Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments
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.
The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments
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.
Hydraulic Fracturing and Safe Drinking Water Act Issues
This report reviews past and proposed treatment of hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Water Drinking Act, 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.
Phosphorus Mitigation in the Everglades
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).
Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues
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.
EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options
This report discusses four legislative options that Congress could consider to halt or redirect the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineer's proposed "waters of the United States" rule: the Congressional Review Act, appropriations bill limitations, targeted legislation, and broad amendments to the Clean Water Act. Each option faces a steep path to enactment.
U.S.-Mexico Water Sharing: Background and Recent Developments
This report is a primer on U.S. and Mexican water-sharing topics. It focuses on surface water quantity sharing and recent developments, including drought conditions. Due to Mexico's recent below-target deliveries of Rio Grande water to the United States, particular attention is given to the status, underlying causes, and responses to the Rio Grande water debt. This report describes: legal obligations and processes under the 1944 Water Treaty; drought conditions from 2010 to 2013; water sharing and developments in the Colorado River Basin; water sharing in the Rio Grande Basin and Mexico's water debt; and stakeholder, diplomatic, and legislative responses to Mexico's Rio Grande water debt.
Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions
This report reviews perchlorate contamination issues and related developments. Perchlorate is the explosive component of solid rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares, and other products. Used heavily by the Department of Defense (DOD) and related industries, perchlorate also occurs naturally and is present in some organic fertilizer. This soluble, persistent compound has been detected in drinking water supplies, especially in California. It also has been found in milk and many foods.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration
This report introduces the Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration program, and discusses whether it might have muted the impacts of hurricanes of the magnitude and paths of Katrina or Rita and whether the devastation caused by both hurricanes might cause the Corps to consider different restoration options.
EPA and the Army Corps' "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options
This report discusses four legislative options that Congress could consider to halt or redirect the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineer's proposed "waters of the United States" rule.
EPA and the Army Corps' Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"
This report describes the final revised rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA)--which the agencies refer to as the Clean Water Rule--and includes a table comparing the existing regulatory language that defines "waters of the United States" with the revisions.
EPA and the Army Corps' "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options
This report discusses four legislative options that Congress could consider to halt or redirect the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineer's proposed "waters of the United States" rule.
EPA and the Army Corps' Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"
This report describes the revised rule of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) which defines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Agencies refer to this final rule as the Clean Water Rule. This report includes a table comparing the existing regulatory language that defines "waters of the United States" with the revisions.
Hurricane-Damaged Drinking Water and Wastewater Facilities: Impacts, Needs, and Response
This report describes information that has been gathered about impacts of the August 29 hurricane (Hurricane Katrina) on drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities, and on ongoing efforts to assess damages and needs to repair and reconstruct damaged systems.
EPA and the Army Corps' "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options
This report discusses several options Congress had in order to respond to controversy caused by the May 27th, 2015 rule that was finalized by the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This finalized rule revised regulations that defined the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Congress' legislative options are reflected in bills in the 114th Congress.
Overview of EPA and the Army Corps’ Rule to Define “Waters of the United States”
This report describes the revised rule of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) which defines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): Army Corps of Engineers Authorization Issues in the 109th Congress
The Corps is a federal agency in the Department of Defense with military and civilian responsibilities. At the direction of Congress, the Corps plans, builds, operates, and maintains a wide range of water resources facilities in U.S. states and territories.
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: Program Overview and Issues
This report discusses the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996, which 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.
Mexico: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of political and economic conditions in Mexico, followed by assessments of some key issues of congressional interest in Mexico: security and foreign aid, extraditions, human rights, trade, migration, energy, education, and water issues.
Hurricane-Damaged Drinking Water and Wastewater Facilities: Impacts, Needs, and Response
This report describes information that has been gathered about impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities and on ongoing efforts to assess damages and needs to repair and reconstruct damaged systems.
Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions
This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and developments. Concern over the potential health risks of perchlorate exposure has increased, and some states and members of Congress have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a drinking water standard for perchlorate.
Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions
This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and developments. Concern over the potential health risks of perchlorate exposure has increased, and some states and members of Congress have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a drinking water standard for perchlorate.
Evolution of the Meaning of "Waters of the United States" in the Clean Water Act
This report examines the changing definition of the phrase, "waters of the United States." The scope of waters that are properly the subject of federal water pollution legislation has been the subject of long-standing consideration by all three branches of the federal government, particularly in the aftermath of the 1972 amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act.
Land and Water Conservation Fund: Current Funding
No Description Available.
Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996: Overview of P.L. 104-182
No Description Available.
Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Reauthorization
No Description Available.
Safe Drinking Water Act Reauthorization Issues
No Description Available.
Safe Drinking Water Act: State Revolving Fund Program
No Description Available.
Toxic Pollutants and the Clean Water Act: Current Issues
No Description Available.
San Diego Wastewater Treatment: Current Issues
No Description Available.
Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA's Regulatory Program
No Description Available.
Clean Water Issues in the 104th Congress
For the 104th Congress, reauthorization of the Clean Water Act would seem likely to be a priority, since the Act was last amended in 1987 and authorizations expired on September 30, 1990. But legislative prospects in the 104th Congress are uncertain. Clean water also was a priority for the 103rd Congress, but, in 1994, Congress ran out of time and did not act on comprehensive amendments. Many of the issues proved to be too complex and controversial to be resolved easily, while Congress also was considering a large agenda of environmental and other bills. Controversies arose in connection with issues specific to the Clean Water Act and a trio of regulatory relief issues that became barriers to a number of bills in the 103rd Congress.
Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues
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 dispute between states and industry groups was a legislative issue in the 104th Congress through an amendment to a House-passed Clean Water Act re-authorization bill; the Senate did not act on that bill.
Delegation of the Federal Power of Eminent Domain to Nonfederal Entities
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.
Flood Insurance Requirements for Stafford Act Assistance
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.
Water Rights Related to Oil Shale Development in the Upper Colorado River Basin
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.
Wetlands Regulation and the Law of Property Rights "Takings"
No Description Available.
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues
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.
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: Program Overview and Issues
In the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996 (P.L. 104-182), Congress 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. Under the program, states receive capitalization grants to make loans to water systems for drinking water projects and certain other SDWA activities. Since the program was first funded in FY1997, Congress has provided $7.8 billion, including roughly $844 million for FY2005. The President has requested $850 million for FY2006. Through June 2004, the DWSRF program had provided $7.9 billion in assistance and had supported 6,500 projects.
Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA's Regulatory Program
No Description Available.
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description Available.
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description Available.
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description Available.
Upper Mississippi River - Illinois Waterway Navigation Expansion: An Agricultural Transportation and Environmental Context
No Description Available.
Upper Mississippi River - Illinois Waterway Navigation Expansion: An Agricultural Transportation and Environmental Context
No Description Available.
Hurricane-Damaged Drinking Water and Wastewater Facilities: Impacts, Needs, and Response
No Description Available.
Hydropower License Conditions and the Relicensing Process
No Description Available.
Hydropower License Conditions and the Relicensing Process
No Description Available.
Hydropower Licenses and Relicensing Conditions: Current Issues and Legislative Activity
No Description Available.
Hydropower Licenses and Relicensing Conditions: Current Issues and Legislative Activity
No Description Available.