Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. August 2, 2013.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has statutory authority to regulate chemical facilities for security purposes. The 113th Congress extended this authority through October 4, 2013. Congressional policymakers have debated the scope and details of reauthorization and continue to consider establishing an authority with longer duration. Some Members of Congress support an extension, either short- or long-term, of the existing authority. Other Members call for revision and more extensive codification of chemical facility security regulatory provisions. Questions regarding the current law’s effectiveness in reducing chemical facility risk and the sufficiency of federal chemical facility security efforts exacerbate the tension between continuing current policies and changing the statutory authority.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R42918.pdf [PDF format, 45 pages].
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. May 20, 2013.
There are concerns about potential environmental impacts from eventual release of cargo and fuel from the 20,000 shipwrecks in U.S. waters. Although a few, such as the U.S.S. Mississinewa and the Jacob Luckenbach, are well-publicized oil pollution threats, most wrecks, unless they pose an immediate pollution threat or impede navigation, are left alone and are largely forgotten until they begin to leak, often becoming the source of “mystery spills” that harm coastal economies and environments.
http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/protect/ppw/pdfs/2013_potentiallypollutingwrecks.pdf [PDF format, 195 pages].
Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council. May 2013.
The report examines scientific and technical issues related to determining risks posed to listed species by pesticides. It evaluates methods for identifying the best scientific data available; to evaluate approaches for developing modeling assumptions; to identify authoritative geospatial information that might be used in risk assessments; to review approaches for characterizing sublethal, indirect, and cumulative effects; to assess the scientific information available for estimating effects of mixtures and inert ingredients; and to consider the use of uncertainty factors to account for gaps in data. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
https://download.nap.edu/chapterlist.php?record_id=18344&type=pdf_chapter&free=1 [HTML with links to chapters in PDF format].
Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. May 9, 2013.
The explosion on April 17, 2013, at the West Fertilizer Company fertilizer distribution facility in West, TX, has led to questions about the oversight and regulation of agricultural fertilizer. Facilities holding chemicals must comply with regulations attempting to ensure occupational safety, environmental protection, and homeland security. In addition to federal regulation requiring reporting and planning for ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia, most state and some local governments have laws and regulations regarding the handling of either or both of these chemicals.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R43070.pdf [PDF format, 20 pages].
National Wildlife Federation. April 2013.
Three years after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and dumped more than 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, wildlife and wetlands are still recovering. This report gives a snapshot view of six wildlife species that depend on a healthy Gulf and the coastal wetlands that are critical to the Gulf’s food web. It describes different sources of restoration funding and provides initial suggestions as to how this funding can be used to improve the outlook for the species discussed in the report. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.nwf.org/~/media/PDFs/Wildlife/2013_NWF_Restoring_Gulf_Report_FINAL.pdf [PDF format, 15 pages].