Environmental Protection Laws

Posted: Apr 6, 2010

Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act (CAA) is the core law that establishes a comprehensive national program for reducing emissions from factories, cars, and other sources in order to protect human health and the environment. The law directs the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish national clean air standards, but then gives the states and tribes an opportunity to take a lead role in meeting those standards. The law also gives EPA the responsibility for setting emissions limits for many sources of pollution...

Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the common name for the 1977 amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (FWPCA). The objective of the CWA is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters.

Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of the most powerful of this nation's environmental laws. Passed in 1973, the act's purpose is to both conserve and restore species that have been listed by the federal government as either endangered or threatened (referred to as "listed" species).

National Environmental Policy Act

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the nation's basic environmental law that applies to almost all actions taken by — or approved by — federal agencies. The first part of NEPA (section 101) establishes broad environmental goals for the nation. The second part (section 102) contains the statute's requirements for agency actions. Its principle is that federal agencies should "look before they leap."

Climate Change Policy and Greenhouse Gas Regulation

The legal framework for greenhouse gas regulation in the U.S. is marked by complicated policy decisions and conflicts of interest that have resulted in a number of statutes, treaties, and judicial decisions. That framework is evolving quickly, and this page sorts trough its most important components.

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