Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Wetland Issues
Instead of a single comprehensive federal wetland protection law, multiple laws provide varying levels of protection in different forms: the permit program authorized in §404 in the Clean Water Act; programs for agricultural wetlands; laws that protect specific sites; and laws that protect wetlands which perform certain functions. Many protection advocates view these laws and their implementation as inadequate or uncoordinated. Others, who advocate the rights of property owners and development interests, by contrast, characterize these efforts, especially the §404 permit program, as too intrusive. Numerous state and local wetland programs add to the complexity of the protection effort.
Wetland Issues
Instead of a single comprehensive federal wetland protection law, multiple laws provide varying levels of protection in different forms: the permit program authorized in §404 in the Clean Water Act; programs for agricultural wetlands; laws that protect specific sites; and laws that protect wetlands which perform certain functions. Many protection advocates view these laws and their implementation as inadequate or uncoordinated. Others, who advocate the rights of property owners and development interests, by contrast, characterize these efforts, especially the §404 permit program, as too intrusive. Numerous state and local wetland programs add to the complexity of the protection effort.
American Heritage Rivers
This report discusses the American Heritage Rivers Initiative, implemented in 1998 by President Bill Clinton. The Initiative designed 14 rivers as "American Heritage Rivers," and declared that each "will receive help over the next five years tapping federal resources to carry out their plans for revitalizing their rivers and riverfronts." This report also discusses the reactions from both supporters and detractors of the initiative, and related legislation and appropriations.
35 Years of Water Policy: The 1973 National Water Commission and Present Challenges
This report presents the National Water Commission's (NWC) recommendations and analyzes how issues targeted by the recommendations have evolved during the intervening years. The report focuses on key federal-level recommendations, thereby targeting what has been accomplished since 1973, what issues remain unresolved, and what additional concerns have developed.
Water Resource Issues in the 113th Congress
This report provides an overview of the federal role in water resources development, management, and protection, including a discussion of the two major federal water resources agencies and related legislation. It also discusses overarching policy issues, such as flood and drought management and response; project funding and authorization priorities; and aquatic ecosystem restoration.
EPA's Vessel General Permits: Background and Issues
This report covers two proposed permit drafts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding Vessel General Permits (VGPs): one for large vessels to replace the 2008 VGP (draft VGP), and one for smaller vessels that currently are covered by a congressionally-enacted temporary moratorium (draft sVGP).
Firearms at Army Corps Water Resource Projects: Proposed Legislation and Issues for Congress
This report discusses issues for Congress regarding public safety and infrastructure security at water resource projects managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Proposed legislation would bar the Secretary of the Army from promulgating or enforcing regulations that prohibit individuals from possessing firearms (including assembled or functional firearms) at Corps projects and instead require that firearms possession comply with state law.
EPA's Proposed Vessel General Permits: Background and Issues
This report covers two proposed permit drafts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding Vessel General Permits (VGPs): one for large vessels to replace the 2008 VGP (draft VGP), and one for smaller vessels that currently are covered by a congressionally-enacted temporary moratorium (draft sVGP).
Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress
This report describes the physical causes of drought, drought history in the United States, and policy challenges related to drought. It also provides examples of recurrent regional drought conditions.
Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress
This report defines drought and discusses its background and cause in the United States. It looks in detail at the 2007-2009 California drought as well as drought in the American West in general. Lastly, it discusses the future of U.S. drought and how congressional policy can affect drought.
Reallocation of Water Storage at Federal Water Projects for Municipal and Industrial Water Supply
Report that analyzes the legal and policy issues associated with reallocation of water under the Water Supply Act of 1958 (WSA) and industrial (M&I) water supply use at Lake Lanier as an example.
Drought Legislation: Comparison of Selected Provisions in H.R. 2898 and S. 1894
This report summarizes the provisions of S. 1894, as introduced, and H.R. 2898, as passed by the House for conservation of fish species and their habitats in drought-stricken areas. It identifies comparable provisions between the two bills and discusses some of the ways in which those provisions overlap or differ. It also summarizes selected other major provisions in each bill.
