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Monday, July 30, 2012

Water Resources and Water Quality: CRS Experts


Betsy A. Cody
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Mary Tiemann
Specialist in Environmental Policy

The federal role in water resource management and water quality is varied and involves many different congressional committees, federal departments, and agencies. Consequently, there are many overlaps in coverage of major policy issues and related statutes (e.g., Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Water Resources Development Act, and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act). This table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on major water quality and water resource policy issues facing the Congress. Broad policy areas include federal financing; water quality; water resource development, management, and use; aquatic resources management and protection; water rights and compacts; water security; and the water-energy nexus. (See also CRS Report R40882, Flooding Events: CRS Experts; and CRS Report R42610, Drought in the United States: CRS Experts.)


Date of Report: July 17, 2012
Number of Pages: 4
Order Number: R42617
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The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System: A Brief Overview


Sandra L. Johnson
Information Research Specialist

Laura B. Comay
Analyst in Natural Resources

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 (P.L. 90-542, 16 U.S.C. §§1271 et seq.) created the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The act established a policy of preserving designated free-flowing rivers for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations and to complement the then-current national policy of constructing dams and other structures along many rivers.

River units designated as part of the system are classified and administered as wild, scenic, or recreational rivers, based on the condition of the river, the amount of development in the river or on the shorelines, and the degree of accessibility by road or trail at the time of designation. Typically, rivers are added to the system by an act of Congress, but they may also be added by state nomination with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior. Congress initially designated 789 miles of eight rivers as part of the system. Today there are 203 river units with 12,597.1 miles in 39 states and Puerto Rico, administered by federal agencies—typically the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, or the Fish and Wildlife Service— or by state, local, or tribal governments.

This report gives a brief overview of the designation, management, and funding of rivers in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. It also discusses recent legislation to designate, study, extend, or make other changes to specific components of the system.


Date of Report: July 18, 2012
Number of Pages: 10
Order Number: R42614
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Friday, July 27, 2012

National Forest System (NFS) Roadless Area Initiatives


Kristina Alexander
Legislative Attorney

Roadless areas in the National Forest System (NFS) have received special attention for decades. Many want to protect their relatively pristine conditions; others want to use the areas in more developed ways.

Two different roadless area policies have been offered in the last decade. On January 12, 2001, the Clinton Administration established a nationwide approach to managing roadless areas in the National Forest System to protect their pristine conditions. The Nationwide Rule, as it will be called in this report, generally prohibited road construction and reconstruction and timber harvesting in all 58.5 million acres of inventoried roadless areas, with significant exceptions. The Bush Administration initially postponed the effective date of the Nationwide Rule, then issued its own rule on May 13, 2005, superseding the Nationwide Rule which allowed states to plan how roadless areas would be managed. This rule, referred to in this report as the State Petitions Rule, allowed governors to petition the Secretary of Agriculture for a special rule for managing the inventoried roadless areas in their states. Both rules were heavily litigated. The Ninth Circuit ultimately held in 2009 that the Nationwide Rule should be in place, and the Tenth Circuit agreed two years later.

While the legal challenges were being decided, the Forest Service changed how it managed roadless areas. In 2006, following a California district court ruling that the State Petitions Rule had not been adopted properly, the Forest Service allowed governors to petition for a roadless area management rule for their states under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Idaho and Colorado filed petitions under the APA process in 2006. The Idaho Rule was approved in October 2008, and upheld by a federal court in 2011.

Following the Ninth Circuit 2009 decision upholding the Nationwide Rule, the Secretary of Agriculture did not begin applying that rule, but instead, reserved decisions related to timber harvesting and road construction in roadless areas to the Secretary. Much of that authority was subsequently delegated to the Chief of the Forest Service.

Because Colorado twice amended its petition, a proposed rule for Colorado roadless areas was not issued until April 15, 2011. In that proposed rule, the Forest Service recommended more than twice as many acres to be protected at the highest level—from 257,000 acres in the state’s petition to 562,200 acres in the proposed rule. The final rule, announced July 3, 2012, increased that amount to 1.2 million acres. According to the Forest Service, the rule is more protective than the Nationwide Rule, but since it allows road construction in approximately 3 million acres, some may disagree with that assessment.

