Environmental Protection Issues in the 109th Congress

Environmental Protection Issues
in the 109 Congress
Updated December 20, 2006
Susan R. Fletcher and Margaret Isler, Coordinators
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
David M. Bearden, Claudia Copeland, Robert Esworthy,
Linda Luther, James E. McCarthy, Jonathan L. Ramseur,
Mark Reisch, Linda-Jo Schierow, Mary Tiemann,
and Brent D. Yacobucci
Resources, Science, and Industry Division

Environmental Protection Issues
in the 109th Congress
Environmental protection concerns span a wide variety of issues, including
clean air, water quality, chemical security, and environmental aspects of other major
issue areas, such as energy, transportation, disaster relief and cleanup, and defense.
This report provides an overview of key environmental issues that received attention
in the 109th Congress.
A number of environmental measures were the subject of congressional activity,
some of them as part of comprehensive bills and laws on broader subjects such as
energy and transportation. On August 8, 2005, President Bush signed P.L. 109-58
(H.R. 6), the Energy Policy Act of 2005, an omnibus energy package that contains
numerous environmentally related provisions. Perhaps the most important include
a renewable fuel standard and streamlined environmental permitting. On August 10,
2005, the President signed the transportation reauthorization bill, P.L. 109-59. This
law, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A
Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), contains various environmental provisions.
Congress attached to the FY2007 Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Appropriations Act (P.L. 109-295) authority for DHS to regulate chemical facilities
that present high-security risks. This authority expires three years after enactment
(i.e., on October 4, 2009).
Appropriations for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) affect many of
the programs and issues discussed in this report, which have been of perennial
interest to Congress. The 109th Congress adjourned without finalizing FY2007
appropriations for EPA and many other federal agencies. A continuing resolution
(P.L. 109-383) provided funding through February 15, 2007. Earlier in the second
session, the House had included $7.58 billion for EPA when it passed the FY2007
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill (H.R. 5386). The
Senate Appropriations Committee included $7.53 billion when it reported its version
of this bill. Both amounts were more than the President’s request of $7.32 billion,
but less than the $7.72 billion appropriated for FY2006.
The second session enacted FY2007 defense authorization legislation (P.L. 109-
364), including authorization of funding for cleanup and other environmental
activities on military lands and nuclear weapons sites. Appropriations for these
activities were not enacted, but were funded through February 15, 2007, under the
above continuing resolution. Although the Department of Defense sought
exemptions from certain environmental requirements, the 109th Congress did not
include them in either defense authorization or appropriations legislation.
Bills that received floor action by one or both chambers, or that were enacted
into law, are listed and briefly described in Table 1. (Note: This report treats mainly
pollution-related matters; for natural resource management issues, see CRS Report
RL32699, Natural Resources: Selected Issues for the 109th Congress, coordinated by
Nicole Carter and Carol Hardy Vincent.)

In troduction ..................................................1
Environmental Protection Agency Appropriations....................2
Energy and Environment: The Energy Bill..........................4
Clean Air Issues...............................................5
Clean Water Act...............................................7
Safe Drinking Water...........................................8
Leaking Underground Storage Tanks.............................10
Superfund and Brownfields.....................................12
Brownfield Issues.........................................13
Surface Transportation and Environment..........................14
Chemicals: Security and Regulatory Issues.........................15
Defense Environmental Cleanup and Other Issues...................16
Alternative Fuels and Advanced Technology Vehicles................18
List of Tables
Table 1. Environmental Protection Legislation Passed in the 109th Congress..20

Environmental Protection Issues
in the 109 Congress
The first session of the 109th Congress saw enactment of several laws that
include key environmental provisions, and Congress considered and took some
action on a variety of environmental measures. Many of the issues dealt with by this
Congress reflect continuing consideration of issues that were before prior
Congresses. These include issues that were considered but not enacted, as well as
annually occurring legislation on matters such as Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) appropriations and environmental provisions in defense-related legislation.
Environmental issues considered by Congress tend to fall into several major
categories: (1) funding issues — whether funding levels are adequate and/or focused
on appropriate priorities; in light of the current federal budget deficit, reductions in
the budget request for EPA and other programs present difficult choices, and
questions about the adequacy of funding levels were debated in such areas as water
quality infrastructure and Superfund cleanup; (2) expanding, renewing, or refocusing
existing environmental policies or programs — consideration of proposals that would
alter air quality requirements in the current Congress, for example; (3) environmental
issues that are important elements of other major areas of concern; for example, the
issue of streamlining environmental reviews in energy and transportation
reauthorization legislation, and other environmental provisions in energy measures,
or environmental issues in defense authorization or appropriations; and (4) security
concerns, such as terrorism and infrastructure protection in areas such as water
infrastructure and chemical facilities.
The hurricanes that damaged large areas of the U.S. Gulf Coast in late August
and September of 2005 were a major focus of congressional attention in the 109th
Congress, including a number of environmental concerns. Among the many issues
of interest were environmental considerations related to the hurricane cleanup effort,
involving a large amount of contaminated substances and debris; consideration of
modification of environmental laws or rules to expedite disaster response and
recovery; and measures needed to speed delivery of assistance to restore public
services, including water infrastructure facilities. (For discussion and analysis of the
environmental aspects of hurricane-related issues and concerns, see CRS Report
RS22248, Federal Disaster and Emergency Assistance for Water Infrastructure
Facilities and Supplies, by Claudia Copeland, Mary Tiemann, and Nicole T. Carter;
CRS Report RS22285, Hurricane-Damaged Drinking Water and Wastewater
Facilities: Impacts, Needs, and Response, by Claudia Copeland; CRS Report
RL33107, Emergency Waiver of EPA Regulations: Authorities and Legislative
Proposals in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, by James E. McCarthy and Claudia
Copeland; CRS Report RL33115, Cleanup After Hurricane Katrina: Environmental

Considerations, by Robert Esworthy, Linda-Jo Schierow, Claudia Copeland, Linda
Luther, and Jonathan L. Ramseur; CRS Report RL33477, Disaster Debris Removal
After Hurricane Katrina: Status and Associated Issues, by Linda Luther; and CRS
Report RL33104, NEPA and Hurricane Response, Recovery, and Rebuilding Efforts,
by Linda Luther.
Major attention in the first session of the 109th Congress was focused on
consideration and passage of both energy and transportation laws, which were
enacted in 2005. Environmental provisions were key aspects of these laws, as
discussed below. Early action also occurred on S. 131, Clear Skies legislation, which
was scheduled for markup March 9, 2005; a tie vote in committee prevented the bill
from being reported to the floor.
In the second session, congressional action on environmental legislation focused
primarily on EPA appropriations and defense bills that include authorization and
appropriation of funding for environmental activities (see discussion below).
Congress also addressed security issues at chemical facilities by including in DHS
appropriations legislation authority for DHS to regulate high-risk facilities for three
Bills that received floor action by one or both chambers, or that were enacted
into law, are listed and briefly described in Table 1. The discussion of major
environmental protection issues below focuses on selected key environmental
concerns and related activity in the 109th Congress. It is not intended to provide
comprehensive coverage of all environmental issues; in particular, it does not address
issues involving public lands, parks, or other natural resources. (For information onth
the latter, see CRS Report RL32699, Natural Resources: Selected Issues for the 109
Congress, coordinated by Nicole Carter and Carol Hardy Vincent. For an overview
of major environmental pollution control laws, see CRS Report RL30798,
Environmental Laws: Summaries of Statutes Administered by the Environmental
Protection Agency, coordinated by Susan R. Fletcher.)
Environmental Protection Agency Appropriations
(By David Bearden, 7-2390, and Robert Esworthy, 7-7236, Specialists in
Environmental Policy)
Early in its first session, the 109th Congress eliminated the Veterans Affairs,
Housing and Urban Development (VA-HUD), and Independent Agencies
appropriations subcommittees in both houses and moved funding jurisdiction for the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Interior subcommittees. As enacted
later in the first session in August 2005, Title II of the Interior, Environment, and
Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY2006 (P.L. 109-54, H.R. 2361) provided
$7.73 billion for EPA. However, Congress reduced this amount to $7.71 billion as
a result of a 0.476% across-the-board rescission required in P.L. 109-54 and a 1%
government-wide rescission subsequently required in the Department of Defense
Appropriations Act for FY2006 (P.L. 109-148). Overall, P.L. 109-54 provided more
funding for EPA than the Administration’s request of $7.52 billion, but less than the
FY2005 appropriation of $8.03 billion. (For more information, see CRS Report
RL32856, Environmental Protection Agency: Appropriations for FY2006, by Robert
Esworthy and David Bearden, and CRS Report RS22064, Environmental Protection

