Congressional Research Service Reports - 75 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 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, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues.
EPA Policies Concerning Integrated Planning and Affordability of Water Infrastructure
This report examines recent initiatives by EPA, an integrated planning policy and a framework policy for assessing a community's financial capability to meet objectives and requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
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.
Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues
This report provides an overview of the rationale for the PGS mission and the possible deployment of conventional warheads on long-range ballistic missiles or boost-glide systems in support of this mission. It then reviews the Air Force and Navy efforts to develop these systems, and summarizes congressional reaction to these proposals.
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced?
This report focuses on enforcement of federal environmental pollution control requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA); the Clean Water Act (CWA); the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund); and other statutes for which EPA is the primary federal implementing agency.1 The report provides a brief synopsis of the statutory framework that serves as the basis for pollution control enforcement, including an overview of the key players responsible for correcting violations and maintaining compliance. Implementation and enforcement of pollution control laws are interdependent and carried out by a wide range of actors including federal, state, tribal, and local governments; the regulated entities themselves; the courts; interest groups; and the general public.
Army Corps of Engineers: Water Resource Authorizations, Appropriations, and Activities
This report summarizes congressional authorization and appropriations processes for the Corps. It also discusses agency activities under general authorities. Congress directs the Corps through authorizations, appropriations, and oversight of its studies, construction projects, and other activities.
EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?
This report provides background information on recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory activity to help address concerns surrounding its power. It examines 45 major or controversial regulatory actions taken by, or under development at, the EPA since January 2009, providing details on the regulatory action itself, presenting an estimated timeline for completion of the rule, and, in general, providing EPA's estimates of costs and benefits, where available. The report also discusses factors that affect the timeframe in which regulations take effect, including statutory and judicial deadlines, public comment periods, judicial review, and permitting procedures, the net results of which are that existing facilities are likely to have several years before being required to comply with most of the regulatory actions under discussion.
Water Infrastructure Projects Designated in EPA Appropriations: Trends and Policy Implications
This report discusses appropriations for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water infrastructure programs, focusing on congressional special project designations in the account that funds these programs. While some Members of Congress, interest groups, and Administration officials are critical of these types of congressional actions, there is little indication that the practice will cease. Information on the programmatic history of EPA involvement in assisting wastewater treatment and drinking water projects also is provided in two appendixes.
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened concerns about the region's future. 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, competition, or conflict. 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.
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response
The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, and the resulting oil spill began a cascade of effects on the coastal areas of the Gulf and on the wealth of species that inhabit those areas. This report addresses the importance of wetlands in general, the ecology of the coastal wetlands in the Gulf, impacts of oil spills on wetland habitats, response options, the implications of hurricane season for the spill's impacts, and cleanup and recovery issues. The emphasis is on the nearshore environment, although a few species found in deeper waters will be mentioned. In addition, some lessons from past spills such as the Exxon Valdez in Alaska will be discussed, along with issues that may arise as response and recovery transition to restoration of the Gulf.
Pesticide Use and Water Quality: Are the Laws Complementary or in Conflict?
This report provides background on the conflict over interpretation and implementation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act. A brief discussion of the two laws is followed by a review of the major litigation of interest. EPA's efforts to clarify its policy in this area and the November 2006 rule and the 2009 federal court ruling are discussed, as well as possible options for EPA and Congress to further address the FIFRA-CWA issues. In June, EPA proposed a draft general CWA permit that it intends to finalize by April 2011 in response to the court ruling.
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened concerns about the region's future. 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, competition, or conflict. 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.
Environmental Laws: Summaries of Major Statutes Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency
This report summarizes several federal statutes providing legal authority for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) programs and activities. These include: the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Ocean Dumping Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Solid Waste Disposal Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA), the Emergency Planning Act, and the Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
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.
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.
Natural Gas Passenger Vehicles: Availability, Cost, and Performance
Higher gasoline prices and concerns over U.S. oil dependence have raised interest in natural gas vehicles (NGVs). Use of NGVs for personal transportation has focused on compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative to gasoline. Consumer interest has grown, both for new NGVs as well as for conversions of existing personal vehicles to run on CNG. This report finds that the market for natural gas vehicles will likely remain limited unless the differential between natural gas and gasoline prices remains high in order to offset the higher purchase price for an NGV. Conversions of existing vehicles will also continue to be restricted unless the Clean Air Act (CAA) is amended or if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) makes changes to its enforcement of the CAA.
Are Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rising More Rapidly Than Expected?
This report discusses the recent emissions estimates with the greenhouse gas (GHG) and addresses the question, are carbon dioxide emissions rising more rapidly than expected?
Perchlorate Conatmination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions
Perchlorate is the explosive component of solid rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares, and other products and is used heavily by the Department of Defense (DOD) and other industries. Perchlorate also occurs naturally. This compound has been detected in drinking water supplies, especially in California. It also has been found in milk and many foods. Because of this widespread occurrence, concern over the potential health risks of perchlorate exposure has increased, and some states and Member of Congress have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a drinking water standard for perchlorate. This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and developments.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields Program: Scope, Authorities, and Implementation
The federal role in assisting states and communities to clean up brownfield sites -- real property affected by the potential presence of environmental contamination -- has been an ongoing issue for more than a decade. While there appears to be a broad consensus that a federal role in the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields is desirable, issues regarding the degree of financial assistance and overall program effectiveness have been raised.
