United States Environmental Law At A Glance

United States Environmental Law at a Glance

Unlike many nations, the United States has several overlapping environmental statutes that are basically broken out by element. These are outlines meant as a quick overview of very complex and dense statutes. There are additional laws that cover other parts of the environment that are not mentioned here, such as the Endangered Species Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, the Pollution Prevention Act and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

A. Regulation of Solid Waste
There are two statutes that regulate solid waste. The most well-known is The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) or “Superfund” as it is commonly known. CERCLA is meant to provide a mechanism to clean up existing sites that have been contaminated. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (also known as the Solid Waste Disposal Act) on the other hand establishes the provisions to obtain permits to properly dispose of hazardous waste.
B. The Clean Air Act
Since the Clean Air Act was amended in 1990,this statute has become of increasing importance especially to industries in urban areas.
C. The Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act, also known as the Federal Water Pollution Prevention and Control Act, was the first federal statute to establish a permit program. Its comprehensive coverage extends to anything that finds its way into a water of the United States.
D. Other Environmental Statutes
In addition to the above environmental statutes there a few other statutes that are worth mentioning. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 provides the policy backbone on which the other environmental statutes were built. In addition, it requires that governmental agencies perform a Environmental Impact Statement prior to undertaking projects that will have a significant impact on the environment. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) concerns primarily information that must be provided prior to manufacturing particular toxic substances.

Please note that the materials included here on the Environmental Law Blog are furnished as general information only. They are not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship legal advice nor are they intended as a substitute for obtaining specific legal advice from qualified legal counsel. If expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

Copyright, 1998, Steven M. Taber staber@taberlaw.com


  1. how can be stopped to the natural disaster?

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