Agency: FY2006 Appropriations Highlights, by David Bearden and Robert
In the second session, attention turned to appropriations for FY2007 and
completing action on supplemental appropriations for FY2006. The President signed
the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for FY2006 (P.L. 109-234, H.R.
4939) on June 15, 2006, increasing EPA’s FY2006 appropriation by $13 million to
a total of $7.72 billion. Of the $13 million supplemental, $6 million was for
increased environmental monitoring, assessment, and analytical support to protect
public health during the ongoing recovery and reconstruction efforts related to the
consequences of Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes of the 2005 season. The
remaining $7 million was for assessing underground storage tanks that may have
leaked in areas affected by these hurricanes.
The 109th Congress adjourned without finalizing FY2007 appropriations for
EPA and many other federal agencies, but it enacted a continuing resolution (P.L.

109-383, H.J.Res. 102) to provide funding for these agencies through February 15,

2007. The funding formula contained in P.L. 109-383 sets continuing appropriations
for programs and activities generally at either the current (FY2006) level, the level
in the pertinent House-passed bill, or the level in the Senate-passed bill, whichever
is lowest. (See CRS Report RL33681 FY2007 Regular Appropriations Acts:
Procedures for End-of-Session Wrap-Up, by Robert Keith.) Earlier in the second
session, the House had passed the FY2007 Interior, Environment, and Related
Agencies appropriations bill (H.R. 5386, H.Rept. 109-465) on May 18, 2006,
recommending $7.58 billion for EPA. The Senate Appropriations Committee had
recommended $7.53 billion for EPA in reporting its version of the bill (S.Rept. 109-
275) on June 29, 2006. Although the full House and the Senate Appropriations
Committee amounts for EPA differed, both amounts were more than the President’s
request of $7.32 billion, but less than the FY2006 appropriation of $7.72 billion,
which includes enacted supplemental funding discussed above. In the absence of
final appropriations enacted for FY2007, the continuing resolution funds programs
administered by EPA and many other federal agencies at the lowest of the FY2006
enacted appropriation, the House-passed bill, or the Senate-passed bill. Because the
Senate did not pass the Interior bill that funds EPA, the agency’s programs are
funded at either the FY2006 enacted level or the House-passed amount, whichever
is lowest.
As in recent years, debate in the second session regarding FY2007
appropriations for EPA included a major focus on the adequacy of the President’s
request for federal assistance to states for the clean water and drinking water State
Revolving Funds (SRFs), from which states issue loans to communities for
constructing and upgrading their wastewater and drinking water infrastructures to
meet federal requirements. Also similar to recent years, other prominent issues
included the adequacy of the President’s request for the cleanup of hazardous waste
sites under the Superfund program and the cleanup of commercial and industrial
sites, referred to as brownfields. There also was broad congressional interest in the
adequacy of funding for scientific research, air quality programs, and EPA’s
homeland security activities. The extent to which funding for individual grant
recipients should be congressionally designated (often referred to as earmarks) was
an issue as well. The funding and operation of EPA’s libraries received attention

toward the end of the 109th Congress, although the funding for this activity is
relatively small compared with many other agency activities, such as those noted
(For more information on EPA funding issues for FY2007, see CRS Report
RL33399, Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: FY2007 Appropriations,
coordinated by Carol Hardy Vincent and Susan Boren; CRS Report RS22386,
Environmental Protection Agency: FY2007 Appropriations Highlights, by David
Bearden and Robert Esworthy; and CRS Report RS22533, Restructuring EPA’s
Libraries: Background and Issues for Congress, by David Bearden and Robert
Energy and Environment: The Energy Bill
(By Brent D. Yacobucci, Specialist in Environmental Policy, 7-9662)
After lengthy debate over U.S. energy policy, the 109th Congress enacted
omnibus energy legislation in July 2005. The debate over national energy policy had
been ongoing since the 107th Congress. Both the 107th and 108th Congresses were
unable to complete action on an omnibus energy bill, due to the broad scope of the
bills and stalemates over several contentious issues. Many of these contentious
issues were addressed in various versions of energy legislation in the 109th Congress,
although some of them were dropped from the final version of the bill. The Energy
Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58, H.R. 6) was signed by President Bush on August
8, 2005. The final version of the bill contains many provisions involving
environmental protection and regulation, including the treatment of renewable fuels,
stricter regulation of underground fuel storage tanks, and environmental exemptions
for oil and gas exploration and production.
A key component of P.L. 109-58 is a requirement that gasoline sold in the
United States must contain 7.5 billion gallons annually of ethanol and other
renewable fuels by 2012. The measure also eliminates Clean Air Act requirements
for the use of oxygenates in reformulated gasoline. The oxygenate standard led to the
increased use of MTBE in gasoline. (MTBE is a fuel additive used to increase
combustion efficiency that was found to contaminate drinking water supplies,
primarily due to leaking underground fuel storage tanks). The voluntary transition
away from MTBE by gasoline suppliers in spring 2006 contributed to the historically
high gasoline prices and caused concerns about the supply of ethanol for blending
into gasoline. (For more information, see CRS Report RL32865, Renewable Fuels
and MTBE: A Comparison of Provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-
58 and H.R. 6), by Brent D. Yacobucci, Mary Tiemann, James E. McCarthy, and
Aaron M. Flynn, and CRS Report RL31361, “Boutique Fuels” and Reformulated
Gasoline: Harmonization of Fuel Standards, by Brent D. Yacobucci.)
P.L. 109-58 provides some exemptions from Clean Water Act and Safe
Drinking Water Act provisions for oil and gas exploration and production (related to
stormwater runoff and hydraulic fracturing). These provisions were seen by some as
necessary to promote increased domestic energy supplies, whereas critics complain
that they will allow energy producers to sidestep environmental protection
requirements and may result in depleted or polluted groundwater and surface water.

