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2009

Congressional Research Service Reports

Articles 1 - 14 of 14

Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Science, Technology, And American Diplomacy: Background And Issues For Congress, Deborah D. Stine Jan 2009

Science, Technology, And American Diplomacy: Background And Issues For Congress, Deborah D. Stine

Congressional Research Service Reports

Science and engineering activities have always been international. Scientists, engineers, and health professionals frequently communicate and cooperate with one another without regard to national boundaries. This report discusses international science and technology (S&T) diplomacy, instances when American leadership in S&T is used as a diplomatic tool to enhance another country’s development and to improve understanding by other nations of U.S. values and ways of doing business. According to the National Research Council, five developmental challenges where S&T could play a role include child health and child survival, safe water, agricultural research to reduce hunger and ...


The U.S. Science And Technology Workforce, Deborah D. Stine, Christine M. Matthews Jan 2009

The U.S. Science And Technology Workforce, Deborah D. Stine, Christine M. Matthews

Congressional Research Service Reports

In the 21st century, global competition and rapid advances in science and technology will challenge the scientific and technical proficiency of the U.S. workforce. Policymakers often discuss policy actions that could enhance the nation’s science and technology (S&T) workforce— deemed by some as essential to both meet U.S. workforce demands as well as to generate the new ideas that lead to improved and new industries that create jobs.

The America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) addresses concerns regarding the S&T workforce and STEM education, and the 111th Congress is debating funding for the programs authorized ...


Drought In The United States: Causes And Issues For Congress, Peter Folger, Betsy A. Cody, Nicole T. Carter Jan 2009

Drought In The United States: Causes And Issues For Congress, Peter Folger, Betsy A. Cody, Nicole T. Carter

Congressional Research Service Reports

Drought is commonly defined as a deficiency of precipitation over an extended period of time, usually a season or more, relative to some long-term average condition. Droughts have affected the United States, particularly the American West, for centuries. Drought affects societies because of the combination of reduced supply (e.g., less precipitation, reduced reservoir levels, a lower groundwater table) and competing demand (e.g., for irrigation, municipal and industrial supply, energy production, species protection). This report focuses on the physical causes of drought, its history in the United States, and what may be expected in the near future. Although currently ...


The President's Office Of Science And Technology Policy (Ostp): Issues For Congress, Deborah D. Stine Jan 2009

The President's Office Of Science And Technology Policy (Ostp): Issues For Congress, Deborah D. Stine

Congressional Research Service Reports

Congress established the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) through the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-282). The act states that “The primary function of the OSTP Director is to provide, within the Executive Office of the President [EOP], advice on the scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of issues that require attention at the highest level of Government.” Further, “The Office shall serve as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the President with respect to major policies, plans, and programs of the Federal Government.” The OSTP Director ...


The Sport Fish Restoration And Boating Trust Fund, Eugene H. Buck Jan 2009

The Sport Fish Restoration And Boating Trust Fund, Eugene H. Buck

Congressional Research Service Reports

An Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, with two accounts—a Sport Fish Restoration Account and a Boat Safety Account—was created in 1984 and subsequently amended to support a variety of programs administered by three federal agencies, including wetlands management, recreational vessel docking and sewage disposal infrastructure, and aquatic resource education. In 2005, the Boat Safety Account was terminated and remaining programs were consolidated into a renamed Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. This report details sources of funding for this trust fund and summarizes the various programs and activities receiving funding.

The five sources of income to the Sport ...


Whales And Sonar: Environmental Exemptions For The Navy's Mid-Frequency Active Sonar Training, Kristina Alexander Jan 2009

Whales And Sonar: Environmental Exemptions For The Navy's Mid-Frequency Active Sonar Training, Kristina Alexander

Congressional Research Service Reports

Mid-frequency active (MFA) sonar emits pulses of sound from an underwater transmitter to help determine the size, distance, and speed of objects. The sound waves bounce off objects and reflect back to underwater acoustic receivers as an echo. MFA sonar has been used since World War II, and the Navy indicates it is the only reliable way to track submarines, especially more recently designed submarines that operate more quietly, making them more difficult to detect.

Scientists have asserted that sonar may harm certain marine mammals under certain conditions, especially beaked whales. Depending on the exposure, they believe that sonar may ...


Water Infrastructure Funding In The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009, Claudia Copeland, Nicole T. Carter Jan 2009

Water Infrastructure Funding In The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009, Claudia Copeland, Nicole T. Carter

Congressional Research Service Reports

On January 28, 2009, the House passed H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. On February 10, the Senate passed an amended version of H.R. 1 (S.Amdt. 570). On February 13, the House and Senate adopted a conference report (H.Rept. 111-16) that reconciled differences between the two bills. The President signed the bill into law on February 17 (P.L. 111- 5). This report identifies funding for water infrastructure programs and projects contained in the legislation, including amounts in the House- and Senate-passed versions that preceded the conference agreement. Among the purposes identified ...


Pipeline Safety And Security: Federal Programs, Paul W. Parfomak Jan 2009

Pipeline Safety And Security: Federal Programs, Paul W. Parfomak

Congressional Research Service Reports

Nearly half a million miles of oil and gas transmission pipeline crisscross the United States. While an efficient and fundamentally safe means of transport, many pipelines carry hazardous materials with the potential to cause public injury and environmental damage. The nation’s pipeline networks are also widespread, running alternately through remote and densely populated regions; consequently, these systems are vulnerable to accidents and terrorist attack. The 109th Congress passed the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-468) to improve pipeline safety and security practices. The 110th Congress passed the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of ...


Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy (Arpa-E): Background, Status, And Selected Issues For Congress, Deborah D. Stine Jan 2009

Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy (Arpa-E): Background, Status, And Selected Issues For Congress, Deborah D. Stine

Congressional Research Service Reports

In August 2007, Congress authorized the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) within the Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69). Modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ARPA-E would support transformational energy technology research projects with the goal of enhancing the nation’s economic and energy security.

Proponents of ARPA-E contend that additional energy research and development (R&D) would help respond to the nation’s need for clean, affordable, and reliable energy. Opponents question whether ARPA-E is necessary to develop new technologies, when existing energy technologies are not fully utilized due to insufficient policies to encourage their implementation. ARPA-E proponents counter that that ARPA-E is needed to catalyze the energy marketplace by accelerating research, and doubt that existing DOE structure and personnel can achieve ARPA-E’s goals, requiring instead ARPA-E’s innovative R&D management design. Opponents of ARPA-E question whether the DARPA model is appropriate for the energy sector, and express concern that funding ARPA-E might redirect funds away from current DOE research activities, particularly those funded by the DOE Office of Science.

Congress authorized $300 million for ARPA-E in FY2008 and “such sums as are necessary” for FY2009 and FY2010. Congress subsequently appropriated no funds for FY2008. The Bush Administration requested no funds for ARPA-E in FY2009, and took no actions to begin its operations. In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; P.L. 111-5), Congress provided ARPA-E initial funding of $400 million which supplemented FY2009 funds of $15 million (P.L. 111-8). As a result, ARPA-E’s received its initial ...


Federal Research And Development Funding: Fy2009, John F. Sargent Jr. Jan 2009

Federal Research And Development Funding: Fy2009, John F. Sargent Jr.

Congressional Research Service Reports

In February 2008, President Bush proposed total research and development (R&D) funding of $147.0 billion in his FY2009 budget request to Congress, a $3.9 billion (2.7%) increase over the estimated FY2008 level of $143.1 billion. President Bush’s request included $29.3 billion for basic research, up $847 million (3.0%) from FY2008; $27.1 billion for applied research, down $1.0 billion (-3.6%); $84.0 billion for development, up 1.6 billion (1.9%); and $6.5 billion for R&D facilities and equipment, up $2.5 billion (61.7%).

In the absence of final action on the regular FY2009 appropriations bills, Congress passed H.R. 2638 (110th Congress), the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 110-329) which President Bush signed on September 30, 2008. This act provides FY2009 appropriations for the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; continued funding for agencies not covered under these provisions at their FY2008 funding levels through March 6, 2009; and supplemental funding for disaster relief. The uncompleted regular appropriations bills considered by the 110th Congress expired with the beginning of the 111th Congress.

On February 23, 2009, H.R. 1105, the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-8), which provides specific ...


The National Bio- And Agro-Defense Facility: Issues For Congress, Dana A. Shea, Jim Monke, Frank Gottron Jan 2009

The National Bio- And Agro-Defense Facility: Issues For Congress, Dana A. Shea, Jim Monke, Frank Gottron

Congressional Research Service Reports

The agricultural and food infrastructure of the United States may be susceptible to terrorist attack using biological pathogens. In addition to the economic effects of such an attack, some animal pathogens could cause illness in humans. Diseases that can spread from animals to people are known as zoonotic diseases. Scientific and medical research on plant and animal diseases may lead to the discovery and development of new diagnostics and countermeasures, reducing the risk and effects of a successful terrorist attack.

To safeguard the United States against the introduction of non-native animal disease, Congress has appropriated funds to the U.S ...


Carbon Capture And Sequestration (Ccs), Peter Folger Jan 2009

Carbon Capture And Sequestration (Ccs), Peter Folger

Congressional Research Service Reports

Carbon capture and sequestration (or storage)—known as CCS—has attracted interest as a measure for mitigating global climate change because large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from fossil fuel use in the United States are potentially available to be captured and stored underground or prevented from reaching the atmosphere. Large, industrial sources of CO2, such as electricity-generating plants, are likely initial candidates for CCS because they are predominantly stationary, single-point sources. Electricity generation contributes over 40% of U.S. CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. Congressional interest has grown in CCS as part of legislative strategies to ...


Biotechnology In Animal Agriculture: Status And Current Issues, Geoffrey S. Becker, Tadlock Cowan Jan 2009

Biotechnology In Animal Agriculture: Status And Current Issues, Geoffrey S. Becker, Tadlock Cowan

Congressional Research Service Reports

Animal agriculture is being transformed by rapid advances in biotechnology—a term that encompasses a variety of technologies, including genetic engineering (GE), genetic modification, transgenics, recombinant DNA techniques, and cloning, among others. Producers are interested in the application of biotechnology to improve productivity, consistency, and quality; to introduce new food, fiber, and medical products; and to protect the environment. Potential human health applications of transgenic animals include producing biopharmaceuticals and generating organs, tissues, and cells for xenotransplantation. Criticisms of such applications involve issues ranging from food safety and social resistance to potential negative impacts on animal welfare and on ecosystems ...


Desalination: Status And Federal Issues, Nicole T. Carter Jan 2009

Desalination: Status And Federal Issues, Nicole T. Carter

Congressional Research Service Reports

In the United States, desalination is increasingly investigated as an option for meeting municipal water demands, particularly for coastal communities that can desalinate seawater or estuarine water, interior communities above brackish groundwater aquifers, and communities with contaminated water supplies. Adoption of desalination, however, remains constrained by financial, environmental, regulatory, and other factors. At issue is what role Congress establishes for the federal government in desalination research and development, and in construction and operational costs of desalination demonstration projects and full-scale facilities.

Desalination processes generally treat seawater or brackish water to produce a stream of freshwater, and a separate, saltier stream ...