Congressional Research Service Reports - 319 Matching Results

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Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector

Description: The possibility of damage to or destruction of the nation's water supply and water quality infrastructure by terrorist attack has gained substantial attention since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Policymakers are considering a number of initiatives, including enhanced physical security, better communication and coordination, and research. A key issue is how such security measures will be funded. Committees in the 109th Congress have approved legislation to support vulnerability assessments in federal and non-federal wastewater treatment plants and utility systems.
Date: May 24, 2006
Creator: Copeland, Claudia & Cody, Betsy A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Perchlorate Conatmination 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: October 16, 2008
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
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

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues

Description: The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996 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. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) latest (2003) survey of capital improvement needs for public water systems found that water systems need to invest $276.8 billion on infrastructure improvements over 20 years to ensure the provision of safe water. Key issues include the gap between estimated needs and funding, SDWA compliance costs, and the need for cities to update and maintain water infrastructure, apart from SDWA compliance.
Date: October 24, 2008
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Wave, Tidal, and In-Stream Energy Projects: Which Federal Agency Has the Lead?

Description: Developments in wave, tidal, and in-stream energy generation technologies -- also referred to as hydrokinetic or marine energy -- are beginning to gain momentum. At the same time, their regulatory status is still evolving, as shown by recent changes in law aimed at clarifying hte federal role in ocean wave and renewable energy. Two federal agencies currently appear to have a lead role in offshore renewable energy projects -- the Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Date: October 7, 2008
Creator: Lane, Nic
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Delegation of the Federal Power of Eminent Domain to Nonfederal Entities

Description: Congress has on several occasions delegated its power of eminent domain to entities outside the federal government -- public and private corporations, interstate compact agencies, state and local governments, and even individuals. The constitutionality of such delegation, and of the exercise of such power by even private delegates, is today beyond dispute. However, among delegates with both federal and private characteristics, there is some subjectivity to deciding which to list in a report limited to "nonfederal entities." For delegatees of federal eminent domain power listed here, delegations since 1920 have primarily been to Amtrak, hydroelectric facilities (for dams and reservoirs), and entities engaged in the movement of electricity, gas, and petroleum (the last one expired), and for interstate bridges.
Date: May 20, 2008
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Flood Insurance Requirements for Stafford Act Assistance

Description: The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) imposes flood insurance requirements upon eligibility for disaster assistance in two general cases: (1) if the entity seeking disaster assistance has received disaster assistance in the past, or (2) if the entity seeking disaster assistance is a state or local government or private nonprofit located in a federally designated special flood hazard area (SFHA) as determined under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The requirements imposed by the Stafford Act operate independently of each other, and a potential applicant for disaster assistance may fall into both categories. This report will discuss the specific requirements imposed in each situation after briefly discussing the history of flood insurance and the relevant types of disaster assistance.
Date: September 5, 2008
Creator: Liu, Edward C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Water Rights Related to Oil Shale Development in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Description: Concerns over fluctuating oil prices and declining petroleum production worldwide have revived interest in oil shale as a potential resource. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) identified oil shale as a strategically important domestic resource and directed the Department of the Interior to promote commercial development. Oil shale development would require significant amounts of water, however, and water supply in the Colorado River Basin, where several oil shale reserves are located, is limited. This report will provide a brief overview of water rights in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, including changes that may be made to currently held water rights and the possibility for abandonment of unused water rights.
Date: November 18, 2008
Creator: Brougher, Cynthia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments

Description: Permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorize various types of development projects in wetlands and other waters of the United States. The Corps' regulatory process involves two types of permits: general permits for actions for private landowners that will likely have a minor effect on wetlands, and individual permits for more significant actions. Interest groups have a number of specific criticisms of the permits. For some time, there has been a stalemate in Congress over legislation related to this issue.
Date: August 21, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy's Water Demand: Trends, Vulnerabilities, and Management

Description: The nation's energy choices embody many tradeoffs. Water use is one of those tradeoffs. The energy choices before Congress represent vastly different demands on domestic freshwater. The energy sector's water consumption is projected to rise 50% from 2005 to 2030. This rising water demand derives from both an increase in the amount of energy demanded and shifts to more water-intense energy sources and technologies. This report discusses this issue as well as related issues that may arise for the 112th Congress.
Date: November 24, 2010
Creator: Carter, Nicole T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Expenditures

Description: In 1986, the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) was enacted to fund U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE or the Corps) activities related to the routine operation and maintenance (O&M) of harbors, namely the dredging of harbor channels to their authorized depths and widths. Economic and equity issues related to HMT expenditures and collections are the main focus of this report. Before analyzing these issues, the report reviews the legislative history of the tax and legal challenges to it, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of alternative funding mechanisms, and describes the commercial context of current dredging activity. The last section identifies legislation related to harbor maintenance funding.
Date: January 10, 2011
Creator: Frittelli, John
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Safeguarding the Nation's Drinking Water: EPA and Congressional Actions

