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Environmental Law:

What is environmental law?

Environmental law, which is also know as the National Environmental Policy Act, is a law that was passed in 1970. Along with another environmental act, the Environmental Quality Improvement Act, this law was passed in order to protect the environment and thus the public from a variety of actions that could result in pollution and damage to the air, water, and other areas of the environment. NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) is responsible for the formation of policies relating to environmental safety and protection. NEPA also makes assessments relating to environmental protection or dangers, and is responsible for raising awareness about protecting the environment as well as providing the means to eliminate danger. The aim of the act is to establish goals and laws to cut the risk of harm on the environment.

Environmental law can be complicated and is made up of a number of federal statutes, all of which are aimed at protecting various areas of the environment. Some of the federal acts that come under environmental law include:

  • The Clean Air Act
  • The Clean Water Act
  • The Pollution Prevention Act
  • The Toxic Substances Control Act
  • The National Environmental Policy Act
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Act
  • The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act

All of these federal acts are aimed at the reduction of risk and damage to the environment, and all come under the umbrella of Environmental law. Although anyone that is not very familiar with the ins and outs of these statutes could find these laws complicated and difficult to understand, the name of each act pretty much speaks for itself in most cases. There are laws and regulations in place to cover literally every environmental issue or potential environmental problem.

There are three stages or aspects involved in environmental law. The first is the statute that is passed through Congress. This is followed by the list of regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency in relation to that particular statute. And then comes the legal interpretation of these regulations by the federal courts in the event of an environmental issue or problem.

Although studies and assessments were carried out in relation to environmental problems prior to the Environmental act being passed in 1970, there was little in the way of resources, tools, or procedures to actually act upon problems to the environment. It was only as the issues facing the environment became gradually worse and posed more and more of a risk that the government – and the public – realized the need for some sort of proper regulations and mechanisms to address problems and issues facing the environment. Without these acts and regulations, both the environment and living creatures such as humans, animals, and plants, could suffer badly, leaving the country to face a very bleak future. Thankfully, the strict regulations and mechanisms that are now in place with these environmental protection acts help to ensure that both the environment and the people in it don’t have to suffer unnecessarily.

Environmental law is a constitution that will need to constantly evolve as more and more advanced and complex pollutants threaten our environment. It is important that, in order to enjoy environmental protection, these laws are kept updated by the authorities and are respected and adhered to by citizens. From clean water and clean air to minimizing on the risk of exposure to toxic substances in the home or work, environmental law plays a big part in everyone’s life.

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