P.L. 109-58 also contains provisions on technology to address climate change.
Title XVI establishes programs to promote the adoption of technologies — and their
transfer to developing countries — to reduce greenhouse gas intensity (emissions per
unit of economic output). These provisions were similar to those adopted on the
Senate floor in S.Amdt. 817. The Senate also debated two other climate change
amendments that were not included in the final version of the bill. S.Amdt. 866
expressed the sense of the Senate that Congress should establish mandatory, market-
based limits on greenhouse gas emissions; this amendment was passed by the Senate
in a voice vote but dropped in conference. S.Amdt. 826 would have required
mandatory greenhouse gas emission reductions; this amendment was rejected 38-60.
The House version of H.R. 6 did not address climate change or greenhouse gas
emissions. (For further discussion, see CRS Report RL32873, Key Environmental
Issues in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58, H.R. 6), coordinated by Brent
D. Yacobucci.
The major hurricanes along the gulf coast in 2005 led to fuel supply disruptions
and contributed to significantly higher gasoline and diesel prices in many areas of the
country. As a result, there was increased interest in expanding U.S. refining capacity.
Although total refining capacity has increased in recent years, the number of
refineries has steadily declined, and no new U.S. refineries have been built in
decades. Many factors have discouraged investment in new refineries, and
environmental regulations have been cited as one of those factors. H.R. 3893, which
passed the House on October 7, 2005, would have limited the number of fuel blends
across the country and would have streamlined federal permitting of refineries,
among other provisions. A controversial amendment to the Clean Air Act’s New
Source Review provisions was removed before House passage. However, the Senate
took no action on this bill. (For more information on new source review, see CRS
Report RS21608, Clean Air and New Source Review: Defining Routine Maintenance,
by Larry Parker.)
Clean Air Issues
(By James E. McCarthy, Specialist in Environmental Policy, 7-7225)
The courts and the executive branch faced major decisions on clean air issues
in 2005 and 2006, which were the subject of concern to some in Congress. One
focus was the EPA Administrator’s September 21, 2006, decision regarding air
quality standards for fine particles. According to EPA and the consensus of the
scientific community, current concentrations of fine particles cause tens of thousands
of premature deaths annually. The Administrator’s September 21 decision will
strengthen the standards; according to the agency, it will reduce premature mortality
by 1,200 to 13.000 persons annually. However, many are unhappy that the new
standard will not be more stringent — for the first time ever, it falls outside of a
range recommended by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), an
independent body established by the Clean Air Act to provide expert scientific
advice. On September 29, the CASAC Chair formally objected to the Administrator’s
action in a letter to him. For more information, see CRS Report RL33254, Air
Quality: EPA’s 2006 Changes to the Particulate Matter (PM) Standard, by Robert
Esworthy and James E. McCarthy.

On March 17, 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down
an EPA rule that would have modified the New Source Review (NSR) provisions of
the Clean Air Act, exempting most equipment replacement projects at power plants
and other industrial sites from requirements to install pollution control equipment.
In a 3-0 decision, the court held that EPA’s attempt to change the NSR regulations
was “contrary to the plain language” of the act.
Congress acted on several Clean Air Act (CAA) issues in legislation that it
passed and sent to the President in late July, 2005. The most significant of these
issues, dealing with ethanol and reformulated gasoline (RFG), were addressed in the
Energy Policy Act of 2005, H.R. 6 (P.L. 109-58). The act eliminates a requirement
that RFG, used in the nation’s most polluted areas, contain at least 2% oxygen. In
its place, the act requires that the total gasoline supply contain increasing amounts
of renewable fuels, a requirement of great interest to the nation’s agricultural sector.
The renewable fuel is most likely to be ethanol, which is generally made from corn.
Congress also amended the Clean Air Act in H.R. 3 (P.L. 109-59), the
transportation bill that the President signed on August 10, 2005 (further discussed
below). H.R. 3 addresses a requirement that state and local transportation planners
demonstrate “conformity” between their transportation plans and the timely
achievement of air quality standards. Under the act, the frequency of conformity
determinations and the time frame during which conformity must be demonstrated
will both be reduced. Failure to demonstrate conformity can lead to a temporary
suspension of federal highway funds.
Other Clean Air Act amendments stalled in the 109th Congress. A bill that
would have established a cap-and-trade program for emissions of sulfur dioxide
(SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury from coal-fired electric power plants was
among the first items on the agenda of the 109th Congress: S. 131 (the Clear Skies
Act) was scheduled for markup by the Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee on March 9, 2005. But the committee failed to approve the bill, on a 9-9
tie vote, in large part because of complaints that the bill would weaken existing Clean
Air Act requirements. Another issue in the debate was whether to cap emissions of
carbon dioxide (CO2) in addition to the other three pollutants. With Clear Skies
stalled, on March 10, 2005, EPA finalized the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR),
which will cap emissions of SO2 and NOx from power plants in 28 eastern states and
the District of Columbia and establish a cap-and-trade system through regulation.
A deadline for mercury regulations helped drive the Clear Skies debate: EPA
faced a judicial deadline of March 15, 2005, to promulgate standards for power plant
mercury emissions. The agency met this deadline, but the specific regulations have
been widely criticized and are now being challenged in court by at least 15 states.
The regulations could have been overturned if Congress disapproved them under the
Congressional Review Act. A resolution to do so (S.J.Res.20) was defeated by a vote
of 51-47 on September 13, 2005. Whether to modify other requirements of the Clean
Air Act (New Source Review, deadlines for non-attainment areas, and provisions
dealing with interstate air pollution) have also been contentious issues. (For
additional information, see CRS Report RL33552, Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th
Congress, by James E. McCarthy.)

Clean Water Act
(By Claudia Copeland, Specialist in Resources and Environmental Policy, 7-7227)
The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the principal law that regulates pollution in the
nation’s lakes, rivers, and coastal waters. It also authorizes funds to aid construction
of municipal wastewater treatment plants. Although much progress has been made
in achieving the ambitious goals that Congress established in this law 30-plus years
ago to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the
nation’s waters, problems persist. The types of remaining water quality problems are
diverse, ranging from pollution runoff from farms and ranches, city streets, and other
diffuse or “nonpoint” sources, to metals and organic and inorganic toxic substances
discharged from factories and sewage treatment plants. No comprehensive
legislation has been enacted since 1987, but bills dealing with specific water quality
issues have been enacted, and oversight hearings on the act and recent Administration
water quality initiatives have been held. Throughout this period, Congress has
considered possible actions to implement existing provisions of the CWA, whether
additional steps are necessary to achieve the overall goals of the act, and the
appropriate federal role in guiding and paying for clean water infrastructure and other
activities. (For further information, see CRS Report RL33465, Clean Water Act: A
Review of Issues in the 109th Congress, and CRS Report RL30030, Clean Water Act:
A Summary of the Law, both by Claudia Copeland.)
During the 109th Congress, Congress enacted two bills dealing with specific
CWA programs. In December 2005, Congress passed H.R. 3963, authorizing $40
million per year for six years to extend the Long Island Sound program under Section
119 of the act (P.L. 109-137). In November 2006, Congress passed H.R. 6121, a bill
to reauthorize the Lake Pontchartrain Basin program in Section 121 of the act (P.L.


Other bills received consideration but were not enacted. In December 2005, the
House approved H.R. 1721 (H.Rept. 109-292) to extend the coastal water quality
program in Section 406 of the act and to authorize $30 million over six years for
coastal water quality monitoring. In September 2006, the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee approved H.R. 4126, a bill to improve and reauthorize the
CWA Chesapeake Bay program in Section 117 of the act. Also in September, the
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reported S. 1848, a bill intended
to promote remediation of inactive and abandoned hardrock mines by easing
requirements of the Clean Water Act and certain other environmental laws as an
incentive to persons carrying out such projects. The committee also approved a bill
to enhance the security of wastewater treatment works facilities by encouraging
operators to assess security vulnerabilities and assisting security improvement
projects (S. 2781).
Legislation to authorize funding for clean water infrastructure projects received
attention in the 109th Congress, as it has for several years, but no legislation was
enacted. At issue is how the federal government will help states and cities meet
needs to rebuild, repair, and upgrade wastewater treatment plants, especially in view
of costs that are projected to be as high as $390 billion over the next two decades. In
July 2005, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved S. 1400,
authorizing federal funds for water quality and drinking water State Revolving Fund

programs. The Senate did not take up this bill. In May 2005, the House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved bills to reauthorize funding
for two other related CWA programs: H.R. 624, to reauthorize Section 221 of the
act and provide $1.5 billion over six years for sewer overflow projects, and H.R.
1359, to extend Section 220 of the act, authorizing a pilot program for alternative
water source projects. The House did not take up either of these bills.
The hurricanes that damaged large areas of the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005 were a
major focus of congressional attention. One area of interest has been restoring public
services that were disabled by the storms, including water infrastructure facilities that
experienced flooding and wind damage. Even more than a year after the storms,
states and EPA continue to assess needs to repair or rebuild these facilities. On
September 27, 2005, the Senate passed a bill intended to streamline delivery of funds
through existing EPA programs to repair storm-damaged sewage treatment and
drinking water plants (S. 1709). No further action occurred on this bill. (For
information, see CRS Report RS22285, Hurricane-Damaged Drinking Water and
Wastewater Facilities: Impacts, Needs, and Response, by Claudia Copeland.)
Water infrastructure funding also has been an issue in the context of the federal
budget and appropriations. The President’s FY2007 budget requested $687.6 million
for clean water SRF grants, which is 22% less than was appropriated in FY2006 and

37% below the FY2005 funding level. On May 18, 2006, the House passed H.R.

