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.
In December 2007, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held their 13th annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia, and began the process of working toward an agreement/treaty that would succeed the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC when it expires in 2012. The Protocol includes a mandate for a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 developed/industrialized nations to an average of some 5% below their 1990 levels over the commitment period 2008-2012. The broad array of these issues, briefly discussed in this report, has been described by some as comprising perhaps the most complex negotiations ever undertaken internationally.
This report discusses four general areas related to open ocean aquaculture: (1) operational and business-related challenges; (2) potential economic impacts; (3) potential environmental impacts; and (4) the legal and regulatory environment. It summarizes recent executive and legislative branch actions.
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are chemicals that do not break down easily in the environment, tend to accumulate as they move up the food chain, and may be harmful to people and wildlife. Between 1998 and 2001, the United States signed tow international treaties and one executive agreement to reduce the production and use of POPs and to regulate the trade and disposal of them. This report discusses these treaties in detail, as well as their ratification process and U.S. statutes that are inconsistent with these treaties.
This report gives an overview of issues involved in the provisions of the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-234, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act). It includes a brief overview describing environmental services markets, benefits and barriers, recent Congressional action related to the topics, and possible considerations.