Western Water and Drought: Legislative Analysis of H.R. 2898 and S. 1894
This report summarizes and analyzes several key provisions in H.R. 2898 and S. 1894. It includes analysis of provisions specific to California, such as the management of threatened and endangered fish populations in relation to pumping operations of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP) as well as provisions that are broader in scope and might have nationwide implications.
Drought Policy, Response, and Preparedness
This report examines the various ways Congress and other federal, state, and local policymakers are considering to prepare for and respond to drought; how to coordinate actions and assign responsibilities; and who bears the costs of impacts, disaster response, and long-term adjustment to drought.
Safeguarding the Nation's Drinking Water: EPA and Congressional Actions
No Description Available.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and Federal Water Rights
No Description Available.
Wetland Issues
This report discusses various wetland policy topics, of particular interest are statements by the Bush Administration shortly after the 2004 election that restoration of 3 million wetland acres would be a priority.
CALFED Bay-Delta Program: Overview of Institutional and Water Use Issues
The California Bay-Delta Program (CALFED) was initiated in 1995 to resolve water resources conflicts in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Rivers Delta and San Francisco Bay (Bay-Delta) in California. The program planning effort focused on developing a plan to address three main problem areas in the Bay-Delta: ecosystem health, water quality, and water supply reliability. CALFED was authorized to receive federal funding from FY1998 to FY2000, and is now being considered for reauthorization.
Safeguarding the Nation's Drinking Water: EPA and Congressional Actions
No Description Available.
Safeguarding the Nation's Drinking Water: EPA and Congressional Actions
No Description Available.
The "Waters of the United States" Rule: Legislative Options and 114th Congress Responses
This report discusses legislative activity in the 114th Congress regarding a major regulatory initiative related to the "waters of the United States" rule. Despite the court's stay of the rule, some in Congress favor halting the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) and the Corps' current approach to defining "waters of the United States."
Energy-Water Nexus: The Water Sector's Energy Use
This report provides background on energy for facilities that treat and deliver water to end users and also dispose of and discharge wastewater. This report first discusses water-related energy use broadly and then energy for facilities that treat and deliver water to end users and also dispose of and discharge wastewater.
Emergency Water Assistance During Drought: Federal Non-Agricultural Programs
This report discusses droughts in relation to several issues for Congress, including how to measure and predict drought, how to prepare, and how to coordinate federal agency actions responding to drought.
Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector
This report examines recent congressional interest in the security of wastewater utilities, and whether or not to include water utilities in chemical plant security regulations implemented by Department of Homeland Security. Damage to or destruction of the nation's water supply and water quality infrastructure by terrorist attack or natural disaster could disrupt the delivery of vital human services in this country, threatening public health and the environment, or possibly causing loss of life. Interest in such problems has increased greatly since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.
Legislative Approaches to Defining "Waters of the United States"
This report seeks to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in the wake of Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 that interpreted the law's jurisdiction more narrowly than prior case law.
Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector
This report presents an overview of the large and diverse sector of water infrastructure systems, describes security-related actions by the government and private sector since September 11, and discusses additional policy issues and responses, including congressional interest.
Hydropower: Federal and Nonfederal Investment
This report explains how the federal government is involved directly in hydropower generation at federal facilities and in the regulation of nonfederal hydropower generation; the focus is on current roles and processes and common concerns and questions about changing those roles.
Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector
This report examines the possibility of damage to or destruction of the nation's water supply and water quality infrastructure by terrorist attack or natural disaster, which could disrupt the delivery of vital human services in this country, threatening public health and the environment, or possibly causing loss of life. Interest in such problems increased after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.
Legislative Approaches to Defining "Waters of the United States"
This report seeks to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in the wake of Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 that interpreted the law's jurisdiction more narrowly than prior case law.
Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector
This report presents an overview of the large and diverse sector of water infrastructure systems, describes security-related actions by the government and private sector since September 11, 2001, and discusses additional policy issues and responses, including congressional interest.
Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector
This report presents an overview of the large and diverse sector of water infrastructure systems, describes security-related actions by the government and private sector since September 11, 2001, and discusses additional policy issues and responses, including congressional interest.
Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector
This report presents an overview of the large and diverse sector of water infrastructure systems, describes security-related actions by the government and private sector since September 11, 2001, and discusses additional policy issues and responses, including congressional interest.
Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Expenditures
This report reviews the legislative history of the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) and legal challenges to it, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of alternative funding mechanisms, and describes the commercial context of current dredging activity.
Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector
This report presents an overview of the large and diverse sector of water infrastructure systems, describes security-related actions by the government and private sector since September 11, 2001, and discusses additional policy issues and responses, including congressional interest.
California Drought: Hydrological and Regulatory Water Supply Issues
This report discusses California's current hydrological situation and provides background on regulatory restrictions affecting California water deliveries, as well as on the long-established state water rights system, which also results in uneven water deliveries in times of shortages.
Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Expenditures
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.
Hydropower: Federal and Nonfederal Investment
This report discusses the changing energy and economic landscape, as well as the roughly 25 bills introduced by the 112th Congress regarding hydropower (the use of flowing water to produce electricity). Congress is examining numerous energy sources to determine their contribution to the nation's energy portfolio and the federal role in supporting these sources, including hydropower.
Global Access to Clean Drinking Water and Sanitation: U.S. and International Programs
Report that focuses on bilateral water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) schemes authorized by the Water for the Poor Act. This report identifies some issues that donors and U.S. agencies face while carrying out global drinking water and sanitation projects.
Hydropower: Federal and Nonfederal Investment
This report explains how the federal government is involved directly in hydropower generation at federal facilities and in the regulation of nonfederal hydropower generation; the focus is on current roles and processes and common concerns and questions about changing those roles.
Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress
This report discusses how drought is defined, and why drought occurs in the United States. How droughts are classified, and what is meant by moderate, severe, and extreme drought classification, are also discussed. The report concludes with a description of policy challenges for Congress, such as the existing federal/non-federal split in drought response and management, and the patchwork of drought programs subject to oversight by multiple congressional committees.
California Agricultural Production and Irrigated Water Use
This report provides an overview of California's farm economy, specifically examining the current state of the water supply and the use of irrigation water.
Allocation of Wastewater Treatment Assistance: Formula and Other Changes
This report describes the formula and eligibility changes adopted by Congress since 1972 related to the allocation of wastewater treatment assistance. It focuses on the interplay and decision-making by Congress on factors to include in the formula.
California Drought: Hydrological and Regulatory Water Supply Issues
This report provides a summary of California's 2012-2015 drought including: comparisons, where applicable, to previous droughts; a summary of the key regulatory requirements that at certain times limit water deliveries (or exports) from the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers' Delta; and a brief discussion of California water rights with their relation to different types of federal contracts and their associated water allocations.
Irrigation in U.S. Agriculture: On-Farm Technologies and Best Management Practices
This report is intended to provide an overview of on-farm irrigation and does not cover storage and conveyance prior to the farm or how irrigation adoption may alter other farm practices, such as the use of fertilizers and pesticides or impacts off-farm (e.g., groundwater and surface water quality concerns).
Appropriations for FY2004: Energy and Water Development
This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress considers each year. It summarizes the status of the bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related congressional activity, and is updated as events warrant.
Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Review of Fluoridation and Regulation Issues
This report discusses the documented benefits and potential adverse effects associated with the fluoridation of drinking water supplies. It also discusses the regulation of fluoride in drinking water to protect against adverse health effects from exposure to higher levels of fluoride, and it reviews the status of federal efforts to update the health risk assessment for fluoride.
Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA): Effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on Implementation
This report discusses the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA), which enacted in 1990 and administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has funded wetland restoration projects for more than 10 years.
Coast Guard Deepwater Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress
This report discusses the Integrated Deepwater Systems (IDS) program, or Deepwater program which is the largest and most complex acquisition effort in Coast Guard history, encompassing 91 new cutters, 124 new small surface craft, and 244 new or converted airplanes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Upper Mississippi River System: Proposals to Restore an Inland Waterway's Ecosystem
No Description Available.
Everglades Restoration: The Federal Role in Funding
In 2000, Congress approved a 30-year, $7.8 billion restoration plan, termed the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), for the Everglades ecosystem in southern Florida, and authorized an initial set of projects at a cost of $1.4 billion. This report provides information on federal appropriations for Everglades restoration, and discusses some issues related to the authorization and appropriations for restoration projects.