5386 (H.Rept. 109-465), which provided the requested level of $687.6 million for
Clean Water SRF grants. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the same
funding level for clean water SRF grants when it reported H.R. 5386 on June 29
(S.Rept. 109-275). Both bills include funds for congressionally earmarked project
grants ($200 million in the House bill, and $210 million in the Senate bill), which the
Administration did not request. Advocates of the SRF program (especially state and
local government officials) contended that the cuts will impair their ability to carry
out needed municipal wastewater treatment plant improvement projects.
Administration officials responded that cuts for the SRF in FY2007 were necessary
because Congress boosted funds above the requested level in FY2005 and 2006.
Final action on this FY2007 appropriation bill did not occur before the 109th
Congress adjourned sine die in December, thus carrying over this legislative activity
until the 110th Congress. (For additional information, see CRS Report RL33466,
Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act, by Claudia Copeland.)
Safe Drinking Water
(By Mary Tiemann, Specialist in Environmental Policy, 7-5937)
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the principal federal statute regulating
the quality of water provided by public water systems. EPA has put in place
regulations covering 91 contaminants, and more rules are pending. Public water
systems are required to test and, if needed, treat their water to comply with the
standards and treatment requirements contained in these regulations.
SDWA issues that received attention in the 109th Congress included the ability
of water systems to finance projects needed to comply with drinking water standards
(such as the arsenic and disinfection byproduct standards), and drinking water
problems caused by unregulated contaminants, such as methyl tertiary butyl ether

(MTBE) and perchlorate (the key ingredient in solid rocket fuel). (See the MTBE
discussion in the section below on “Leaking Underground Storage Tanks.”) An issue
in the first session was whether to exempt from regulation the injection into
underground drinking water sources fluids that are used for hydraulic fracturing
related to oil and gas production. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, P.L. 109-58,
Section 322, amended SDWA to exempt all fracturing fluids, except diesel fuel, from
regulation. (See CRS Report RL32873, Key Environmental Issues in the Energy
Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58, H.R. 6), coordinated by Brent D. Yacobucci.)
Perchlorate contamination also received congressional attention. House-passed
H.R. 186 and H.R. 18 would have authorized remediation of perchlorate-
contaminated water in certain California communities. H.R. 4798/S. 2298 would
have authorized grants for remediating California water supplies contaminated by
perchlorate and for developing perchlorate cleanup technologies. These companion
bills also expressed the sense of Congress that EPA should set a drinking water
standard for perchlorate. H.R. 213 would have required EPA to set a standard for
perchlorate in 2007. EPA has not determined whether regulation is needed, citing
uncertainties regarding perchlorate’s health risk and occurrence, and concern over the
cost of treatment. In early 2005, the National Research Council (NRC) issued a
comprehensive review of the health effects of perchlorate ingestion and made several
recommendations to EPA regarding its draft perchlorate risk assessment. EPA has
adopted the NRC’s recommended reference dose for perchlorate, which would
inform the standard-setting process, and translates to a drinking water equivalent
level of 24.5 parts per billion. However, new studies raise questions about what level
of perchlorate exposure might be safe, which could further complicate EPA standard-
setting efforts. (See CRS Report RS21961, Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking
Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions, by Mary Tiemann.)
An ongoing issue concerns the ability of public water systems, especially small
systems, to construct treatment facilities and improve infrastructure to comply with
SDWA standards and ensure the safety of water supplies. In 1996, Congress created
a drinking water state revolving loan fund (DWSRF) program to help systems finance
projects needed to meet standards and address health risks. For FY2006, in P.L. 109-
54, Congress provided $837.5 million for the DWSRF program. H.R. 5386, as
passed by the House and reported in the Senate, included $841.5 million for FY2007,
as requested.
Despite this program, most surveys indicate that an infrastructure funding gap
will continue to grow as the number of federal drinking water standards grows and
the nation’s water infrastructure ages. EPA’s 2003 needs survey indicates that water
systems require a capital investment of $277 billion over 20 years. To address this
issue, the 109th Congress considered several bills, but none was enacted. The Senate
Committee on Environment and Public Works reported S. 1400, a water
infrastructure financing bill, which would have increased funding authority for the
drinking water and wastewater SRF programs. Senate-passed S. 1709 would have
added flexibility to the these SRF programs to facilitate their use to repair water and
wastewater systems damaged by Hurricane Katrina. (For more information on
SDWA issues and legislative action, see CRS Report RL33549, Safe Drinking Water
Act: Issues in the 109th Congress, by Mary Tiemann. For additional information on
water infrastructure issues, see CRS Report RL31116, Water Infrastructure Needs

and Investment: Review and Analysis of Key Issues, by Claudia Copeland and Mary
Leaking Underground Storage Tanks
(By Mary Tiemann, Specialist in Environmental Policy, 7-5937)
Leaks from underground storage tanks (USTs), especially tanks containing
petroleum, have been a major source of contamination for groundwater and drinking
water supplies. In 1984, Congress established a leak prevention, detection, and
cleanup program under Subtitle I of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA) to
address this problem. With few exceptions, USTs that store petroleum or hazardous
chemicals must comply with the leak prevention, detection, and cleanup requirements
of Subtitle I (42 U.S.C. 6901, et seq.).
In 1986, Congress created the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust
Fund to help EPA and states cover the costs of responding to leaking petroleum
USTs in cases where tank owners fail to clean up releases. States use most of their
share of the annual LUST Trust Fund appropriation to oversee corrective actions
performed by responsible parties. Roughly one-third of the LUST money that states
receive typically is used for cleaning up abandoned tank sites and undertaking
emergency responses. EPA uses its portion of the appropriation primarily to oversee
cooperative agreements with states, implement the LUST corrective action program
on Indian lands, and support state and regional offices. The LUST Trust Fund is
supported by a 0.1cent per gallon gas tax; as of November 2006, the fund balance
exceeded $2.6 billion.
For FY2006, Congress provided roughly $72 million (after rescissions) from the
LUST Trust Fund for EPA and states to administer the LUST cleanup program.1 For
FY2007, the House approved and the Senate Appropriations Committee
recommended $72.8 million, as requested.
Although much progress has been made in the LUST cleanup program, roughly
114,000 leaking tank sites still require remediation, and states have faced several
challenges. A key issue is that cleanup costs have increased because of the presence
of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), which has been detected at thousands of
LUST sites. This gasoline additive has been used to cut air pollution from auto
emissions.2 However, MTBE is very water soluble and, once released, tends to travel
farther than conventional gasoline, making it more likely to reach water supplies and
more costly to remediate. Another issue is that most states have not had adequate
resources to fully enforce UST leak prevention regulations. States have urged
Congress to increase trust fund appropriations for cleanup activities and to allow the
fund to be used to administer the leak prevention program.

1 Congress provided an additional $8 million in P.L. 109-148 and $7 million in P.L. 109-234
in emergency appropriations for cleaning up releases from tanks damaged by Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita.
2 As discussed above in the section on air quality, MTBE has been used widely to meet the
1990 Clean Air Act requirement that oxygenated gasoline must be used in areas that fail to
meet the federal ozone air quality standard.

