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Sustainable Agriculture

Description: The term "sustainable agriculture" is used to designate both a reduced-chemical approach to farming and an alternative political viewpoint on the distribution of economic and social benefits in the farm sector. In practice, sustainable agriculture is characterized by the substitution of more intensive farm resource management--generally involving more labor--for purchased inputs of fertilizers and pesticides. It comprises a range of practices that include integrated pest management (which may include pesticide applications), nonintensive livestock production, crop rotations for pest, disease, and erosion control, and alternative tillage and planting practices to reduce soil erosion.
Date: October 25, 1995
Creator: Rawson, Jean M.
open access

The Farm Bill: Soil and Water Conservation Issues

Description: This report discusses resource conservation topics, which are a part of the farm bill debate. Debate on existing programs focuses on reauthorization of the Conservation Reserve Program and possible amendments to the reserve, swampbuster, and conservation compliance.
Date: December 29, 1995
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A.
open access

California Air Quality FIP - A Fact Sheet

Description: On April 10, 1995, President Clinton signed P.L. 104-6, which contained a provision that rescinds the Federal air quality implementation plan (FIP) for the South Coast, Ventura, and Sacramento areas of California.(1) As a result, the FIP issued by EPA has no further force and effect, and California will continue pursuing approval of its own State implementation plan (SIP) in lieu of the FIP. Promulgation of the FIP was perceived by some within the State as having a detrimental effect on California's industries and economy resulting from costly and burdensome air pollution control measures contained in the plan.
Date: April 13, 1995
Creator: Mayer, Susan L.
open access

Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate: Marine Mammal Issues

Description: After global warming became a concern in the mid-1950s, researchers proposed measuring deep ocean temperatures to reveal any significant trends in core ocean warming. Acoustic thermometry can detect changes in ocean temperature by receiving low-frequency sounds transmitted across an ocean basin because the speed of sound is proportional to water temperature. Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate, or ATOC, is an international program involving 11 institutions in seven nations. It is designed as a 30-month "proof-of-concept" project to provide data on possible global climate change, with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Defense. A debate has arisen over ATOC's impact on marine mammals versus the benefits of better global warming information derived from ATOC. This report dicusses the ATOC program and related concerns.
Date: May 12, 1995
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.
open access

Implementing Acid Rain Legislation

Description: This report discusses the broad-ranging provisions in Title IV of The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (P.L. 101-549), which raise myriad implementation issues, particularly with respect to the system of tradable "allowances."
Date: April 5, 1995
Creator: Parker, Larry
open access

General Overview of United States Antitrust Law

Description: This report presents brief summaries of (1) the primary United States antitrust statutes, and (2) some of the activities which are generally considered to be violations of those laws. There is also some reference to the prohibition against unfair competition and the "unfairness" jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). There is not, however, any discussion of the extraterritorial reach of the United States antitrust laws. Further, the laws whose descriptions follow do not constitute all of the statutes which are applicable to antitrust issues, but rather, constitute those which are most often utilized.
Date: January 11, 1995
Creator: Rubin, Janice E.
open access

The Property Rights Issue

Description: The property rights issue arises because societal goals are sometimes pursued through government restrictions on the use of private property. At bottom, it is the age-old conflict between public goals and private rights.
Date: January 20, 1995
Creator: Meltz, Robert
open access

Courts Rulings During 1994 on Constitutional Taking Claims Against the United States

Description: In 1994, the second session of the 103rd Congress saw the political pressure exerted by property rights bills ascend new heights. Members supporting property rights legislation sought to add such provisions to nearly every major environmental bill. Opponents, including several committee chairmen, therefore declined to move the bills, and gridlock resulted.
Date: July 19, 1995
Creator: Meltz, Robert
open access

Investigative Oversight: An Introduction to the Law, Practice and Procedure of Congressional Inquiry

Description: This report will provide an overview of some of the more common legal, procedural and practical issues, questions, and problems that committees have faced in the course of an investigation. Following a summary of the case law developing the scope and limitations of the power of inquiry, the essential tools of investigative oversight--subpoenas, staff interviews and depositions, grants of immunity, and the contempt power -- are described. Next, some of the special problems of investigating the executive are detailed, with particular emphasis on claims of presidential executive privilege, the problems raised by attempts to access information with respect to open or closed civil or criminal investigative matters, or to obtain information that is part of the agency deliberative process, and the effect on congressional access of statutory prohibitions on public disclosure. The discussion then focuses on various procedural and legal requirements that accompany the preparation for, and conduct of, an investigative hearing, including matters concerning jurisdiction, particular rules and requirements for the conduct of such proceedings, and the nature, applicability and scope of certain constitutional and common law testimonial privileges that may be claimed by witnesses. The case law and practice respecting the rights of minority party members during the investigative process is also reviewed. The report concludes with a description of the roles played by the offices of House General Counsel and Senate Legal Counsel in such investigations.
Date: April 7, 1995
Creator: Rosenberg, Morton
open access

The Committee System in the U.S. Congress

Description: Due to the high volume and complexity of its work, Congress divides its tasks among approximately 44 committees with 154 subcommittees. The House and Senate each has its own committee systems, which are similar. Within chamber guidelines, however, each committee adopts its own rules; thus, there is considerable variation among panels.
Date: May 10, 1995
Creator: Hardy-Vincent, Carol
open access

