Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Clean Water: Summary of H.R. 961, As Passed

Description: The Clean Water Act, which was last amended in 1987, consists of two major parts: regulatory provisions that impose progressively more stringent requirements on industries and cities to abate pollution and meet the statutory goal of zero discharge of pollutants, and provisions that authorize Federal financial assistance for municipal wastewater treatment construction.
Date: May 30, 1995
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Animal Waste and Water Quality: EPA Regulation of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)

Description: This report describes the revised environmental rules of the Clean Water Act, the background of previous Clean Water Act rules and the Clinton Administration proposal for revising these rules, and perspectives of key interest groups on the proposal and final regulations. It also identifies several issues likely to be of congressional interest as implementation of the revised rules proceeds.
Date: April 15, 2003
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

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: September 17, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants

Description: This report discusses the section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, which requires states to identify waters that are impaired by pollution, even after application of pollution controls. For those waters, states must establish a total maximum daily load (TMDL) of pollutants to ensure that water quality standards can be attained. Implementation was dormant until states and EPA were prodded by lawsuits. The TMDL program has become controversial, in part because of requirements and costs now facing states to implement this 35-year-old provision of the law, as well as industries, cities, farmers, and others who may be required to use new pollution controls to meet TMDL requirements. In July 2000, EPA issued revisions to strengthen the program. The rule was widely criticized, and congressional interest was high. The 2000 rule did not go into effect, and in March 2003, EPA withdrew the rule to consider whether to issue an entirely new rule or other options; no timetable has been announced. Consequently, the program continues to operate under regulations issued in 1992.
Date: April 6, 2007
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Controversies over Redefining “Fill Material” Under the Clean Water Act

Description: On May 3, 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) announced a final rule redefining two key terms, “fill material” and “discharge of fill material,” in regulations that implement Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This report discusses the revised rule, focusing on how it changes which material and types of activities are regulated under Section 404 and the significance of these issues, especially for the mining industry.
Date: August 21, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Water Quality Issues in the 110th Congress: Oversight and Implementation

Description: This report discusses issues surrounding the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972 and programs set up to meet the water quality standards that it outlined. The report focuses specifically on the legislative issues for the 110th Congress in relation to the CWA including the authorization of water infrastructure funding, regulatory protection of wetlands, and other CWA issues that may require separate oversight or legislation. It also includes a brief comparison of the expected appropriations for FY2008 and FY2009.
Date: September 18, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federally Supported Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Programs

Description: This report provides background information on the types of water supply and wastewater treatment projects traditionally funded by the federal government and the several existing programs to assist communities with water supply and wastewater recycling and treatment.
Date: March 31, 2006
Creator: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Resources, Science, and Industry Division.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federally Supported Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Programs

Description: This report provides background information on the types of water supply and wastewater treatment projects traditionally funded by the federal government and the several existing programs to assist communities with water supply and wastewater recycling and treatment. These projects and programs are found primarily within the Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Commerce, Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of the Interior (DOI), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Date: March 14, 2005
Creator: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Resources, Science, and Industry Division.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA's Vessel General Permit: Background and Issues

Description: This report is an overview of the revised Vessel General Permit (VGP) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and two key issues: inclusion of numeric performance standards to limit ballast water discharges from vessels, and controversies about the role of states in regulating vessel discharges.
Date: January 8, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Clean Water Act and Pollutant Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)

Description: This report discusses the total maximum daily load (TMDL) program which regulates pollutants to ensure that water quality standards can be attained; section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires states to identify waters that are impaired by pollution, even after application of pollution controls. The report focuses on new challenges facing the TMDL program, including more complex TMDLs, larger scale impairments, and nonpoint sources.
Date: January 17, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

Description: This report describes the March 25 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Date: March 27, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

Description: This report describes the March 25 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Date: April 21, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
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 (CWA). A brief discussion of the two laws is followed by a review of the major litigation of interest.
Date: March 19, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
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

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

Description: This report describes the March 25, 2014 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Date: November 21, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tax Issues and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Legal Analysis of Payments and Tax Relief Policy Options

Description: This report provides analysis of various policy options for providing tax relief to oil spill victims, highlighting the circumstantial differences between previous natural disasters and the current oil spill. The report concludes with a brief summary of current legislative efforts.
Date: July 15, 2010
Creator: Sherlock, Molly F.; Lunder, Erika K.; Liu, Edward C. & Klein, Heather S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Selected Issues for Congress

Description: This report summarizes provisions of selected legislation - enacted and proposed - that address oil spill policy issues raised after the April 20, 2010, explosion and resulting oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. This report focuses primarily on oil spill policy matters that concern prevention, preparedness, response, and the liability and compensation framework.
Date: July 30, 2010
Creator: Hagerty, Curry L. & Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Water Infrastructure Projects Designated in EPA Appropriations: Trends and Policy Implications

Description: This report discusses appropriations for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water infrastructure programs, focusing on congressional special project designations in the account that funds these programs. While some Members of Congress, interest groups, and Administration officials are critical of these types of congressional actions, there is little indication that the practice will cease. Information on the programmatic history of EPA involvement in assisting wastewater treatment and drinking water projects also is provided in two appendixes.
Date: November 17, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

Description: This report describes the March 25 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Date: September 10, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Potential Stafford Act Declarations for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill: Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, P.L. 93-288, which presents several options, and could provide a number of programs, to address the Gulf Coast oil spill. The Stafford Act authorizes the President to issue "major disaster" or "emergency" declarations before or after catastrophes occur. Emergency declarations trigger aid that protects property, public health, and safety and lessens or averts the threat of an incident becoming a catastrophic event.
Date: May 13, 2010
Creator: McCarthy, Francis X.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"

Description: This report describes the March 25, 2014 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Date: March 20, 2015
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Liability and Compensation Issues Raised by the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

Description: The first section of this report provides an overview of the existing liability and compensation framework as it relates to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The second section highlights many of the liability and compensation issues raised by the event. The third section discusses options for policymakers to adjust, amend, or supplement the current framework.
Date: March 11, 2011
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Phosphorus Mitigation in the Everglades

Description: This report discusses the FY2004 appropriations provisions that condition federal funding for Everglades restoration on compliance with water quality standards, provides a side-by-side analysis of pending appropriations legislation, and provides background and a timeline of efforts to address Everglades phosphorus pollution (from Summary).
Date: January 13, 2004
Creator: Sheikh, Pervaze A. & Johnson, Barbara
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department