cooperative program between the federal and state governments has existed for wildlife restoration. This program provides federal grants-in-aid to state agencies for conservation through land and water management for wild birds and mammals. While up to 8% of the collected revenues from excise taxes dedicated to the program may be retained by the federal government for administration, all remaining funds are apportioned to the states and territories for use either in wildlife restoration or hunter safety and education programs. Wildlife restoration programs receive all funds generated from the excise tax on firearms other than pistols and revolvers and all funds collected from shells and cartridges. Additionally, one-half of the excise taxes collected from pistols, revolvers, and archery equipment goes for wildlife restoration purposes. Hunter safety and education programs are funded from the remaining half of excise taxes collected on pistols, revolvers, and archery equipment. The states have been authorized by law to use hunter safety and education funds for wildlife restoration projects.
Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues
Over the past 20 years, Congress has established 24 National Heritage Areas (NHAs) to commemorate, conserve, and promote important areas that include natural, scenic, historic, cultural, and recreational resources. This report focuses on heritage areas designated by Congress, and related issues and legislation.
Mexican Spotted Owls: Federal Protection
No Description Available.
Mexican Wolf: Federal Protection
No Description Available.
Wetland Mitigation Banking: Status and Prospects
Wetland protection is controversial because the federal government regulates activities on private lands and because the natural values at some of these regulated sites are being debated. This controversy pits property owners and development interests against environmentalists and others who seek to protect the remaining wetlands. Mitigation banking, which allows a person to degrade a wetland at one site if a wetland at another site is improved, has been identified as a potential answer to this shrill and seemingly intractable debate.
African Elephant Issues: CITES and CAMPFIRE
The conservation of African elephants has been controversial recently on two fronts: the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES, to which the United States is a party), and a Zimbabwean program for sustainable development called CAMPFIRE, which is partially funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Two controversies have sprung up recently about the African elephant. One is the changing status of this species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), of which the United States is a signatory. The other is over a program in Zimbabwe called "CAMPFIRE." The partial funding of this program by the U.S. Agency for International Development has been criticized by animal welfare groups and some conservation groups, though it has been supported by other conservation groups as well as many hunting organizations.
Alternative Sources of Wood for Japan
Japan is one of the world's largest wood importers, with two-thirds of its imports as logs (unprocessed timber). Southeast Asia has been the largest log supplier, but supplies (and exports to Japan) have been declining. The United States has become a more important supplier, but concerns about declining domestic timber supplies have led to proposals to prohibit or to tax log exports. Opponents suggest that Japan would simply turn to other sources to replace U.S. logs. One question in this debate is where the alternative sources of logs or wood products might be.
Ecosystems, Biomes, and Watersheds: Definitions and Use
This paper describes the meaning and applications of ecosystem and of the related terms watershed and biome. It discusses the pros and cons of all three as organizing principles for land management, and the major issues that are likely to arise in the debate over ecosystem management.
Endangered Species List Revisions: A Summary of Delisting and Downlisting
This report outlines the process and reasons for delisting or downlisting, and summarizes the 27 species delisted due to extinction, recovery, or data revision, and the 22 species that have been downlisted from endangered to threatened status due to stabilized or improving populations.
Federal Lands Managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service (FS): Issues for the 110th Congress
The missions of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service (FS) are similar, and many issues, programs, and policies affect both agencies. This report focuses on several issues affecting both agencies’ lands that are likely to be of interest to the 110th Congress, including energy resources, hardrock mining, FS roadless areas, wild horses and burros, wilderness, wildfire protection, and others.
Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity
No Description Available.
Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity
No Description Available.
U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions
This report describes provisions of the LOS Convention relating to living marine resources and discusses how these provisions comport with current U.S. marine policy.
Mercury in the Environment: Sources and Health Risks
No Description Available.
Mercury in the Environment: Sources and Health Risks
No Description Available.
Biosafety Protocol for Genetically Modified Organisms: Overview
The Biosafety Protocol to the 1992 Convention on biological Diversity, adopted in early 2000, addresses the safe handling, transfer, and trade of biological organisms. The Protocol sets forth procedures and rules concerning trade in biological products, including genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that have engendered controversy, especially when they are used as agricultural crops. These rules are of key importance to U.S. economic interests in agriculture as well as those dealing in other genetically modified organisms. This report provides a brief summary of the key provisions of the Protocol and the major issues associated with them.
The Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Biological Resources
No Description Available.
The Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Biological Resources
No Description Available.
Biosafety Protocol for Genetically Modified Organisms: Overview
This report presents a background on Biosafety Protocol for genetically modified organisms and an overview of Biosafety Protocol negotiations, key provisions and related issues.
Federal Lands Managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service (FS): Issues for the 110th Congress
The report starts out with a brief overview and analysis of Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Other issues discussed briefly include roadless areas in the National Forest System, national forest planning, national forest county payments, BLM land sales, and grazing management.
Paleontological Resources Preservation Act: Proposal for the Management and Protection of Fossil Resources Located on Federal Lands
No Description Available.
Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity
This report discusses the various industrial uses for hemp, a variety of Cannabis sativa that is of the same plant species as marijuana. It compares hemp with marijuana and discusses global production, legal status, and recent legislative activity.
Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues
This report focuses on heritage areas designated by Congress and related issues and legislation. Over more than two decades, Congress has established 40 National Heritage Areas (NHAs) to commemorate, conserve, and promote areas that include important natural, scenic, historic, cultural, and recreational resources.
Wildfire Damages to Homes and Resources: Understanding Causes and Reducing Losses
This report focuses on options for protecting structures and for protecting wildlands and natural resources from wildfires. It begins with a brief overview of the nature of wildfires, followed by a discussion of protecting structures. Then, it discusses wildfire damages to wildlands and natural resources, fuel treatment options and their benefits and limitations, and public involvement in federal decisions.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP): Status and Issues
This report discusses the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enacted in 1985, which provides payments to farmers to take highly erodible or environmentally-sensitive cropland out of production for ten years or more to conserve soil and water resources.
Analysis of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
This report outlines the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the current Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN) system, discusses the current market for various RINs, and outlines policy considerations to address RIN fraud going forward.
Analysis of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
Report that outlines the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the current Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN) system, discusses the current market for various RINs, and outlines policy considerations to address RIN fraud going forward.
Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data
Numerous issues affecting federal land management are before Congress. They include the extent of federal ownership, and whether to decrease, maintain, or increase the amount of federal holdings; the condition of currently owned federal infrastructure and lands, and the priority of their maintenance versus new acquisitions; the optimal balance between land use and protection, and whether federal lands should be managed primarily to produce national or local benefits; and border control on federal lands along the southwest border.
Federal Funding for Wildfire Control and Management
This report looks at four issues dominating wildfire funding debates: the high cost of fire management, funding for fuel reduction, the federal role in protecting nonfederal lands, and post-fire rehabilitation. The Forest Service (FS) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responsible for protecting most federal lands from wildfires, however, many in Congress are concerned that wildfire costs are spiraling upward without a reduction in damages.
The Helium-3 Shortage: Supply, Demand, and Options for Congress
The world is experiencing a shortage of helium-3, a rare isotope of helium with applications in homeland security, national security, medicine, industry, and science. Federal officials have testified that the shortage is acute and, unless alternatives are found, will affect federal investments in homeland security, scientific research, and other areas. This report discusses the nature of the shortage; federal actions undertaken so far to address it; current and potential sources of helium-3 and options for increasing the supply; current and projected uses of helium-3 and options for reducing the demand; and options for allocating the supply if it continues to fall short of demand.
Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues
This report focuses on heritage areas designated by Congress and related issues and legislation. Over more than two decades, Congress has established 40 National Heritage Areas (NHAs) to commemorate, conserve, and promote areas that include important natural, scenic, historic, cultural, and recreational resources.
Conservation Reserve Program: Status and Current Issues
This report discusses the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enacted in 1985, which provides payments to farmers to take highly erodible or environmentally-sensitive cropland out of production for ten years or more to conserve soil and water resources.
Federal Land Ownership: Acquisition and Disposal Authorities
This report describes the primary authorities of the following agencies for acquiring and disposing of federal land. These four federal agencies--the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), all in the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the U.S. Forest Service (FS) in the Department of Agriculture--administer about 95% of those lands.
The 2010 Oil Spill: MMS/BOEMRE and NEPA
This report reviews the environmental procedures required following the explosion of an oil well on a tract leased by BP from the federal government.
U.S. Tree Planting for Carbon Sequestration
This report briefly discusses one of the widely discussed options for domestic carbon dioxide offsets: tree planting. Two terms are generally used for tree planting: reforestation, for planting trees in areas recently cleared of forest through timber harvesting or natural disaster; and afforestation, for planting trees on sites that have long been cleared of forests, such as crop, pasture, and brush lands.
Rare Earth Elements in National Defense: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress
Some Members of Congress have expressed concern over U.S. acquisition of rare earth materials composed of rare earth elements used in various components of defense weapon systems. On March 13, 2012, President Obama announced that the United States had joined with Japan and the European Union to bring a World Trade Organization joint dispute resolution case against China because of China's restrictive policies on rare earths and other minerals. Congress may encourage DOD to develop a collaborative, long-term, well-thought-out strategy designed to identify any material weaknesses and vulnerabilities associated with rare earths and to protect long-term U.S. national security interests.
Wildfire Damages to Homes and Resources: Understanding Causes and Reducing Losses
Wildfires are getting more severe, with more acres and houses burned and more people at risk. This results from excess biomass in the forests, due to past logging and grazing and a century of fire suppression, combined with an expanding wild land-urban interface-more people and houses in and near the forests-and climate change, exacerbating drought and insect and disease problems. This report looks at the causes of wildfires, and the pros and cons of their treatment.
U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions
This report describes provisions of the Law of the Sea Convention relating to living marine resources and discusses how these provisions comport with current U.S. marine policy.
Mining on Federal Lands
No Description Available.