The Tongass National Forest has taken its own route. At first, it was included in the Nationwide Rule, but then was temporarily exempted from the rule. That temporary exemption seemed moot when the State Petitions Rule came into effect, but after the 2009 Ninth Circuit ruling that the Nationwide Rule applied, it was unclear whether the Tongass was still exempt. In March 2011, a federal court ruled it was not, and that the roadless areas in the Tongass National Forest were covered under the Nationwide Rule. Proposed legislation (H.R. 2526/ S. 1357) appears intended to remove the Tongass from the rule’s application.


Date of Report: July 17, 2012
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: RL30647
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fish and Wildlife Service: FY2013 Appropriations and Policy


M. Lynne Corn
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

The annual Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriation funds agencies and programs in three federal departments, as well as numerous related agencies and bureaus. Among the agencies represented is the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in the Department of the Interior. Many of its programs are among the more controversial of those funded in the bill. For FY2013, the House Committee on Appropriations approved H.R. 6091, a bill containing $1.16 billion for FWS, down 21.5% from the FY2012 level of $1.48 billion contained the Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 112-74, Division E, H.Rept. 112-331). The President requested $1.55 billion, an increase of 4.9% over the FY2012 level. Relative to the FY2012 level, reductions in the various accounts and most subaccounts ranged from 6.0% down to elimination, although four subaccounts were held at the FY2012 levels. No increases were approved. Other highlights of the bill include the following:

  • $1.04 billion for Resource Management, by far the largest account in the FWS budget, and a reduction of 15.1% from the FY2012 level. 
  • Rejection of an Administration proposal to reduce funding for national fish hatcheries from $46.1 million to $43.2 million, despite a controversy over appropriate funding for hatcheries intended to mitigate other agencies’ water projects. 
  • $3.0 million for Cooperative Landscape Conservation and Adaptive Science, a reduction of 90.7% from the FY2012 level of $32.2 million. 
  • Elimination of funding for general land acquisition for national wildlife refuges. 
  • A focus on reductions in programs whose authorizations have expired or are expiring in FY2012. 
  • Funding restrictions or directives regarding wolves in Wyoming; hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on federal lands; and management of certain captivebred endangered game species. 
This report analyzes the FWS funding levels for the FY2013 appropriations bill. Emphasis is on FWS funding for programs that have generated congressional debate or particular constituent interest, now or in recent years. General efforts to reduce federal spending will encourage scrutiny of all spending, in FWS as in other agencies.


Date of Report: July 12, 2012
Number of Pages: 15
Order Number: R42466
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Firearms at Army Corps Water Resources Projects: Proposed Legislation and Issues for Congress


Nicole T. Carter
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

As part of its civil works mission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages water resource projects. Reservoirs lying behind Corps dams, and Corps navigation locks and their pools, are popular recreation sites, attracting 370 million visits annually. Corps projects include some of the most densely used federal recreation lands. Currently, 36 C.F.R. §327 sets out the regulations for public use of Corps projects. Section 327.13 generally prohibits possession of loaded firearms by private (i.e., non-law enforcement) individuals at Corps-administered projects unless they are being used for hunting at designated sites (with devices required to be unloaded while transported to and from the sites) or at authorized shooting ranges. The regulation applies at projects regardless of their location in states allowing open or concealed carry of loaded firearms.

Proposed legislation—the Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act (H.R. 1865, S. 1588), and §111 of H.R. 5325, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of FY2013 (which are all substantively similar)—would bar the Secretary of the Army from promulgating or enforcing regulations that prohibit individuals from possessing firearms (including assembled or functional firearms) at Corps projects. The bills would require that firearms possession comply with state law. Supporters of the proposed legislation see it as a partial remedy to a current patchwork of regulations restricting firearms on federally managed lands, as a means to provide consistency for open and concealed firearms possession within a state, and as facilitating self-defense. They argue that enactment would establish Corps policies consistent with §512 of P.L. 111-24, which made it legal for individuals to possess firearms at National Park Service (NPS) and National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) units of the Department of the Interior (DOI). Other stakeholders are concerned that the proposed legislation may produce unintended public safety and infrastructure security issues at Corps projects.

The issue for Congress is not only possession of loaded firearms by private individuals but also how to maintain public safety and infrastructure security at Corps projects.

