Environmental and Energy Law Blog

Monday, July 22, 2019

An Overview of U.S. Environmental Law

Environmental law is a broad term that encompasses federal, state, and local statutes, rules, and regulations.

Environmental law can be created at the federal, state and local levels, and likewise the responsibility of enforcement is a complex mixture of federal, state and local agencies.

Below is an overview of key federal environmental legislation. 

Key federal environmental legislation

Federal environmental law in the United States consists primarily of the following: 

  • Clean Air Act – The Clean Air Act regulates air quality and addresses air pollution from stationary sources. Regulated entities include refineries, power plants, petrochemical plants,  and mobile sources.
  • Clean Water Act – The Clean Water Act regulates the discharge of pollutants into bodies of water and the quality of surface waters. 
  • Endangered Species Act – The Endangered Species Act is designed to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitats. The Fish and Wildlife Service, which is an agency within the Department of the Interior, is primarily responsible for the protection of freshwater and terrestrial species, and the National Marine Fisheries Service is primarily responsible for the protection of marine wildlife.
  • Toxic Substances Control Act – The Toxic Substances Control Act regulates the use, production, disposal, and importation of chemical mixtures and substances. 
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act – The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also known as "Superfund," is responsible for regulating the cleanup of hazardous substance sites.
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act – The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulates the transportation, handling, treatment, disposal, and storage of hazardous wastes. 
  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act – The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act regulates pesticide use, sale, and distribution via a licensing program administered by the EPA.
  • Safe Drinking Water Act – The Safe Drinking Water Act regulates the country's public water systems. In addition, this act regulates the operation, construction, closure, and permitting of underground injection wells. 
  • National Environmental Policy Act - The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to evaluate the environmental impacts of proposed projects prior to authorization.
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act – The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act regulates the use, storage, and release of hazardous substances into the environment.

Texas Environmental Law Attorneys   

If you need guidance on how to comply with federal, state, and local environmental laws, then you need Texas environmental law attorney C. William Smalling on your side. Whether providing you with guidance on environmental matters or litigating government enforcement actions, the experience of C. William Smalling will give you a significant edge in all of your legal dealings. We take pride in providing our business clients with the legal tools to remain confident while navigating the complicated world of environmental regulations. If your company is facing legal action or simply needs guidance in the area of environmental law, please contact the Law Office of C. William Smalling for a consultation. 


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