The 109th Congress made substantial changes to the federal UST program in the
Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58, H.R. 6). Title XV, Subtitle B, of the act
comprised the Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act (USTCA), which added
new leak prevention and enforcement provisions and imposed multiple new
requirements on states, EPA, and tank owners. To better prevent and detect leaks,
the USTCA requires EPA, or states that receive funding under Subtitle I, to conduct
UST compliance inspections every three years. The act also requires states to (1)
comply with EPA guidance prohibiting fuel delivery to ineligible tanks, (2) develop
training requirements for UST operators and individuals responsible for tank
maintenance and spill response, (3) prepare compliance reports on government-
owned tanks in the state, and (4) ensure that groundwater protection measures are
met by UST manufacturers and installers. The Energy Policy Act extended the gas
tax that supports the LUST Trust Fund through March 2011 and removed the Clean
Air Act oxygenated fuel requirement that promoted greater use of MTBE.
Congress also took steps to make more LUST Trust Fund resources available
to support implementation of the UST leak prevention and LUST cleanup programs.
The USTCA authorized the appropriation of $200 million from the trust fund
annually for six years for EPA and states to address leaks involving MTBE or
renewable fuels, and another $200 million annually for six years for EPA and states
to administer the general LUST cleanup program.3 The USTCA further authorized
trust fund appropriations of $155 million annually for various UST and LUST
program purposes, including inspections, operator training, delivery prohibition, and
other leak prevention and compliance activities.
Although the USTCA authorized LUST Trust Fund appropriations for EPA and
states to administer and enforce new and existing leak prevention requirements of
Subtitle I, the tax extension language in P.L. 109-58 prohibited the use of the trust
fund for any new purposes (§1362). Consequently, the Energy Policy Act imposed
multiple new requirements on the states but prohibited the use of the trust fund to
support state implementation efforts. To address this issue, the House and Senate
passed H.R. 6131 to amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow the LUST Trust Fund
to be used for the purposes specified in the USTCA. H.R. 6131 was sent to the
President for signature on December 11, 2006. (For more information, see CRS
Report RS21201, Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: Program Status and Issues,
by Mary Tiemann; CRS Report RL32865, Renewable Fuels and MTBE: A
Comparison of Provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58 and H.R.
6), by Brent D. Yacobucci, Mary Tiemann, and James E. McCarthy; and CRS Report
RL32787, MTBE in Gasoline: Clean Air and Drinking Water Issues, by James E.
McCarthy and Mary Tiemann.)

3 P.L. 109-168 made technical corrections to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Regarding UST
provisions, it revised the authorization of appropriations for Subtitle I from FY2005-FY2009
to FY2006-FY2011.

Superfund and Brownfields
(By Mark Reisch, 7-7255, and Jonathan Ramseur, 7-7919, Analysts in Environmental
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
(CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. 9601-9675) established the Superfund program to clean up
contamination at sites that pose significant threats to human health and the
environment. At federal facilities, the federal agency determined to have caused the
contamination pays for the cleanup out of its budget, subject to appropriations by
Congress. Although Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) are liable for cleanup
costs at private sector sites, EPA’s Superfund account pays for the cleanup of sites
where no financially viable responsible party can be identified or located.
The adequacy of funding to clean up Superfund sites has been a longstanding
issue. Findings of independent studies that cleanup has been underfunded, and the
declining trend in completing construction of cleanup remedies, have motivated
support for greater resources. As passed by the House on May 18, 2006, the FY2007
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill (H.R. 5386, H.Rept.
109-465) would provide a total of $1.26 billion for EPA’s Superfund account (prior
to transfers to other accounts). This amount is $14.8 million more than the FY2006
appropriation, but $2.1 million less than the President’s FY2007 request. Of the total
amount included in the House bill for the Superfund account, $832.9 million would
be for “actual” (i.e., physical) cleanup of contaminated sites, $1 million less than the
FY2006 appropriation and $10 million more than the President’s FY2007 request.
The Senate Appropriations Committee reported (S.Rept. 109-275) a version with
amounts that were very similar to those passed by the House.
In earlier years, general Treasury revenues on average accounted for 17% of the
total funding for the Superfund program, and the balance of the appropriation came
from a dedicated trust fund supported by taxes on industry. Authority for collecting
these taxes expired at the end of 1995, and the balance of the trust fund declined from
a high of $3.8 billion in FY1997 to essentially zero in FY2004. Cost recoveries,
penalties, and interest do continue to contribute some revenues to the trust fund.
However, these revenues have been relatively small, resulting in the bulk of the
funding being provided from general Treasury revenues. There has been ongoing
interest among some Members of Congress in reinstating Superfund taxes on industry
to reduce the reliance on general Treasury revenues, and at least three bills were
introduced to reinstate the taxes, none of which received committee action (H.R.
3584, H.R. 4199, S. 3503). (See CRS Report RL31410, Superfund Taxes or General
Revenues: Future Funding Options for the Superfund Program, by Jonathan L.
Ramseur, Mark Reisch, and James E. McCarthy.)
Members introduced a number of bills in both sessions that addressed various
cleanup issues under Superfund. One received congressional action: S. 1848, which
would have encouraged cleanup at abandoned mines, was reported from the Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee on September 27, 2006 (S.Rept. 109-
351) but was not brought to the floor. Two other bills also dealt with the cleanup of
abandoned mines (H.R. 1265, H.R. 1266). One bill, H.R. 2211, would have
exempted gasoline service station dealers from liability for cleanup of waste oil.
Three bills addressed health hazards from lead-based paint, giving priority

consideration to Superfund sites in awarding federal grants for remediation of this
substance (H.R. 433, H.R. 434, S. 255). Members offered two bills to exclude
manure from the definition of hazardous substance (H.R. 4341, S. 3681).
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, at least six bills were introduced to
address the use of Superfund authorities to respond to public health threats from
releases of hazardous substances that may have occurred during the two storms and
subsequent flooding (H.R. 3958, H.R. 4139, H.R. 4481, S. 1765, S. 1836, S. 1925).
Two resolutions also were introduced expressing the sense of the House and Senate
that the crisis of Hurricane Katrina should not be used as justification to waive or
relax environmental requirements in order to hasten redevelopment (H.Res. 477,
S.Res. 261). (For additional information on Superfund, see CRS Report RL33426,
Superfund: Overview and Selected Issues, by Jonathan L. Ramseur and Mark
Brownfield Issues. Amendments to CERCLA in 2002 (P.L. 107-118) also
authorize EPA to provide assistance to states and tribes for the cleanup of abandoned,
idled, or underutilized commercial and industrial sites, commonly referred to as
“brownfields.” Although brownfields are less contaminated than Superfund sites,
they often require cleanup to make them safe for redevelopment. The House FY2007
Interior appropriations bill, noted above, approved the President’s FY2007 request
of $163.3 million for EPA’s Brownfields program, a slight increase above the
FY2006 appropriation of $162.5 million (after rescissions). The version of H.R.

5386 that was reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee (S.Rept. 109-293)

also provided $163.3 million.
Funding authorization for EPA’s Brownfields Program expired at the end of
FY2006. On July 28, 2006, the House Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure reported H.R. 5810 (H.Rept. 109-608, Part 1), which would have
extended the authorization at the same levels through 2012. The Energy and
Commerce Committee shared jurisdiction of the bill but took no action on it.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also has a
Brownfields Program, which emphasizes economic development projects and the
increase of business and job opportunities for low- and moderate-income persons.
The Administration has sought to end this HUD program each year since the FY2004
budget request, but Congress has appropriated $25 million, $24 million, and $10
million in FY2004, 2005, and 2006, respectively. For FY2007, however, the
appropriations bill for HUD and other agencies that passed the House, and that was
reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee, provided no funding for the
program (H.R. 5576, H.Rept. 109-495, S.Rept. 109-293).
During consideration of H.R. 5576 on the House floor, Members agreed to an
amendment offered by Representative Gary Miller (H.Amdt. 1013) to increase the
HUD Community Development Fund by $15 million, coupled with a $15 million
offset to another HUD account. Supporters of the amendment stated that the funds
would allow the HUD Brownfields program to continue, but the bill’s language did
not explicitly state the purpose of the increase.