  • Critical facilities security: Proposed legislation does not explicitly provide the Corps with authority to restrict firearms at Corps facilities (e.g., dams) or in specifically designated areas. 
  • Public safety and law enforcement: There are no armed federal law enforcement officers commissioned for public safety and security purposes at Corps projects. Unlike DOI, the Corps does not have authority to perform most law enforcement functions at its projects. Corps rangers are limited to issuing citations for regulatory violations and are not allowed to carry firearms. Most law enforcement is provided by local and state law enforcement personnel; the Corps’ authority to contract for this assistance is $10 million annually. 
A safety and security assessment of the proposed legislation for Corps projects has not been performed. DOI’s Bureau of Reclamation is faced with similar safety and security issues at its water resource projects. It allows possession of firearms on Reclamation lands and waterbodies (e.g., reservoirs behind dams) when such possession complies with federal, state, and local law. The regulations restrict firearms at Reclamation facilities (e.g; dams, buildings). DOI and Reclamation also use multiple authorities and mechanisms to provide for armed and unarmed law enforcement and public safety and security. Whether the Corps, given its current authorities, could similarly provide for safety and security at its projects if the proposed legislation is enacted has not been assessed.


Date of Report: July 12, 2012
Number of Pages: 10
Order Number: R42602
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The International Whaling Convention and Legal Issues Related to Aboriginal Rights

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has 89 members divided almost evenly between
countries that condone whaling and those that favor whale conservation. This situation leads to
contentious votes and accusations that decisions are not based on science but on politics, in
particular, whether or not a country favors whaling. Members of Congress have introduced
measures to advance U.S. policy within the Commission to respond to IWC actions. One area of
contention is the right of aboriginal groups to hunt whales (sometimes referred to as indigenous
whaling). Aboriginal subsistence whaling catch limits are set by the IWC for aboriginal peoples
in four countries: the United States (bowhead and gray); Denmark (Greenland) (fin, minke,
bowhead, and humpback); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (humpback); and Russia (gray and
bowhead).

The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (the Convention) has addressed
aboriginal whaling since it was signed on December 2, 1946, by the United States and 14 other
countries. The Convention limits how many bowhead or gray whales U.S. aboriginal groups may
harvest by setting catch limits for five-year periods. The current period is from 2008 through
2012.

Whaling also is restricted in the United States by three domestic laws: the Marine Mammal
Protection Act (MMPA); the Endangered Species Act (ESA); and the Whaling Convention Act
(WCA). The MMPA prohibits all whaling except for subsistence use by Alaska Natives.
Similarly, the ESA prohibits taking listed whales except for subsistence use by Alaska Natives.
The WCA, the enabling act for the Convention, allows whaling by aboriginal peoples to the
extent it does not conflict with the Convention. Despite these statutory exceptions allowing
aboriginal whaling, the Secretary of Commerce can restrict such whaling by adopting specific
regulations under either the MMPA or the ESA. Currently, only the Cook Inlet stock of beluga
whales is protected under such regulation. The Makah Tribe (in the state of Washington) is the
only non-Alaska indigenous group in the United States with the legal right to kill whales. This
right is based on treaty, but the Makah must still comply with the MMPA by receiving a permit
that allows whale harvest. Compliance with U.S. law and the Convention determines the types
and numbers of whales and where and when they are killed.

More recent legislation regarding whaling typically is done by resolution. H.Res. 714, which
expresses support to end all forms of commercial whaling, even when done under scientific
permit, is pending before the 112th Congress. Legislation proposed in the 111th Congress
addressed ending all nonaboriginal whaling, including scientific whaling (H.R. 2455, S. 3116),
and would have made the U.S. representative to the IWC a federal employee (H.R. 2955).
Previous Congresses have addressed whaling in general, and aboriginal whaling in particular.
Legislative measures, primarily in the form of concurrent resolutions, have been proposed in four
categories: protesting commercial, scientific, or community (nonaboriginal) whaling; ensuring
aboriginal whaling rights; providing a tax break for aboriginal whaling captains; and addressing
the United States’ policy at the annual meetings of the IWC.


