Environmental Laws You Should Know About

In the 1970s, Congress passed a series of laws that targeted environmental improvements. The goal was to clean up the earth and protect our most valuable assets. In recent years, we’ve seen administrations go back and forth regarding these regulations.

Eco-friendly legislation mainly prevents large corporations from dumping waste into communities and ecosystems. However, these laws are also directed at individuals to defend wildlife. Brush up on your legalese and discover a few environmental laws you should know about.

Clean Air Act (CAA)

One of the most important eco-friendly regulations is the Clean Air Act. The CAA was one of the United States’ first environmental laws and paved the way for future legislation. The Clean Air Act has undergone many changes over the years, aiming to regulate and reduce toxic emissions.

Under this law, Congress identified various sources of pollution. Through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), legislators set standards for maximum emission amounts for various pollutants. Since its creation, the CAA has been credited by many for improving overall air quality compared to previous data.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

Have you ever wondered what businesses do with their toxic materials? After the passing of laws like the CAA, corporations began creating more solid waste to reduce their emissions. This presented a new problem, which the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) aims to solve.

The RCRA determines who, when, how, and where businesses can dispose of their hazardous waste. The EPA joined forces with the Department of Transportation (DoT) to enforce these regulations. Companies can avoid hazardous waste violations like expensive fines by educating themselves, hiring a safety manager, or working with a specialized disposal service.

Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Another environmental law you should know about is the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This regulation is unique because it doesn’t only target commercial operations. The EPA doesn’t govern this one, either. Instead, the US Fish and Wildlife Service oversees enforcement with the help of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This law allows agencies to identify conservation land and prohibits hunting certain wildlife. It also has a plan to increase endangered populations. Environmental activists believe the ESA is wildly successful and pushes for expansion.

Other important laws include the Clean Water Act, the National Environment Policy Act, and many more. Ultimately, it’s up to individuals, businesses, and government agencies to work together to follow and enforce these regulations.

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Written by Emma Radebaugh

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