If Congress ultimately eliminates funding for HUD’s Brownfields program,
owners of brownfields properties still may be eligible to compete for economic
redevelopment assistance provided through other HUD programs (e.g., Community
Development Block Grant Program). Moreover, the House report also earmarked
$700,000 for two specified brownfield sites, and the Senate report earmarked
$1,450,000 for seven named brownfield sites, despite the lack of funding for a
comprehensive program to address such needs.
In addition to funding, the 109th Congress considered bills addressing the
cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields. In the first session, P.L. 109-59 (H.R.
3) reauthorized funding for federal surface transportation programs and authorized
a pilot program to support planning activities for highway and public transportation
projects, including brownfields redevelopment planning. As passed by the House at
the end of the first session, H.R. 280 would have made HUD brownfields grants
more accessible to smaller communities; the Senate did not take up the bill.
On December 9, 2006, Congress passed H.R. 6111, a bill to amend the Internal
Revenue Code, one provision of which restored the brownfields tax incentive that
had expired at the end of 2005. The provision, section 109, allows brownfield
cleanup costs to be deducted in the same year they are incurred, rather than being
expensed over a period of years. It also expanded the definition of hazardous
substances covered by the tax break to include sites contaminated by petroleum
products. The provision was made retroactive to the time of its expiration and was
extended to December 31, 2007. (For additional information, see CRS Report
RS22502: Brownfields in the 109th Congress, by Mark Reisch.)
Surface Transportation and Environment
(By Linda Luther, Environmental Policy Analyst, 7-6852)
On August 10, 2005, President Bush signed P.L. 109-59 (H.R. 3), the Safe,
Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005: A Legacy
for Users (SAFETEA-LU, also known as SAFETEA). The act authorizes federal
surface transportation programs (highway, highway safety, and transit programs)
undertaken by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through FY2009.
During the reauthorization process, a number of environmental issues garnered
significant attention from both Members of Congress and interested stakeholders
(e.g., state transportation agencies, transportation construction organizations, and
environmental groups). This attention was due to both the impact that surface
transportation projects can have on the environment (and the possible costs
associated with addressing those impacts) and the impact that compliance with
environmental requirements can have on project delivery.
The key environmental provisions in SAFETEA generally do one of the
following: authorize funding to eliminate, control, mitigate, or minimize
environmental impacts associated with surface transportation programs or projects;
or specify procedures required to be undertaken to expedite compliance with certain
environmental requirements. With regard to the latter, environmental provisions in
SAFETEA that have garnered the most attention and debate are those that change the

procedures that DOT will be required to follow to comply with the Clean Air Act’s
(42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq.) conformity requirements; to “streamline” compliance with
environmental review requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act
(NEPA, 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.); and to streamline compliance with “Section 4(f)”
requirements regarding the use of publicly owned parks and recreation areas, wildlife
and waterfowl refuges, and publicly or privately owned historic sites. (For additional
information on these issues, see CRS Report RL33057, Surface Transportation
Reauthorization: Environmental Issues and Legislative Provisions in SAFETEA-LU
(H.R. 3, P.L. 109-59), by Linda Luther, and CRS Report RL32106, Transportation
Conformity Under the Clean Air Act: In Need of Reform? by James E. McCarthy.)
Chemicals: Security and Regulatory Issues
(By Linda Schierow, Specialist in Environmental Policy, 7-7279)
The 109th Congress provided three years of authority for federal oversight of
security measures that might be taken by certain privately owned facilities storing or
handling large quantities of potentially dangerous chemicals. Section 550 of P.L.
109-295 (providing FY2007 appropriations to the Department of Homeland Security
[DHS]) directs DHS to issue, within six months of enactment, interim final
regulations establishing risk-based performance standards for enhancing security
against acts of terrorism at chemical facilities that present high-security risks, and
requiring such facilities to prepare vulnerability assessments and to prepare and
implement site security plans. DHS must review and approve assessments and plans,
but facility owners will be allowed to develop site-specific security measures to meet
performance standards. DHS also is authorized to inspect facilities, and in the event
that a facility fails repeatedly to comply with requirements, the Department may issue
an order to cease operations. A civil penalty of $25,000 is authorized to be applied
to any facility that fails to comply with a DHS order.
P.L. 109-295 leaves unresolved certain issues that were addressed by H.R. 5695,
as reported by the House Homeland Security Committee on September 29, 2006, and
S. 2145, as reported by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Committee on September 11, 2006, which were not enacted. They would have
provided DHS with all the same authority conferred by P.L. 109-295, but these bills
also would have authorized DHS oversight of facilities presenting lower security
risks, as well as of wastewater treatment plants, public water supplies, and port
facilities. Criminal penalties could have been imposed on non-compliant facility
owners or operators, and an office would have been established within DHS to
implement the bills’ provisions. S. 2145 (but not H.R. 5695) would have required
facilities to develop emergency response plans and would have required reports on
DHS implementation by the Government Accountability Office. A particularly
controversial difference between the bills was the provision in the House bill that
would have allowed the DHS Secretary to require a high-risk facility to use
inherently safer technology (IST), if the Secretary determined that it would
significantly reduce the consequences of terrorist actions, would be feasible, and
would not significantly impair the ability of the owner to continue in business. The
Senate bill did not address IST.
Other bills that were not enacted aimed to (1) require community drinking water
systems and wastewater treatment plants that are using hazardous gaseous chemicals

to switch to IST (S. 2855), (2) enhance security for agricultural businesses (S.
2052/H.R. 713) and wastewater treatment facilities (S. 1995, S. 2781), and (3) secure
supplies of ammonium nitrate, an explosive (H.R. 3197/S. 1141, H.R. 1389). S.
2781 was reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on
September 21, 2006, and H.R. 3197 was approved by the House Homeland Security
Committee on June 14, 2006. Some of the provisions of H.R. 3197/S. 1141 were
incorporated as an amendment into S. 2145 on June 15, 2006. (Also see CRS Report
RL31530, Chemical Facility Security, and CRS Report RL33447, Senate Proposals
to Enhance Chemical Facility Security, both by Linda-Jo Schierow, and CRS Report
RL33043, Legislative Approaches to Chemical Facility Security, by Dana A. Shea.)
Legislation that would allow implementation of the Stockholm Convention on
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) also was considered by the 109th Congress. The
Stockholm Convention bans or severely restricts production, trade, and use of 12
POPs, including DDT, PCBs, and other chemicals that generally are no longer in
U.S. commerce. Although the President signed the treaty, enabling legislation must
be passed to enable U.S. ratification. Five bills were introduced but none were
enacted during the 109th Congress. H.R. 3849 and S. 2042 would have amended the
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs
pesticidal uses of the chemicals. H.R. 4591, H.R. 4800, and H.R. 6421 (introduced
on December 8, 2006, the last day of the 109th Congress) would have amended the
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which more generally authorizes EPA
regulation of chemicals in U.S. commerce. The Administration and the chemical
industry have been urging Congress to enact implementing legislation for several
years, but particular legislative provisions have been controversial, especially with
regard to proposed changes to EPA’s existing regulatory authority for POPs under
TSCA and FIFRA. (See CRS Report RS22379, Persistent Organic Pollutants
(POPS): Fact Sheet on Three International Agreements, and CRS Report RL33336,
Implementing International Agreements on Persistent, Organic Pollutants (POPs):
Proposed Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act, both by Linda-Jo
Defense Environmental Cleanup and Other Issues
(By David Bearden, Environmental Policy Analyst, 7-2390)
The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for cleaning up contamination
and complying with other environmental requirements on approximately 29 million
acres of military lands in the United States. In addition to these activities, the
Department of Energy (DOE), as part of its overall responsibility for U.S. nuclear
weapons programs, is responsible for cleaning up contamination on former nuclear
weapons sites. In its first session, the 109th Congress enacted FY2006 appropriations
for these activities, including funding for the cleanup of closed military bases (P.L.