Date of Report: July 29, 2012
Number of Pages: 19
Order Number: R40571
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Federal Assistance for Wildfire Response and Recovery


Kelsi Bracmort
Specialist in Agricultural Conservation and Natural Resources Policy

Raging wildfires, burned homes, and the evacuation of thousands make headlines nearly every fire season. Severe wildfires in 2011 occurred in Arizona and New Mexico in the late spring, and in Texas and Arizona in the late summer. Options for federal support and assistance—during the fires, in the aftermath, and aimed at preventing a recurrence—have been raised by many concerned about the ongoing disasters. This report briefly describes these federal options.


Date of Report: July 6, 2012
Number of Pages: 4
Order Number: R41858
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting on Federal Lands: H.R. 4089 and Related Legislation


Kristina Alexander, Coordinator
Legislative Attorney

M. Lynne Corn
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Kelsi Bracmort
Specialist in Agricultural Conservation and Natural Resources Policy

Eugene H. Buck
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089) is intended to create an “open until closed” management policy for federal lands, according to the House committee report. It describes the criteria for federal land management agencies to consider in order to close federal lands to fishing, hunting, or recreational shooting, and directs that management is subject to existing law. However, some ambiguities may lead to different, perhaps unintended results. H.R. 4089 passed the House on April 17, 2012.

Hunting and fishing are already allowed on the majority of federal lands. Because H.R. 4089 would change land management practices and would require additional or different analyses, reports, and notices, the bill would alter federal land management by adding or changing steps in the planning process. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that Title II of H.R. 4089, for example, would cost $12 million over the first four years.

Title I establishes the processes for federal land management agencies to close federal lands to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting, and is almost identical to Senate bill S. 2066. Title II addresses recreational shooting in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) national monuments. While the associated House committee report refers to H.R. 4089 affecting lands managed by BLM and the Forest Service almost exclusively, the bills’ broad definition of federal public lands could lead to portions of H.R. 4089/S. 2066 extending to all agencies that own land.

Wilderness areas may be most altered by the bills. While the Wilderness Act already allows hunting and fishing, H.R. 4089/S. 2066 would appear to allow any activity related to those activities, as well as to recreational shooting. This may mean that structures could be built in wilderness areas or mechanized transport could be allowed, which are activities that are banned under current law; however, this is not clear since another provision appears to continue to ban motorized access.

Titles III through VI address issues related to hunting, fishing, or federal lands. Title III would reverse the administrative rule in place since May 15, 2008, which banned the import of sporthunted polar bears from Canada. It would allow the import of polar bear trophies by applicants who sought an import permit prior to that date, when the polar bear was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Senate bills S. 2066 and S. 1066 would also direct issuance of those permits. However, in 2011, a federal court rejected a suit to allow such imports.

Title IV of H.R. 4089 would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating lead shot and lead sinkers, as would S. 838. EPA, however, denies it has the authority to take such action, while state laws could still restrict the use of lead shot and sinkers. Reversing a 2012 Forest Service decision, Title V would allow deer hunters in the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana to use hunting dogs without restriction. Title VI would limit the President’s ability to establish national monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906 by requiring both the governor and legislature of the affected state to approve designations.


Date of Report: June 19, 2012
Number of Pages: 39
Order Number: R42569
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Desalination and Membrane Technologies: Federal Research and Adoption Issues


Nicole T. Carter
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

In the United States, desalination and membrane technologies are increasingly used to augment municipal water supply in water-constrained and drought-prone locations, to produce high quality industrial water supplies, and to reclaim contaminated supplies. As of 2005, approximately 2,000 desalination facilities larger than 0.3 million gallons per day (MGD) were operating in the United States, with a total capacity of 1,600 MGD which represents more than 2.4% of total U.S. municipal and industrial freshwater use. At issue for Congress is what should be the federal role in supporting desalination and membrane technology research and facilities.

Desalination processes generally treat seawater or brackish water to produce a stream of freshwater, and a separate, saltier stream of water that requires disposal (often called waste concentrate). In the last decade, many states (e.g., Florida, California, and Texas) and cities have actively investigated the feasibility of large-scale municipal desalination. Coastal communities look to seawater or estuarine water, while interior communities look to brackish aquifers. The most common desalination technology in the United States is reverse osmosis, which uses permeable membranes to separate the freshwater from the saline water supply. Membrane technologies are also effective for other water treatment applications. Many communities and industries use membranes to remove contaminants from drinking water, treat contaminated water for disposal, and reuse industrial wastewater (e.g., saline waters co-produced from oil and gas development). For some applications, there are few competitive technological substitutes.

