Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (10/01/1991)

Department of the Environment Act of 1991- Title I: Elevation of the Environmental Protection Agency to Cabinet Level - Department of the Environment Act - Redesignates the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the Department of the Environment, an executive agency to be administered by a Secretary of the Environment.

Encourages the Secretary to: (1) assist the Secretary of State in participating in international environmental protection agreements and organizations; (2) conduct research on international environmental problems and develop responses to such problems; and (3) provide technical and other assistance to foreign countries and international bodies to improve the environment.

Provides for the continuance of specified EPA positions without renomination or reconfirmation.

Establishes: (1) a Bureau of Environmental Statistics within the Department; and (2) an Advisory Council on Environmental Statistics to advise the Bureau on statistics and analyses.

Authorizes appropriations.

Authorizes the Secretary of the Environment to make grants to, and enter into contracts with, State and local governments to assist in data collection.

Directs the Secretary to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences for a study and report on the adequacy of the Department's data collection procedures and capabilities.

Sets forth administrative provisions concerning the acquisition of gifts, property, copyrights, and patents by the Department.

Provides that the EPA seal shall be the official departmental seal until the Secretary approves another seal. Prescribes civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized uses of the seal.

Authorizes the Secretary to promulgate regulations governing advisory committee standards of conduct and compensation.

Sets forth conflict-of-interest disclosure requirements for persons entering into contracts or other arrangements for the provision of services with the Secretary.

Directs the Secretary to promulgate regulations requiring public notice to be given when the award of a contract, agreement, or other arrangement may result in a conflict-of-interest.

Title II: Environmental Role of the United States in International Organizations to Which It Belongs - Urges the Secretary of State to convene international conferences to encourage the exchange of information on energy efficiency and environmentally acceptable renewable energy sources. Requires the President to encourage the establishment of an international office to monitor annual generation of carbon dioxide and trace gases on a country-by-country basis.

Title III: Establishment of the Commission on Improving Environmental Protection - Establishes the Commission on Improving Environmental Protection to make recommendations on the implementation of Federal environmental laws to protect human health and the environment. Authorizes appropriations.

Title IV: Private Property Rights - Private Property Rights Act - Provides that no regulation promulgated by an executive agency shall become effective until the Attorney General certifies that the agency is in compliance with Executive Order 12630 or similar procedures to assess the potential for the taking of private property in the course of Federal regulatory activity, with the goal of minimizing such taking where possible. Requires the Attorney General, upon receiving agency guidelines for such compliance, to either approve them or notify the agency of any modifications necessary to obtain approval.

Limits judicial review of actions under this Act to whether such certification has occurred. Permits such review only in the same forum and at the same time as the pertinent regulation is subject to review.

Title V: Effective Date - Sets forth the effective date of this Act.