Description: The events of September 11, 2001, focused heightened attention on the security status of the nation's drinking water supplies and the vulnerability of this critical infrastructure sector to attack. This report reviews governmental and water utility efforts to improve drinking water security.
Date: September 30, 2010
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Inland Waterways: Recent Proposals and Issues For Congress

Description: This brief discusses the major issues for Congress which include whether to increase inland waterway funding in the future (and by what amount); the appropriate type of revenue stream (e.g., fuel taxes or lockage fees) for the user-required portion of these projects; division of the cost-share responsibilities between the federal government and commercial users (e.g., 50/50 or some other division); and whether to initiate process-based recommendations that some argue will improve the delivery and efficiency of Corps-led IWTF projects.
Date: January 20, 2011
Creator: Stern, Charles V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments

Description: Permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorize various types of development projects in wetlands and other waters of the United States. The Corps' regulatory process involves two types of permits: general permits for actions by private landowners that are similar in nature and will likely have a minor effect on wetlands, and individual permits for more significant actions. The Corps uses general permits to minimize the burden of its regulatory program: they authorize landowners to proceed with a project without the time-consuming need to obtain standard individual permits in advance. About 90% of the Corps' regulatory workload is processed in the form of general permits.
Date: January 30, 2012
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments

Description: Congressional interest in wetlands permit regulatory programs has been evident in the past in oversight hearings and in connection with bills to fund the Corps' regulatory programs. For some time, there has been a stalemate over legislation that would revise wetlands regulatory law and that could, if enacted, modify the nationwide permit program. During this time, no consensus has emerged on whether or how to reform overall wetlands policy legislatively. Recently, Obama Administration initiatives and actions intended to restrict harmful effects of surface coal mining activities in Appalachia have drawn congressional attention and criticism that is likely to continue in the 112th Congress and that could include oversight of the Corps' regulatory program generally.
Date: December 28, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Hydraulic Fracturing and Safe Drinking Water Act Issues

Description: This report reviews past and proposed treatment of hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Water Drinking Ace, the principal federal statute for regulating the underground injection of fluids to protect groundwater sources of drinking water. It reviews current provisions for regulating underground injection activities, and discusses some possible implications of, and issues associated with, enactment of legislation authorizing the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate hydraulic fracturing under this statute.
Date: April 10, 2012
Creator: Tiemann, Mary & Vann, Adam
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

Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure

Description: This report addresses several options being considered by Congress to address the financing needs of local communities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects and to decrease or close the gap between available funds and projected needs. Six options that are reflected in current or recent legislative proposals, including budgetary implications, are discussed.
Date: April 3, 2012
Creator: Copeland, Claudia; Mallett, William J. & Maguire, Steven
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Water Quality Issues in the 112th Congress: Oversight and Implementation

Description: Much progress has been made in achieving the ambitious goals that Congress established more than 35 years ago in the Clean Water Act (CWA) to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters. However, long-standing problems persist, and new problems have emerged. Water quality problems are diverse, ranging from pollution runoff from farms and ranches, city streets, and other diffuse or "nonpoint" sources, to toxic substances discharged from factories and sewage treatment plants.
Date: November 7, 2011
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Inland Waterways: Recent Proposals and Issues For Congress

Description: This brief discusses the major issues for Congress which include whether to increase inland waterway funding in the future (and by what amount); the appropriate type of revenue stream (e.g., fuel taxes or lockage fees) for the user-required portion of these projects; division of the cost-share responsibilities between the federal government and commercial users (e.g., 50/50 or some other division); and whether to initiate process-based recommendations that some argue will improve the delivery and efficiency of Corps-led IWTF projects.
Date: July 14, 2011
Creator: Stern, Charles V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Water Quality Issues in the 112th Congress: Oversight and Implementation

Description: This report discusses water quality legislation. A number of Clean Water Act issues have been the subject of congressional oversight and legislation, including the environmental and economic impacts of Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, federal promulgation of water quality standards in Florida, regulation of surface coal mining activities in Appalachia, and other CWA regulatory actions. Congressional interest in several of these issues has been reflected in debate over policy provisions of legislation providing FY2012 appropriations for EPA (P.L. 112-74).
Date: May 30, 2012
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Water Quality Issues in the 112th Congress: Oversight and Implementation

Description: This report discusses water quality legislation. A number of Clean Water Act issues have been the subject of congressional oversight and legislation, including the environmental and economic impacts of Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, federal promulgation of water quality standards in Florida, regulation of surface coal mining activities in Appalachia, and other CWA regulatory actions. Congressional interest in several of these issues has been reflected in debate over policy provisions of legislation providing FY2012 appropriations for EPA (P.L. 112-74).
Date: April 9, 2012
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Description: This report identifies funding for water infrastructure programs and projects contained in the legislation, including amounts in the House- and Senate-passed versions that preceded the conference agreement. Among the purposes identified in the legislation are preservation and creation of jobs and promotion of U.S. economic recovery, and investment in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits.
Date: March 12, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia & Carter, Nicole T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department