Wider adoption of desalination is constrained by financial, environmental, and regulatory issues. Although desalination costs dropped steadily in recent decades, significant further decline may not happen with existing technologies. Electricity expenses represent from one-third to one-half of the operating cost of desalination. Its energy intensity also raises concerns about the associated greenhouse gas emissions and usefulness as a climate change adaptation measure. Substantial uncertainty also remains about the technology’s environmental impacts, in particular management of the saline waste concentrate and the effect of surface water intake facilities on aquatic organisms. Moreover, desalination facilities often require a significant number of local, state, and federal approvals and permits. Many of the existing state and federal health and environmental guidelines, regulations, and policies are not specific to desalination. Because the approvals and permits fall outside normal practice, they often require more detailed and specific analysis; this can increase the time and cost for regulatory compliance.

Additional research may address some of the challenges. Some emerging technologies (e.g., forward osmosis, nanocomposite and chlorine resistant membranes) show promise for reducing costs. Support for emerging technologies and for research to address desalination’s environmental and social impacts is particularly relevant to the debate on the future level and nature of federal desalination research and related legislation (e.g., H.R. 2664, H.R. 5826; S. 1343).

To date, the federal government has been involved primarily in desalination research and development (including for military applications), some demonstration projects, and select fullscale facilities. For the most part, local governments, sometimes with state-level involvement, are responsible for planning, testing, building, and operating desalination facilities. Some states, universities, and private entities also undertake and support desalination research. While interest in desalination persists among some Members, especially as drought concerns rise, efforts to maintain or expand federal activities and investment are challenged by the domestic fiscal climate and differing views on federal roles and priorities.


Date of Report: June 12, 2012
Number of Pages: 18
Order Number: R40477
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Wildfires: CRS Experts


Kelsi Bracmort
Specialist in Agricultural Conservation and Natural Resources Policy

The following table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to wildfires. Policy areas identified include: federal wildfire policy; long-term land use management; federal firefighting assistance; federal emergency management policy; federal preparedness system and response plan; hazard mitigation; armed forces and national guard assistance; supplemental disaster funding; and disaster insurance.


Date of Report: July 5, 2012
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number: R40884
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Issues in the 112th Congress


Eugene H. Buck
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Harold F. Upton
Analyst in Natural Resources Policy

Fish and marine mammals are important resources in open ocean and nearshore coastal areas; many federal laws and regulations guide their management as well as the management of their habitat. Aquaculture or fish farming enterprises seek to supplement food traditionally provided by wild harvests.

Commercial and sport fishing are jointly managed by the federal government and individual states. States generally have jurisdiction within 3 miles of the coast. Beyond state jurisdiction and out to 200 miles in the federal exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the federal government (National Marine Fisheries Service, NMFS) manages fisheries under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA) through eight regional fishery management councils. Beyond 200 miles, the United States participates in international agreements relating to specific areas or species. The 112th Congress may oversee implementation of the MSFCMA as well as address individual habitat and management concerns for U.S. commercial and sport fisheries in an attempt to modify the balance between resource use and protection. Additional concerns might include providing additional flexibility in managing harvests to eliminate overfishing; determining the appropriate level of funding for fishery disaster assistance; determining whether to modify fishing vessel capacity reduction and limited access privilege (catch-share) programs; modifying programs to better control bycatch of nontarget species; amending various fishery laws to strengthen enforcement to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; amending and reauthorizing the Oceans and Human Health Act; amending and reauthorizing the Coral Reef Conservation Act; enhancing efforts to monitor, restore, and protect marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico; implementing the Antigua Convention for eastern tropical Pacific tuna; authorizing a national strategy to address harmful algal blooms and hypoxia; and providing additional support to maintain the character of traditional fishing communities.

Aquaculture—the farming of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals and plants in a controlled environment—is expanding rapidly abroad, yet with little growth in the United States. In the United States, important species cultured include catfish, salmon, shellfish, and trout. The 112th Congress may consider whether National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration policies and regulations can balance development and regulation of the aquaculture industry in the U.S. EEZ, and whether to prohibit regional fishery management councils from authorizing aquaculture in federal offshore waters through fishery management plans and their amendments under the MSFCMA.

Marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). With few exceptions, the MMPA prohibits harm or harassment (“take”) of marine mammals, unless permits are obtained. It also addresses specific situations of concern, such as dolphin mortality associated with the eastern tropical Pacific tuna fishery. The 112th Congress may consider bills to amend the MMPA, including the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program, as well as measures to address specific marine mammal habitat and management concerns, such as how to deal with the effects of increasing noise in the ocean and an expanded research program for the recovery of the southern sea otter.

The level of appropriations for fisheries, aquaculture/hatchery, and marine mammal programs administered by the NMFS and the Fish and Wildlife Service may be an issue during the 112th Congress amid pressures to reduce federal spending.


Date of Report: June 29, 2012
Number of Pages: 35
Order Number: R41613
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The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 112th Congress: Conflicting Values and Difficult Choices


Eugene H. Buck
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

M. Lynne Corn
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Kristina Alexander
Legislative Attorney

Pervaze A. Sheikh
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Robert Meltz
Legislative Attorney

The Endangered Species Act (ESA; P.L. 93-205, 16 U.S.C. §§1531-1543) was enacted to increase protection for, and provide for the recovery of, vanishing wildlife and vegetation. Under ESA, species of plants and animals (both vertebrate and invertebrate) can be listed as endangered or threatened according to assessments of their risk of extinction. Habitat loss is the primary cause for listing species. Once a species is listed, powerful legal tools are available to aid its recovery and protect its habitat. Accordingly, when certain resources are associated with listed species— such as water in arid regions like California, old growth timber in national forests, or free-flowing rivers—ESA is seen as an obstacle to continued or greater human use of these resources. ESA may also be controversial because dwindling species are usually harbingers of broader ecosystem decline or conflicts. As a result, ESA is considered a primary driver of large-scale ecosystem restoration issues.

The 112th Congress may conduct oversight of the implementation of various federal programs and laws that address threatened and endangered species. This could range from addressing listing and delisting decisions under ESA to justifying funding levels for international conservation programs. The 112th Congress may also face specific resource conflicts involving threatened and endangered species, including managing water supplies and ecosystem restoration in San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta in California (i.e., Bay-Delta) and managing water supplies in the Klamath Basin. In the 112th Congress, resource-specific issues may be addressed independently, whereas oversight on the implementation of ESA may be addressed in debates about particular species (e.g., wolves, polar bears, and salmon). P.L. 112-10 (final appropriations for FY2011) included a legislative delisting of a portion of the reintroduced Rocky Mountain gray wolf population.

The 112th Congress may consider legislation related to global climate change that includes provisions that would allocate funds to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species program and/or to related funds to assist species adaptation to climate change. Other major issues concerning ESA in recent years have included the role of science in decision making, critical habitat (CH) designation, incentives for property owners, and appropriate protection for listed species, among others.

The authorization for spending under ESA expired on October 1, 1992. The prohibitions and requirements of ESA remain in force, even in the absence of an authorization, and funds have been appropriated to implement the administrative provisions of ESA in each subsequent fiscal year. Proposals to reauthorize and extensively amend ESA were last considered in the 109th Congress, but none were enacted. No legislative proposals were introduced in the 110th or 111th Congresses to reauthorize ESA.

This report discusses oversight issues and legislation introduced in the 112th Congress to address ESA implementation and management of endangered and threatened species.


Date of Report: June 26, 2012
Number of Pages: 26
Order Number: R41608
Price: $29.95

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.

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R41608.pdf  to use the SECURE SHOPPING CART

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Phone 301-253-0881

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Wildfires: CRS Experts


Kelsi Bracmort
Specialist in Agricultural Conservation and Natural Resources Policy

The following table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to wildfires. Policy areas identified include: federal wildfire policy; long-term land use management; federal firefighting assistance; federal emergency management policy; federal preparedness system and response plan; hazard mitigation; armed forces and national guard assistance; supplemental disaster funding; and disaster insurance.


Date of Report: June 28, 2012
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number: R40884
Price: $19.95

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.

To Order:




R40884.pdf  to use the SECURE SHOPPING CART

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Phone 301-253-0881

For email and phone orders, provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

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