North Korea's Campaign Against the Korean Armistice

Description: The 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement, ending the Korean War, established mechanisms to enforce the armistice along a military demarcation line separating North and South Korea. Since April 1994, North Korea has acted to dismantle these mechanisms as a means of pressuring the United States to replace the Armistice Agreement with a U.S.-North Korean peace agreement, excluding South Korea. U.S.-South Korean responses to North Korea's responses to North Korea's moves have been largely rhetorical, which raises the question of future responses if North Korea escalates its campaign.
Date: December 11, 1995
Creator: Niksch, Larry A.
open access

Chemical Agent Attacks in Japan

Description: The release of the nerve agent Sarin in Tokyo's subway system on March 20, marks the first clearly non-state terrorist use of chemical weapons. The agent was highly diluted andmfatalities were relatively few (10), though the number of injured was substantial (5,000+, with 600 hospitalized). This incident clearly indicates the potential political effectiveness of chemical weapons against an unprotected civilian population. Once a population has been sensitized by an incident like this, even the threat of CW can become significantly disruptive. Some have credited fear of another attack with contributing to the cautiousness of the Japanese police investigation
Date: May 4, 1995
Creator: Bowman, Steven R.
open access

Southeast Asian Security: Issues for the U.S.

Description: Policymakers on both sides of the Pacific turned their attention to Southeast Asian security issues in late July 1995. The occasion was the Annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)[1] ministers' meeting; followed by the annual post-ministerial "dialogue" among the ASEAN and other Asian- Pacific ministers (including the U.S. Secretary of State); followed in turn by the second annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), a nascent security framework for the area including participation by the U.S., China, Japan, and Russia.
Date: August 24, 1995
Creator: Sutter, Robert G.
open access

Cost-Benefit Analysis: Issues in Its Use in Regulation

Description: This report sketches issues underlying broader use of cost-benefit analysis. It focuses on cost-benefit as one of several related frameworks for assessing regulatory actions or policies. Cost-benefit is the broadest of these frameworks, which also include impact assessment, risk assessment, and cost-effectiveness. Which analytical framework is appropriate depends on the regulatory context.
Date: June 28, 1995
Creator: Moore, John L.
open access

Tax Incentives for Alcohol Fuels

Description: The blender's tax credits were specifically enacted to complement the excise tax exemptions, so as to help support farm incomes by finding another market for corn, sugar, and other agricultural products that are the basic raw materials for alcohol production. More recently, proponents of expanding the alcohol fuels tax incentives argue that they reduce smog and improve air quality.
Date: February 9, 1995
Creator: Lazzari, Salvatore
open access

Implementation of the Reformulated Gasoline Program

Description: The Clean Air Act (CAA) was amended in 1990 requiring the sale of cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline (RFG) in the nine worst nonattainment areas. Since the program began on January 1, 1995, legislation has been introduced to delay or repeal the requirement. RFG must contain oxygenates and should result in a 15 percent reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and air toxins. While the CAA was being debated, affected parties (e.g., automobile manufacturers, oil industry, and agricultural interests) did not agree on whether and how gasoline should be reformulated.
Date: August 1, 1995
Creator: Mayer, Susan L.; Kumins, Lawrence C. & Segal, Migdon
open access

World Oil Production After Year 2000: Business As Usual or Crises?

Description: Deficient productive capacity has not yet caused an oil crisis, but that does not mean it never will. Significant increases in world oil demand will have to be met primarily from Persian Gulf supplies. This is a region with a history of wars, illegal occupations, soups, revolutions, sabotage, terrorism, and oil embargoes. To these possibilities may be added growing Islamist movements with various antipathies to the West. If oil production were constrained, oil prices could rise abruptly along with adverse world economic repercussions. If the IEA and EIA are correct on the demand side, deficient world oil productive capacity could cause an oil crisis within 15 years and political disruptions in Saudi Arabia could cause one sooner. However, if the increases in world oil demand were more moderate, and there is long-term relative peace in the Middle East, with increasing foreign participation in upstream oil activities, a business as usual world oil demand and supply situation would be a likely scenario for much of the next century.
Date: August 18, 1995
Creator: Riva, Joseph P
open access

Voluntary Programs to Reduce Pollution

Description: This report provides information concerning voluntary pollution prevention programs administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. Over the past 5 years, under both Republican and Democratic Administrations, the Environmental Protection Agency has developed a wide range of such programs and policies aiming to prevent pollution, improve efficiency, simplify compliance, and recognize or reward companies and organizations taking voluntary pollution prevention steps.
Date: July 13, 1995
Creator: McCarthy, James E.
open access

International Forest Agreements: Current Status

Description: Over the past decade, there has been extensive public concern about loss of forests around the world. Attention to the rapid rate of tropical deforestation accelerated during the late 1980's as concern about global climate change emerged; at the time, the extensive burning of forests in Brazil (and the consequent release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere) was a major concern.
Date: September 11, 1995
Creator: Fletcher, Susan R.
open access

Department of Energy Abolition? Implications for the Nuclear Weapons Program

Description: This report considers how abolition might affect the U.S. nuclear weapons program. It provides background on the weapons program and the debate on what organization should control it; summarizes the debate over managing the program, including criticisms of DOE’s management and issues in deciding where to place the program, and presents four options for the weapons program. It considers pros and cons for each option. This report should be of value for understanding consequences of alternative organizational “homes” for the weapons program for those considering legislation to abolish DOE.
Date: September 29, 1995
Creator: Medalia, Jonathan
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