Congressional Research Service Reports - 72 Matching Results

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Wetlands and Agriculture: Policy Issues in the 1995 Farm Bill

Description: Wetlands protection efforts have been a major concern for agricultural interests since Congress enacted so-called swampbuster provisions in the 1985 Food Security Act. Under these provisions, all producers who alter wetlands risk losing certain farm program benefits. Determining which sites are wetlands and enforcement of penalties remain contentious issues. Controversy has been heightened by confusion over how this program is related to the principal Federal regulatory program to protect wetlands, section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and how wetland determinations affect land values and private property rights. Because the 103rd Congress did not reauthorize the Clean Water Act, some of the wetland issues raised in that debate might be raised in the farm bill. Another wetland protection program, the Wetland Reserve (WRP), was enacted in the 1990 farm bill. This program, which pays farmers to place wetlands under long-term or permanent easements, has been far less controversial. This paper reviews the swampbuster and WRP, as well as controversies surrounding delineation of wetlands and relationships between private property rights and wetland protection efforts.
Date: December 19, 1994
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Below-Cost Timber Sales: An Overview

Description: The Forest Service sells some timber at prices that are less than the agency costs to administer the timber program. This report discusses these "below-cost" timber sales that have been debated by Congress for more than a decade, but no policy to address the issue has been adopted legislatively or administratively.
Date: December 20, 1994
Creator: Gorte, Ross W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agricultural Wetlands: Current Programs and Legislative Proposals

Description: Amending Federal laws to protect wetlands, especially agricultural wetlands, is a contentious issue for the 104th Congress. Critics contend that current programs are excessive in their reach and unfairly restrict private landowners. Supporters counter that these programs are critical if the Nation is to achieve the stated goal of no-net-loss of wetlands. The two major statutes under which agricultural wetlands are protected are swampbuster, enacted in the Agriculture, Food, Trade, and Conservation Act of 1985, and section 404, enacted in the 1972 Clean Water Act. This report describes both programs, emphasizing how they relate to each other. It explains how each program works, especially on agricultural wetlands, and the likely effect of proposed revisions to swampbuster. Also, it briefly considers other legislative proposals that would amend the section 404 program, which, if enacted, would further affect how agricultural wetlands are protected.
Date: January 4, 1996
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A. & Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Department of Energy's Tritium Production Program

Description: Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen used to enhance the explosive yield of every thermonuclear weapon. Tritium has a radioactive decay rate of 5.5% per year and has not been produced in this country for weapons purposes since 1988.
Date: September 10, 1998
Creator: Rowberg, Richard E. & Lau, Clifford
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biological Diversity Treaty: Fact Sheet

Description: As human activity continues to change and modify natural areas, widespread extinctions of plants, animals, and other types of species result. In 1992, negotiations conducted under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) were completed on a comprehensive global treaty to protect biological diversity (biodiversity). In June 1993, President Clinton signed the treaty and sent it to the Senate for advice and consent. It is not pending in the Senate. The treaty entered into force on December 29, 1993. As of May 15, 1995, 118 nations had ratified the treaty.
Date: May 16, 1995
Creator: Fletcher, Susan R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biotechnology, Indigenous Peoples, and Intellectual Property Rights

Description: This report examines intellectual property right in pharmaceuticals in a particular context, namely, medicinal products and processes derived from the biodiversity resources of areas inhabited by indigenous peoples. This report discusses the international law regarding intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge and the American laws regarding traditional knowledge.
Date: April 16, 1993
Creator: Axt, Josephie R.; Corn, M. Lynne; Lee, Margaret Mikyung & Ackerman, David M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Deforestation: An Overview of Global Programs and Agreements

Description: In recent years, global environmental concerns have figured prominently on the American political agenda. In particular, tropical deforestation and its implications for global climate change and biological diversity loss have prompted public outcry. Concerns have since grown to include other forest types as well. The Congress has considered a variety of legislation to stem the tide of increasing deforestation and the United States has supported a number of bilateral and multilateral initiatives to assist other countries in managing their forest resources.
Date: October 21, 1992
Creator: Lyke, Julie & Fletcher, Susan R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Abandoned Mine Land Fund: Grants Distribution and Issues

Description: The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA, P.L. 95-87), enacted in 1977, established reclamation standards for all coal surface mining operations, and for the surface effects of underground mining. It also established the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program to promote the reclamation of sites mined and abandoned prior to the enactment of SMCRA. To finance reclamation of abandoned mine sites, the legislation established fees on coal production. These collections are divided into federal and state shares; subject to annual appropriation, AML funds are distributed annually to states with approved reclamation programs. This report describes the distribution of these funds and the various issues that arise from said distribution.
Date: March 26, 1997
Creator: Bamberger, Robert L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agreements to Promote Fishery Conservation and Management in International Waters

Description: Declining fish populations threaten an important food source. Natural catastrophes, pollution, habitat destruction, and overfishing contribute to the depletion of fish stocks. Overexploitation of fishery resources often occurs when management allows expanding and increasingly efficient fishing fleets to continue harvesting dwindling supplies. Although prevalent, overexploitation is not universal and its extent varies among areas, species, and fisheries. This report discusses the issue of overfishing and its possible consequences, as well as domestic and international efforts to combat overfishing.
Date: January 5, 1996
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department