Congressional Research Service Reports - 9 Matching Results

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Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies

Description: Mountaintop removal mining involves removing the top of a mountain in order to recover the coal seams contained there. This practice occurs in several Appalachian states. It creates an immense quantity of excess spoil (dirt and rock that previously composed the mountaintop), which is typically placed in valley fills on the sides of the former mountains, burying streams that flow through the valleys. Critics say that, as a result of valley fills, stream water quality and the aquatic and wildlife habitat that streams support are destroyed by tons of rocks and dirt. The mining industry argues that mountaintop mining is essential to conducting surface coal mining in the Appalachian region and that surface coal mining would not be economically feasible there if producers were restricted from using valleys for the disposal of mining overburden. Mountaintop mining is regulated under several laws, including the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. This report provides background on regulatory requirements, controversies, and legal challenges to regulation of mountaintop mining. Congressional attention to these issues, including legislation that would restrict the practice (H.R. 1310, the Clean Water Protection Act, and S. 696, the Appalachia Restoration Act), also is discussed.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cars and Climate: What Can EPA Do to Control Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources?

Description: This report discusses legislation being considered by congress to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change. It discusses the EPA's authority under Title II and provides information regarding the mobile sources that might be regulated under this authority. Among these sources, motor vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks, including SUVs) are assumed to be the most likely initial targets for regulation, both because a petition addressing these sources began EPA's consideration of the endangerment issue, and because these are the most significant GHG emission sources among those covered by Title II.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: McCarthy, James E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Insolvency of Systemically Significant Financial Companies: Bankruptcy vs. Conservatorship/Receivership

Description: This report first discusses the purposes behind the creation of a separate insolvency regime for depository institutions. The report then compares and contrasts the characteristics of depository institutions with systemically significant financial companies (SSFCs). Next, the report provides a brief analysis of some important differences between the FDIC's conservatorship/receivership authority and that of the Bankruptcy Code.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Carpenter, David H.
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 regulation redefining two key terms, "fill material" and "discharge of fill material," in rules that implement Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This report discusses the 2002 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: April 20, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: This report discusses the Clean Water Act that contains two different permitting regimes: (1) Section 402 permits (called the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, permit program) address the discharge of most pollutants, and (2) Section 404 permits address the discharge of dredged or fill material into navigable waters of the United States at specified sites. These permit programs differ in nature and approach.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Intelligence Issues for Congress

Description: This report explores the various issues currently facing Congress in regards to intelligence and counterterrorism activities, including the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458), signed in December 2004; the position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI), which that act created; the importance of collaborative efforts between various intelligence agencies to successfully carry out counterterrorism measures; and other pieces of legislation relevant to such matters.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Best, Richard A., Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy

Description: This report describes the open economy and society of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as U.S. concern over proliferation of advanced technology due to said open economy and the UAE's lax export controls. This report describes these issues in relation to a recently-signed U.S.-UAE civilian nuclear agreement. It also provides a general description of the UAE's government and political structure, as well as the effects of the recent global economic downturn on the UAE in general and on the city of Dubai in particular.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department