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Category Archives: Government Documents

Drought in the United States: Science, Policy, and Selected Federal Authorities

CRS Report – Drought in the United States: Science, Policy, and Selected Federal Authorities, September 16, 2021: “Drought―a deficiency of moisture that results in adverse effects―occurs to some extent almost every year in areas of the United States. Droughts can simultaneously reduce available water supplies and increase demands for water. Drought has the potential to affect economic and environmental conditions on local, regional, and national scales, as well as to cause disruptions in water supplies for households and communities. Droughts are a component of climate variability and may be seasonal, multiyear, or multidecadal in duration. According to an August 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the physical science of climate change, variable precipitation and rising temperatures are intensifying droughts in some U.S. regions. According to the report, certain types of droughts, such as those causing agricultural impacts,are expected to be more likely in the western and central regions of the United States in the future. The federal government generally defers to state primacy in surface and groundwater allocation, and states and local entities typically lead efforts to prepare for drought. Multiple federal agencies contribute to these efforts to predict, plan for, and respond to drought. The federal government, and in particular the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), plays a key role in researching and monitoring drought through the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and the U.S. Drought Monitor. Other federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), also research and monitor drought factors and conditions. The USDA provides the primary federal financial aid to lessen the impacts of drought and compensate for agricultural production loss after drought onset. Congress has authorized federal assistance for other aspects of drought, but these programs generally are limited in scope. In localities or watersheds with major projects managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation, which operates exclusively in the 17 arid western states) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE, which operates nationwide), the federal role in water management is more direct and can be especially controversial during times of drought, when multiple users compete for water. Congress has directed both Reclamation and USACE to plan for future droughts at federally authorized projects. Other federal programs, such as those supporting non federal efforts to develop water conservation, water reuse and recycling, rural water supplies,or other municipal and industrial water supplies, may prioritize projects that lessen the impacts of drought even when these programs do not focus exclusively on drought. Severe drought in California from 2012 to 2016, as well as widespread drought in the western United States in 2021 and other recent events, has raised the profile of drought and led to increasing congressional and administrative proposals to prepare for and respond to its impacts. Congressional interest in drought may include new and amended authorities for drought planning and response;emergency appropriations to alleviate drought impacts and enhance related activities; and oversight of ongoing federal drought science, preparedness, and management efforts.”

Climate Trace

“Climate TRACE is a global coalition created to make meaningful climate action faster and easier by independently tracking greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with unprecedented detail and speed. We harness satellite imagery and other forms of remote sensing, artificial intelligence, and collective data science expertise to track human-caused GHG emissions as they happen. Climate TRACE’s emissions… Continue Reading

LegalRuleML Core Specification Version 1.0

Oasis Open: “…Legal texts, e.g. legislation, regulations, contracts, and case law, are the source of norms, guidelines, and rules. As text, it is difficult to exchange specific information content contained in the texts between parties, to search for and extract structured the content from the texts, or to automatically process it further. Legislators, legal practitioners,… Continue Reading

Americans have little trust in online security: AP-NORC poll

AP:  “Most Americans don’t believe their personal information is secure online and aren’t satisfied with the federal government’s efforts to protect it, according to a poll. The poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MeriTalk shows that 64% of Americans say their social media activity is not very or not at… Continue Reading

Republicans seek Pennsylvania voters’ personal information as they try to review the 2020 results

The New York Times: “Pennsylvania Republicans moved on Wednesday to seek personal information on every voter in the state as part of a brewing partisan review of the 2020 election results, rubber-stamping more than a dozen subpoenas for driver’s license numbers and partial Social Security numbers. The expansive request for personal information, directed at Pennsylvania’s… Continue Reading

GPO Digitizes List Of Publications The Federal Government Has Produced Since The 1800s

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, a historical list of publications the Federal Government produced from 1895 to 2004, as well as other historic government publication indexes. Librarians, scholars, students, and the general public can use these indexes to find historic publications of the U.S. Government.… Continue Reading

Citation Stickiness, Computer-Assisted Legal Research, and the Universe of Thinkable Thoughts

Kirschenfeld, Aaron and Chew, Alexa, Citation Stickiness, Computer-Assisted Legal Research, and the Universe of Thinkable Thoughts (April 19, 2021). Available at SSRN: or “Legal information has been available in widespread digital format for more than forty years. In that time, law librarians have wondered whether this digital switch has changed how law students… Continue Reading

They Knew: How the U.S. Government Helped Cause the Climate Crisis

Yale Environment 360 – “James Gustave Speth has been calling for action on climate since serving in the White House in the 1970s. In an e360 interview, he talks about his new book, which chronicles how successive U.S. administrations repeatedly failed to act in response to scientists’ increasingly dire warnings. Few people have followed the… Continue Reading

Government Lawyers: Technicians, Policy Shapers and Organisational Brakes

Lewis, Philip S.C. and Mulcahy, Linda, Government Lawyers: Technicians, Policy Shapers and Organisational Brakes (January 10, 2021). (2021) 28 International Journal of the Legal Profession 23, Available at SSRN: “Government lawyers have been rather neglected by scholars interested in the workings of the legal profession and the role of professional groups in contemporary society.… Continue Reading

Annotated Bibliography of COVID-19 Legal Literature

AustLII Communities – “The annotated bibliography below is arranged into A) Literature B) Organisations and C) Blogs, journals and websites. Part A includes scholarship and selected professional literature. It begins with books and then other literature, which is divided into broad topics – general legal literature followed by more specific topics. Where appropriate, we have… Continue Reading

Recent Steps Toward Improved Access to Federal Legislation

Information Today – Barbie E. Keiser – “During recent virtual meetings, representatives of several government entities showed how they had used the time during the pandemic to increase the public’s access to legislative information. The real takeaway from each online meeting is the degree to which these entities collaborate on projects. The Library of Congress… Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Continue Live Audio Streaming of Arguments Through Fall

EPIC: “The U.S. Supreme Court announced Wednesday that it will continue streaming live audio of its oral arguments at least through December of this year. The justices will also resume holding arguments in person, though the Court building will remain closed to the public. The Court’s announcement came the same day that EPIC and a… Continue Reading