109-114, H.R. 2528), active installations and other former military properties (P.L.

109-148, H.R. 2863), and nuclear weapons sites (P.L. 109-103, H.R. 2419). FY2006
defense authorization legislation also was enacted in the first session (P.L. 109-163,
H.R. 1815), including specific funding authorizations for cleanup of these lands.
Attention in the second session focused on authorization and appropriation of
funds for FY2007. The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2007 (P.L. 109-

364, H.R. 5122) authorized funding for national security activities, including cleanup

on military lands and nuclear weapons sites. In addition to authorizing funding, the
law included numerous environmental provisions, such as a requirement for a study
of the past disposal of chemical and conventional munitions in the ocean. (See CRS
Report RL33432, U.S. Disposal of Chemical Weapons in the Ocean: Background
and Issues for Congress, by David M. Bearden.) The law also included a
requirement for DOD to prepare a comprehensive plan for cleaning up munitions on
the land according to specific time frames. These time frames constitute non-binding
goals, rather than enforceable requirements. Considering the magnitude of cleanup
challenges at munitions sites, meeting these time frames is likely to be difficult at
best, and may be economically or technically infeasible at some sites.
The 109th Congress adjourned without finalizing FY2007 appropriations for
defense-related environmental activities, but it did enact a continuing resolution (P.L.

109-383, H.J.Res. 102) that provided funding for these and other military activities,

as well as other federal agencies, through February 15, 2007. Earlier in the second
session, the House passed the FY2007 Military Quality of Life, Veterans Affairs, and
Related Agencies appropriations bill (H.R. 5385, H.Rept. 109-464) on May 19, 2006,
which included funding for the cleanup of active military installations, closed bases,
and other former military lands. The Senate passed its version of H.R. 5385 (S.Rept.
109-286) on November 14, 2006, including funding for cleanup of closed bases, but
not for other military sites.
In the Senate, cleanup of active installations and former military lands not
closed under a consolidated base closure round is funded within the annual DOD
appropriations bill. Funding for the cleanup of these sites in FY2006 was included
in the final DOD appropriations bill, in accordance with Senate subcommittee
jurisdiction. For FY2007, the 109th Congress had planned to alternate this
arrangement and defer to House subcommittee jurisdiction. Accordingly, the
Department of Defense Appropriations Act for FY2007 (P.L. 109-289, H.R. 5631)
did not include any funding for cleanup of military sites. Funding for this activity
would have been provided within the final version of the Military Quality of Life
appropriations bill, if it had been enacted prior to the adjournment of the 109th
The 109th Congress also did not finalize FY2007 appropriations for DOE’s
cleanup of nuclear weapons sites. Earlier in the second session, the House passed the
FY2007 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill (H.R. 5427, H.Rept.
109-474) on May 24, 2006, which included this funding. The Senate Appropriations
Committee reported its version of this bill (S.Rept. 109-274) on June 29, 2006.
Further action on the bill did not occur, and funding for the cleanup of nuclear
weapons sites was provided through February 15, 2007, under the continuing
resolution noted above. (See the “Environmental Management” section in CRS
Report RL33346, Energy and Water Development: FY2007 Appropriations,
coordinated by Carl E. Behrens.)
The adequacy of funding to clean up contamination on military lands is a long-
standing issue. Although DOD is required to clean up all contaminated lands within
its jurisdiction, closed bases have been of particular concern because cleanup
generally must occur before the land can be transferred for civilian use. Most of the
land on bases closed in past rounds from 1988 through 1995 has been cleaned up and

transferred for redevelopment. However, some of the land has yet to be cleaned up
and has been awaiting transfer for many years — over a decade in some instances.
The closure of additional bases approved in the 2005 round will increase the
inventory of military properties slated for civilian reuse. There has been rising
concern among affected communities about the extent to which contamination on
these properties could delay or affect the potential for economic redevelopment to
replace lost jobs. (See CRS Report RS22065, Military Base Closures: Role and
Costs of Environmental Cleanup, by David M. Bearden.)
Another issue has been whether DOD requests broader environmental
exemptions than provided in current law are necessary to preserve military training
capabilities. The 107th and 108th Congresses enacted exemptions from certain wildlife
protection requirements that DOD requested. DOD also has requested exemptions
from certain air quality and hazardous waste cleanup requirements each year since
FY2003, and requested them again in its FY2007 defense authorization proposal.
There was considerable public concern that these exemptions could result in harmful
exposure to air pollutants and hazardous substances, and the109th Congress did not
include these exemptions in either defense authorization or appropriations legislation.
(See CRS Report RS22149, Exemptions from Environmental Law for the Department
of Defense: An Overview of Congressional Action, by David M. Bearden.)
The adequacy and pace of cleanup at nuclear weapons sites also is a long-
standing issue. DOE has disposed of substantial volumes of radioactive and
hazardous wastes and remediated contamination in buildings, soil, and groundwater
at many nuclear weapons sites. However, sites with the greatest cleanup challenges
are not scheduled for completion until more than a decade from now, with the last
sites not expected to be complete until 2035. Among the most complex and costliest
needs are the removal and disposal of high-level radioactive wastes stored in
underground tanks at three sites, including Hanford in Washington State, Savannah
River in South Carolina, and the Idaho National Laboratory. The extent to which
these wastes can be removed safely from the tanks to prepare them for closure has
been of particular concern among Members of Congress, affected states, and public
health and environmental advocates. (See CRS Report RS21988, Radioactive Tank
Waste from the Past Production of Nuclear Weapons: Background and Issues for
Congress, by David M. Bearden and Anthony Andrews.)
Alternative Fuels and Advanced Technology Vehicles
(By Brent Yacobucci, Specialist in Environmental Policy, 7-9662)
The development of alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles has
emerged as a key issue in the 109th Congress. Advanced technology vehicles, such
as hybrids and fuel cell vehicles, have the potential to significantly increase
passenger-vehicle fuel economy and reduce vehicle emissions. However, mass
production of such vehicles is currently cost-prohibitive, and many technical and cost
barriers are associated with producing, storing, and delivering these alternative fuels.
Therefore, there was interest in Congress and the Administration in legislatively
supporting alternative vehicle and fuel development, and promoting their entry into
the marketplace.

As noted above, the 109th Congress enacted comprehensive energy legislation,
similar to unfinished legislation in the 108th Congress. Signed by President Bush on
August 8, 2005, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58; H.R. 6) authorizes
increased funding for hydrogen and fuel cell research, establishes tax credits for the
purchase of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles, and promotes
biofuels. A key component of H.R. 6, a renewable fuels standard (RFS), requires the
use of 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel in gasoline by 2012. Earlier versions of
the bill would have granted blenders of renewable fuels and MTBE (another gasoline
additive) a “safe harbor” from defective product liability, but these provisions were
not included in the final bill. Similar liability protection for MTBE was included in
the energy bill in the 108th Congress and was cited as one of the impediments to the
bill’s passage.
The 109th Congress enacted legislation to reauthorize federal highway and
transit programs. As discussed above, on August 10, 2005, President Bush signed
the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for
Users (P.L. 109-59, H.R. 3). Among other provisions, the highway bill reauthorizes
funding for various projects, including advanced technology and alternative fuel
transit buses. Further, the bill allows states to exempt certain alternative fuel and
high-efficiency vehicles from high occupancy vehicle (HOV) restrictions.
A key component of the Bush Administration’s environmental goals focused on
research on hydrogen fuel and fuel cells — through the Hydrogen Fuel and
FreedomCAR initiatives. For FY2006, Congress appropriated approximately $340
million for these initiatives, about $20 million below the Administration’s request
(Energy and Water Appropriations bill, P.L. 109-103). In his January 2006 State of
the Union address, President Bush also announced a new Biofuels Initiative to
promote R&D on fuels produced from biomass. The administration requested $150
million for this initiative in FY2007, a 65% increase above FY2006. However, the
109th Congress did not enact the FY2007 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. (For
further discussion, see CRS Report RL33564, Alternative Fuels and Advanced
Technology Vehicles: Issues in Congress, by Brent D. Yacobucci.)
High gasoline prices in spring 2006 led to increased interest in alternative fuels,
especially ethanol. A rapid voluntary phase-out of MTBE by refiners, along with the
transition from winter to summer air quality specifications, put a strain on gasoline
and ethanol supplies, although those pressures largely relaxed over the summer and
fall of 2006. These supply issues raised interest in simplifying U.S. gasoline supply
system, which has been criticized as a “patchwork” of federal and state regulations.
(For more information, see CRS Report RL31361, “Boutique Fuels” and
Reformulated Gasoline: Harmonization of Gasoline Standards, by Brent D.
Yacobucci.) The tight supply for ethanol raised interest by some Members in
postponing the implementation of the RFS established in P.L. 109-58. Questions
were also raised on the effects of eliminating import duties for ethanol from countries
such as Brazil.

