In the past 50 years several key environmental laws, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Interior Department, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (EPA), have been adopted by or amended by the US Congress (see below, The regulatory authorities).

Many of the main laws place main responsibility on execution by State government agencies, with the federal government maintaining supervision and enforcement authority to guarantee adherence.

Unless forbidden by federal status, state governments can typically implement stricter laws and regulations than permitted in federal law.

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Below are the law that protects the environment in the United States:

1.      Clean Air Act (CAA)

This controls air quality and fixes air emissions from static sources such as power plants, refineries, petrochemical plants and plants, mobile resources such as automobiles, lorries, aircraft, etc.

The CAA is responsible for the implementation of such a program, including national environmental quality requirements, under the EPA as well as individual states (NAAQS). Important recent trends, all in dispute and/or awaiting EPO revision, include:


2.      Drinking Water Act

This controls the public supply of drinking water through public water systems regulation. The SDWA also controls the design, installation, authorization, and locking of injection wells under the surface. The EPA released an emergency order under the SDWA in Flint, Michigan in early 2016 to fix the levels of plumbing in drinking water. The EPO is also looking at amendments to an existing regulation requiring public water systems to minimize drinking water lead and copper.

3.      Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)

This Act is often referred to as the “Superfund” for the clean-up of hazardous substance sites and collisions, spills, and other emergency exposures into the world of dangerous substances. For the disposal of dangerous chemicals, CERCLA imposes strict responsibility on all parties.

4.      Endangered Species Act (ESA).

This is about protecting and recovering the animals and their habitats threatened and endangered. The US Department of Fish and Wildlife is primarily responsible for terrestrial and freshwater animals, while the National Marine Fisheries Service of the Department of Commerce is primarily responsible for marine fauna.

5.      Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

This governs the manufacture, import, and use of industrial chemicals and mixtures and the treatment of them. Then-President Obama, on 22 June 2016, signed the Frank R Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act for the 21st Century which amends TSCA and fully reviews the regulation of US chemicals.

6.      Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

This controls the handling, transport, care, recycling, and distribution from generation to the ultimate disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA also has a smaller regulatory framework for managing such solid non-hazardous waste, including an autonomous Federal Coal Combustion Residual Control Program.

Bottom Line

The United States of America is very interested in good environmental practices as a nation. Legislation and laws have been enacted by the parliament to protect the country’s environment.