Congressional Research Service Reports - 65 Matching Results

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Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues. Some general issues include Arctic territorial disputes; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic, which could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation or competition.
EPA's Role in Emergency Planning and Notification at Chemical Facilities
This report reviews the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) authorities regarding risk management, emergency planning, and release notification, among others, at chemical facilities. In doing so, it describes the statutory authorities--and makes note of some of the more prominent, subsequent regulations--as provided by the following: facility risk management planning requirements under Section 112(r)(7) of the Clean Air Act (CAA); emergency planning notification requirements under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA); emergency release notification requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA); duties of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, known as the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), under Section 112(r)(6) of the CAA; and toxic release inventory reporting requirements under EPCRA.
Paris Agreement: United States, China Move to Become Parties to Climate Change Treaty
This report discusses the Paris agreement, which was negotiated under the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and where President Obama and China's President Xi Jinping synchronously deposited their nations' signed instruments with U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon.
Climate Change: Frequently Asked Questions about the 2015 Paris Agreement
This report discusses the frequently asked questions about the 2015 Paris Agreement (PA). The PA opened for signature by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on April 22, 2016, at U.N. headquarters in New York City.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): FY2016 Appropriations
This report presents a discussion of the FY2015 enacted appropriations and requested funding for FY2016 for selected EPA programs and activities highlighted in the congressional debate.
EPA's New Ozone Standards: A Few Thoughts
This report discusses the EPA's review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). After several years of analysis, EPA proposed more stringent standards last November. This began a public comment period, leading toward the final decision.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues. Issues such as Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation or competition.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet. Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The operational U.S. polar icebreaking fleet currently consists of one heavy polar icebreaker, Polar Star, and one medium polar icebreaker, Healy.
EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"
This report describes the March 25 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
EPA Standards for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Power Plants: Many Questions, Some Answers
This report discusses the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) proposals for electric generating units (EGU) Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Climate Change Legislation in the 113th Congress
Report regarding legislative actions that explicitly address climate change issues. The provisions in these bills fall into six general categories: carbon price (i.e., tax or fee) on greenhouse (GHG) emissions; other mechanisms intended to encourage mitigation of GHG emissions (e.g., sequestration of emissions); research on climate change-related issues; adaptation activities related to expected climate change impacts; support for international climate change-related activities; and action that limits or prohibits climate change-related authorities, efforts, or considerations.
Climate Change Science: Key Points
This report discusses the climate change science, that though often is portrayed as controversial there is a broad scientific agreement over many points. The report provides data on long-term temperature observations, estimate of human-related versus solar contributions to global temperature change over the 20th century, estimated top 20 emitting nations of greenhouse gases in 2010, and sea ice extent in Arctic (September) and Antarctica (April), 1979 to 2012
Clean Water Act and Pollutant Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)
This report discusses the total maximum daily load (TMDL) program which regulates pollutants to ensure that water quality standards can be attained; section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires states to identify waters that are impaired by pollution, even after application of pollution controls. The report focuses on new challenges facing the TMDL program, including more complex TMDLs, larger scale impairments, and nonpoint sources.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013
Report that looks at appropriations for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) FY 2013.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
Army Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects: Authorization and Appropriations
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attracts congressional attention because its projects can have significant local and regional economic benefits and environmental effects, in addition to their water resource development purposes. This report provides an overview of the Corps civil works program. It covers the congressional authorization and appropriation process, the standard project development process, and other Corps activities and authorities. It also includes an Appendix on the evolution of Corps civil works missions and authorities and a description of the limits on the Corps' role in levee accreditation and improvements for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The Coast Guard's two heavy polar icebreakers - Polar Star and Polar Sea - have exceeded their intended 30-year service lives. Following a decision to design and build one or more new polar icebreakers, the first replacement polar icebreaker might enter service in eight to 10 years, by which time Polar Star and Polar Sea could be more than 40 years old. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify Coast Guard plans for modernizing its polar icebreakers. Congressional decisions on this issue could affect the Coast Guard's ability to perform its polar missions, Coast Guard funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Marine Protected Areas: An Overview
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are generally defined as areas reserved by law or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment. This report identifies a number of issues related to establishing MPAs in the United States. It begins by defining the concept and administrative actions taken to provide spatial protection in marine areas. It then considers some of the key issues and potential benefits and costs of designating additional MPAs. It concludes by considering potential areas of congressional interest for the 111th Congress. Existing federal laws related to the use of MPAs are summarized in the Appendix.
Regulating Coal Combustion Waste Disposal: Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the current rulemaking for Coal combustion waste (CCW) and relevant background information that applies to that rulemaking. In particular, the report describes the nature of the waste itself and primary methods of managing it; discusses potential risks associated with its mismanagement, particularly as supported by new data EPA has gathered to support the proposed rulemaking; and provides an overview of EPA's current regulatory proposal.
Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background and Governance
This report provides background information regarding oil spills in U.S. coastal waters and identifies the legal authorities governing oil spill prevention, response, and cleanup. Based on data between 1973 and 2009, the annual number and volume of oil spills have shown declines- in some cases, dramatic declines.
Clean Air Issues in the 111th Congress
This report provides a brief overview on the issue of climate change as well as other Clean Air Act issues of interest to the 111th Congress.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
Methane Capture: Options for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction
This report discusses legislative alternatives for addressing methane capture, sources of methane, opportunities and challenges for methane capture, and current federal programs that support methane recovery.
Do Not Mail Initiatives and Their Potential Effects: Possible Issues for Congress
This report examines the state level initiatives to create Do Not Mail (DNM) registries, and analyzes their potential effects on the environment and the economy should they be implemented. It also notes, but does not exhaustively analyze, possible constitutional impediments to state DNM registries. In addition, the report reviews existing methods to reduce or eliminate the delivery of unsolicited advertising mail. This report concludes with federal legislative options that could affect direct mail marketing.
National Environmental Education Act of 1990: Overview, Implementation, and Issues for Congress
This report summarizes major provisions of the National Environmental Education Act of 1990, discusses appropriations for activities authorized in that statute, examines the implementation of these activities, and analyzes key issues and relevant legislation.
Clean Water Act: Legislation Concerning Discharges from Recreational Boats
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.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
The Endangered Species Act and "Sound Science"
This report provides a context for evaluating legislative proposals through examples of how science has been used in selected cases, a discussion of the nature and role of science in general, and its role in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) process in particular, together with general and agency information quality requirements and policies, and a review of how the courts have viewed agency use of science.
Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress
This report provides an overview of seven prominent air issues of interest in the 109th Congress: revision of the particulate standards; multi-pollutant (or Clear Skies) legislation for electric power plants; mercury from power plants; New Source Review; the gasoline additives MTBE and ethanol; ozone nonattainment area deadlines; and the “conformity” of transportation and clean air planning.
The Wetlands Coverage of the Clean Water Act is Revisited by the Supreme Court: Rapanos v. United States
This report discusses the Supreme Court decision in Rapanos v. United States, which addressed the asserted jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over wetlands adjacent to "waters of the United States," the problematic phrase used by the Clean Water Act (CWA) to define the geographic scope of the act's wetlands permitting program.
Emergency Waiver of EPA Regulations: Authorities and Legislative Proposals in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
This report reviews some of the environmental laws that could affect response and recovery actions, discusses existing waiver authority, and identifies issues raised by proposals to grant new waiver authority. The focus of the report is on regulatory programs administered by EPA, including the Clean Water Act, Superfund, and the Clean Air Act. In the short term, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, environmental regulations do not appear to have posed an obstacle to local, state, federal, or private response efforts, in part because existing waiver or flexibility provisions were used in certain cases.
Clean Water Act Issues in the 109th Congress
Congress has recently focused legislative attention on narrow bills to extend or modify selected Clean Water Act (CWA) programs, rather than taking up comprehensive proposals. In the 109th Congress, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved S. 1400, a bill authorizing $20 billion in federal grants to capitalize state clean water infrastructure loan programs. Also, a House committee has approved bills to reauthorize several Clean Water Act programs: H.R. 624 would provide $1.5 billion in grants over six years for sewer overflow projects; H.R. 1359 would extend a pilot program for alternative water source projects; H.R. 1721 would reauthorize coastal water quality programs; and H.R. 3963 would extend the Long Island Sound Program.
NEPA and Hurricane Response, Recovery, and Rebuilding Efforts
No Description Available.
Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress
In the Summer of 2005, Congress focused on several Clean Air Act Issues before the August recess. Although the Congressional agenda stated that attention would be given to the needed amendments of the Clear Skies/Multi-Pollutant Legislation, this progress was stalled, and the committee failed to approve the bill due to a tied vote. This otherwise stagnated debate was given some attention due to the discussions over mercury regulations as they apply to power plants. The outcome of the decision concerning these regulations has stirred controversy in at least fifteen states. Perhaps the most debated issue that Congress covered concerned MTBE and Ethanol, which have been used to meet the Clean Air Act requirements that reformulated gasoline (RFG), sold in the nation’s worst ozone nonattainment areas, contain at least 2% oxygen, to improve combustion. Air quality standard deadlines and provisions, specifically in the most severe ozone nonattainment areas, were discussed by Congress. Discussions over the Clean Air Act also sparked discussions over environmental regulations concerning related issues, including the Conformity of Transportation Plans and SIPs, and Hurricane Katrina.
Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress
In the Summer of 2005, Congress focused on several Clean Air Act Issues before the August recess. Although the Congressional agenda stated that attention would be given to the needed amendments of the Clear Skies/Multi-Pollutant Legislation, this progress was stalled, and the committee failed to approve the bill due to a tied vote. This otherwise stagnated debate was given some attention due to the discussions over mercury regulations as they apply to power plants. The outcome of the decision concerning these regulations has stirred controvery in at least fifteen states. Perhaps the most debated issue that Congress covered concerned MTBE and Ethanol, which have been used to meet the Clean Air Act requiremnets that reformulated gasoline(RFG), sold in the nation’s worst ozone nonattainment areas, contain at least 2% oxygen, to improve combustion. Air quality standard deadlines and provisions, specifically in the most severe ozone nonattainment areas, were discussed by Congress. Dsicussions over the Clean Air Act also sparked discussions over environmental regulations concerning related issues, including the Conformity of Transportation Plans and SIPs, and Hurricane Katrina.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 109th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. This report addresses several legislative options on the issue, as well as policymakers' arguments for and against development, especially in the wake of increasing terrorism since 2000-2001.
Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress
Climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a continuing issue in the 109th Congress. Bills directly addressing climate change issues range from those focused primarily on climate change research to comprehensive emissions cap-and-trade programs. Additional bills focus on GHG reporting and registries, or on power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, as part of wider controls on pollutant emissions. The bills vary in their approaches to climate change issues. This report briefly discusses the basic concepts on which these bills are based and compares major provisions of the bills in each of the following categories: climate change research, technology deployment, GHG reporting and registries, and emissions reduction programs.
Global Climate Change
No Description Available.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. This report addresses several legislative options on the issue, as well as policymakers' arguments for and against development, especially in the wake of increasing terrorism since 2000-2001.
Global Climate Change: Market-Based Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
No Description Available.
Environmental Protection Issues in the 108th Congress
The 108th Congress has acted on a variety of disparate environmental measures; some of these represent proposals or issues that had been under consideration in the 107th Congress and earlier. Environmental issues considered by Congress tend to fall into several major categories: (1) funding issues — whether funding levels are adequate and focused on appropriate priorities; (2) expanding, renewing, or refocusing specific environment programs; (3) environmental issues that are important “subsets” of other major areas of concern, such as energy, defense, or transportation programs; and more recently, (4) terrorism and infrastructure protection in areas such as wastewater and chemical facilities.
Brownfields and Superfund Issues in the 108th Congress
The Superfund program for cleaning up the nation’s worst hazardous waste sites was created by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, or CERCLA (P.L. 96-510, as amended). This report discusses recent development and background issues, superfund issues, revenue issues, comprehensive reauthorization, and legislation regarding superfund program.
Global Climate Change: Market-Based Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
This report discusses global climate change and the market-based strategies to reduce greenhouse gases.
The Environmental Protection Agency's FY2004 Budget
For FY2004, the President’s budget requested $7.6 billion in budget authority for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), $448 million (or 6%) less than the $8.1 billion current funding level. The House approved $8.0 billion in H.R. 2861 (H.Rept. 108-235) on July 25. Senate action is anticipated in September. The request consisted of $3.1 billion for EPA operating expenses, $3.1 billion for assisting state and local governments, and $1.4 billion for cleaning up Superfund toxic waste sites. Wastewater infrastructure needs and the future of Superfund are prominent topics.
Global Climate Change
This report discusses the effect of human activities on global climate change. Human activities, particularly burning of fossil fuels, have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and other trace gases, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methane, and nitrous oxide.
Global Climate Change: The Kyoto Protocol
This report discusses the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that was completed December 11, 1997, committing the industrialized nations to specified, legally binding reductions in emissions of six “greenhouse gases.”
Clean Air Act Issues in the 108th Congress
Clean air issues were discussed at length in the 107th Congress, but legislation was not enacted, leaving the same issues for possible consideration in the 108th. The most prominent air quality issues discussed in this report are; the controversy over EPA’s proposed changes to the New Source Review (NSR) requirements, Clear Skies / Multi-Pollutant Legislation, gasoline additive MTBE, Conformity of Transportation Plans and SIPs Deadlines for Achieving the Ozone Air Quality Standard.
The Role of Risk Analysis and Risk Management in Environmental Protection
No Description Available.
Environmental Streamlining Provisions in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century: Status of Implementation
At the state and local level, many observers have expressed long-standing concerns over delays, duplication of effort, and additional costs frequently associated with the environmental review process for highway projects that must be completed under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA, P.L. 91-190). To address these concerns, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA21, P.L. 105-178), enacted in 1998, requires the Federal Highway Administration(FHWA) to streamline the environmental review process for highway projects.