Table 1. Environmental Protection Legislation Passed in
the 109th Congress
Bill StatusPurpose
H.R. 3 (P.L. 109-59)Signed by the PresidentAmong other provisions, amends
The Safe, Accountable,August 10, 2005the Clean Air Act conformity
Flexible and Efficient(H.Rept. 109-203)provisions and specifies
Transportation Equity Act ofprocedures to perform
2005: A Legacy for Usersenvironmental reviews under
(SAFETEA-LU)NEPA for transportation
projects. Amends the DOT Act
of 1966 regarding protection of
historic sites and specifies
funding levels for projects
intended to improve air quality
and mitigate other environmental
impacts. Establishes a pilot
program that includes brownfield
p l a nni ng.
H.R. 6 (P.L. 109-58)Signed by the President An omnibus energy bill. Various
Energy Policy Act of 2005August 8, 2005environmental provisions include
(H.Rept. 109-190)expediting permitting,
amendments to the Clean Air Act
fuels requirements, funding for
MTBE cleanup, and a renewable
fuels standard (RFS).
H.R. 280 Passed the House Makes HUD brownfields grants
Brownfields RedevelopmentDecember 13, 2005more accessible to smaller
Enhancement Act(H.Rept. 109-138)communities.
H.R. 1721 Passed the House Amends the Clean Water Act to
Coastal Recreation Water December 7, 2005reauthorize coastal recreation
Quality and Monitoring(H.Rept. 109-292)water quality programs (Section
H.R. 1815 (P.L. 109-163)Signed by the PresidentAuthorized FY2006 funding for
National DefenseJanuary 6, 2006national defense programs,
Authorization Act for(H.Rept. 109-360)including environmental cleanup
FY2006at active, closed, and other
former military installations, and
former defense nuclear weapons
sites. Did not include
exemptions from the Clean Air
Act, Solid Waste Disposal Act,
and CERCLA that DOD had
H.R. 2361 (P.L. 109-54)Signed by the PresidentFunded EPA at $7.73 billion for
Interior, Environment andAugust 2, 2005 FY2006 (subject to a 0.476%
Related Agencies(H.Rept. 109-188)across-the-board rescission and a
Appropriations Act FY20061% government-wide recision in
P.L. 109-148).
H.R. 2419 (P.L. 109-103)Signed by the President Appropriated FY2006 funding
Energy and WaterNovember 19, 2005for environmental cleanup at
Development Appropriations(H.Rept. 109-275)former defense nuclear weapons
Act for FY2006sites.

Bill StatusPurpose
H.R. 2528 (P.L. 109-114)Signed by the President Appropriated FY2006 funding
Military Quality of Life,November 30, 2005for national defense programs,
Military Construction,(H.Rept. 109-305)including environmental cleanup
Veterans Affairs and Relatedat closed military installations.
Agencies Appropriations Act
for FY2006
H.R. 2863 (P.L. 109-148)Signed by the President Appropriated FY2006 funding
Department of DefenseDecember 30, 2005for national defense programs,
Appropriations Act for(H.Rept 109-359)including funding for cleanup of
FY2006active and former military
installations. Included a 1%
government-wide rescission and
reallocated $8 million to EPA for
responding to leaking
underground storage tanks in
areas affected by Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita.
H.R. 3893Passed the House A bill to expedite the
Gasoline for America’sOctober 7, 2005construction of new U.S. refining
Security Act of 2005(H.Rept. 109-244)capacity. Among other
provisions, the bill would
streamline federal permitting and
limit the number of fuel blends
na tio nwid e.
H.R. 3963 (P.L. 109-137)Signed by the PresidentAmends the Clean Water Act to
Long Island SoundDecember 22, 2005reauthorize the Long Island
Authorization of(H.Rept. 109-293)Sound Program (Sec. 119)
Appropriatio ns
H.R. 4939 (P.L. 109-234)Signed by the PresidentIncreased EPAs FY2006
Emergency SupplementalJune 15, 2006appropriation by $13 million for
Appropriations Act for(H.Rept. 109-494)activities to protect public health
FY2006and respond to leaking
underground tanks in areas
affected by Hurricane Katrina
and other hurricanes in the 2005
H.R. 5122 (P.L. 109-364)Signed by the PresidentAuthorized FY2007funding for
National DefenseOctober 5, 2006national defense programs,
Authorization Act for(H.Rept. 109-702)including cleanup on military
FY2007lands and former nuclear
weapons sites. Included
numerous other environmental
provisions, but did not include
exemptions from air quality and
cleanup requirements requested
by DOD

Bill StatusPurpose
H.R. 5385Passed the House House bill would have
FY2007 Military Quality ofMay 19, 2006appropriated FY2007 funding for
Life, Veterans Affairs, and(H.Rept. 109-464)military and other activities,
Related AgenciesPassed the Senateincluding cleanup on all military
appropriations billNovember 14, 2006lands. Senate bill would have
(S.Rept. 109-286)funded cleanup on closed bases
but not other military lands.
Neither version included
exemptions from air quality and
cleanup requirements DOD
H.R. 5386Passed the House Would have appropriated
FY2007 Interior,May 18, 2006FY2007 funding for the
Environment, and Related(H.Rept. 109-465)Environmental Protection
Agencies appropriations billAgency (EPA) and numerous
other agencies.
H.R. 5427Passed the HouseWould have appropriated
FY2007 Energy and WaterMay 24, 2006FY2007 funding for the
Development appropriations(H.Rept. 109-474)Department of Energy’s cleanup
billof former nuclear weapons sites.
H.R. 5441 (P.L. 109-295)Signed by the PresidentFunds DHS. Authorizes DHS to
Department of HomelandOctober 4, 2006regulate high-risk chemical
Security (DHS)(H.Rept. 109-699)facilities to enhance security
Appropriations Act foragainst terrorism. DHS authority
FY2007to regulate ends October 4, 2009.
H.R. 5970Passed the House Would extend until the end of
Estate Tax and Extension ofJuly 29, 20062007 the tax incentives for
Tax Relief Act of 2006(No written report);brownfield remediation costs that
failed in Senate on clotureexpired at the end of 2005.
motion August 3, 2006.
H.R. 6121Signed by the PresidentAmends the Clean Water Act to
( P.L. 109-392)December 12, 2006reauthorize the Lake
Lake Pontchartrain Basin(No written report)Pontchartrain Basin program
reauthorization(Sec. 121)
S. 1709 Passed the Senate SeptemberAdds flexibility to the clean
Gulf Coast Emergency 27, 2005 (no written report)water and drinking water state
Water Assistance Actrevolving fund programs to
facilitate use of funds to repair
water infrastructure damaged by
Hurricane Katrina or related
co nd itio ns.
Note: This table includes bills enacted during the 109th Congress, as well as bills passed by either
the House or Senate but not enacted.