Administering Green Programs in Congress: Issues and Options
This report discusses "green" programs and the higher profile they have gained in the 110th Congress. "Green" programs are those designed to create an environmentally friendly work environment and conserve energy. This report discusses initiatives and policy options that would improve the "greening" process on Capitol Hill.
EPA's Final Health and Safety Standard for Yucca Mountain
This report discusses the awaited revision of the 2001 Public Health and Safety Standard for the proposed Yucca Mountain deep geologic repository, high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.
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.
Clean Air Issues in the 110th Congress: Climate Change, Air Quality Standards, and Oversight
This report provides a brief overview of the climate change issue as well as other Clean Air Act issues the 110th Congress may consider.
Polar Bears: Proposed Listing Under the Endangered Species Act
This report discusses the polar bear status and they are affected by climate change, contaminants, and subsistence and sport hunting.
Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants
This report discusses the section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, which requires states to identify waters that are impaired by pollution, even after application of pollution controls. For those waters, states must establish a total maximum daily load (TMDL) of pollutants to ensure that water quality standards can be attained. Implementation of this provision has been dormant until recently, when states and EPA were prodded by numerous lawsuits. The TMDL issue has become controversial, in part because of requirements and costs now facing states to implement a 25-year-old provision of the law. Congressional activity to reauthorize the Act, a possibility in the 2nd Session of the 105th Congress, could include TMDL issues, but the direction for any such action is unclear at this time.
Brief Summaries of Federal Animal Protection Statutes
This report contains brief summaries of federal animal protection statutes, listed alphabetically. It includes statutes enacted to implement treaties, those that protect certain groups of animals (e.g., protection of "game" animals rather than predators), statutes to conserve fish, statutes that allow the disabled to use service animals, and statutes aimed at acts of animal rights advocates (the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, and the Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act of 1994).
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.
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.
Military Base Closures: Role and Cost of Environmental Cleanup
This report explains cleanup requirements for the transfer and reuse of properties on closed military bases, discusses property transfer status and cleanup costs on bases closed in prior rounds, and examines estimates of costs to clean up bases to be closed in the 2005 round to make these properties safe for civilian reuse.
Military Base Closures: Role and Costs of Environmental Cleanup
This report explains cleanup requirements for the transfer and reuse of properties on closed bases, discusses property transfer status and cleanup costs on bases closed in prior rounds, and examines estimates of costs to clean up bases to be closed in the 2005 round to make these properties safe for civilian reuse.
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.
Arsenic in Drinking Water: Regulatory Develpoments and Issues
This report discusses issues regarding the arsenic’s health effects and how to reduce the uncertainty in assessing health risks associated with exposure to low levels of arsenic. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the current standard of 50 parts per billion (ppb) in 1975. . This report reviews EPA efforts to develop a new arsenic rule and summarizes key provisions and subsequent events.
Cleanup After Hurricane Katrina: Environmental Considerations
This report aims to provide an overview of the immediate and intermediate cleanup tasks across the diverse communities in the affected region, and federal legal authorities and plans for tackling them. The report also discusses coordinated roles and activities among local, state, and federal agencies and officials. Finally, the report serves to reference other, more detailed CRS reports and other sources on particular Katrina cleanup activities.
Global Climate Change
This report briefly reviews the status of climate science, international negotiations, and congressional activity focused specifically on climate change.
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
This report discusses the Superfund program for cleaning up the nation's worst hazardous waste sites, created by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, or CERCLA (P.L. 96-510, as amended). It includes recent development and background issues, superfund issues, revenue issues, comprehensive reauthorization, and legislation regarding superfund program.
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 Water Act Issues in the 108th Congress
The Clean Water Act Issues has again received attention in the 108th Congress. At issue is how the federal government will assist states and cities in meeting needs to rebuild, repair, and upgrade wastewater treatment plants, especially in light of capital costs which are projected to be as much as $390 billion over the next two decades. In October 2004, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reported legislation to authorize $20 billion in funding for clean water infrastructure (S. 2550), while in July 2003, a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee also approved a water infrastructure financing bill (H.R. 1560). Still, prospects for further action during the 108th Congress are uncertain.
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.
Clean Air Act Issues in the 108th Congress
The conference report on the energy bill (H.R. 6), which came to the House and Senate floor for action the week of November 17, 2003, contained several Clean Air Act provisions. Most of these are also contained in S. 2095, a revised version of the bill introduced February 12, 2004, and in H.R. 4503, which passed the House June 15, 2004. Most of the air provisions concern the gasoline additives MTBE and ethanol, used to meet 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.
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.
Brownfields and Superfund Issues in the 108th Congress
This report discusses recent development and background issues, superfund issues, revenue issues, comprehensive reauthorization, and legislation regarding superfund program.
Brownfields and Superfund Issues in the 108th Congress
This report discusses the Superfund program designed 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
No Description Available.
Clean Water Act Issues in the 108th Congress
In this report several other Clean Water Act issues are likely to receive congressional attention, through oversight hearings and possibly in legislative proposals. Among the topics of interest is whether and how the Administration will revise the current program for restoration of pollution-impaired waters (the Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL program), in view of controversy over regulatory changes made during the Clinton Administration and continuing disagreement among states, cities, industry, and environmental advocates about program effectiveness and efficiency.
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
No Description Available.