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Governmental Process in ENV. Government & Environmental Technology. Governmental Processes; federal, state & local governments all play a role Practitioners in the field of Environmental Technology need to know how to locate, read and understand numerous environmental laws and regulations.

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Government environmental technology
Government & Environmental Technology

  • Governmental Processes; federal, state & local governments all play a role

  • Practitioners in the field of Environmental Technology need to know how to locate, read and understand numerous environmental laws and regulations.


What are laws
What are laws?

  • Called statutes or acts

  • Restraining standards that govern society

  • Enacted with the goal of creating a better society


Two forms of law in the u s
Two forms of law in the U.S.

  • Criminal (public) Law

  • Civil (private) Law

  • Divided between laws against society (Criminal Law) and those between individuals (Civil Law)


Public or criminal law
Public or Criminal Law

  • Laws providing the basic rules of our system of government

  • Criminal acts against society

  • Operation and establishment of administrative agencies

  • Court cases


  • Prescribes punishments for violations

  • Can be subject to interpretation because they are written to cover a broad range of activities

  • Can include an interwoven body of court decisions, statutes, regulations, policies and procedures that are continually changing

  • Evidence for conviction must be “beyond a reasonable doubt”


Private or civil law
Private or Civil Law

  • Settles disputes between parties or individuals

  • Government’s role is to act as judge

  • Preponderance of evidence is the level of evidence for conviction


Other important terms for understanding law
Other Important Terms for Understanding Law

  • Statutory law is written law, the exact wording approved by a legislative body

  • Case law consists of written decisions made by courts and are used as precedents in making future decisions



Executive branch
Executive Branch

  • Proposes laws and approves or vetoes laws passed by the legislative branch as well as enforces the laws

  • Consists of the President and the regulatory and administrative agencies who report to him

  • The President nominates the heads of the various agencies, who are then accepted or declined by Congress


Legislative branch
Legislative Branch

  • Makes & amends laws

  • Appropriates funds to enact legislation


Judicial branch
Judicial Branch

  • Examine Laws

  • Interpret laws through court cases

  • Assure laws are justly applied


Supreme laws of the land
Supreme laws of the land!

  • No state can enact a law less strict than the federal law

  • They do have the right to make more restrictive laws



  • Congressional statues are found in the US Code or USC hands through the initiative process or through referendums (Example - Calif. Propositions)

  • The implementation of the law is carried out by independent agencies of the federal government or state governments

    • They interpret the law and create regulations to enforce specific compliance requirements


Rules and regulations are developed by regulatory agencies
Rules and Regulations are developed by regulatory agencies hands through the initiative process or through referendums (Example - Calif. Propositions)

  • EPA

  • DOT (including the Coast Guard)

  • Department of Labor including OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration

  • NRC – Nuclear Regulatory Administration

  • Department of the Interior including the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Land Management Bureau

  • Department of Energy


Federal register system
Federal Register System hands through the initiative process or through referendums (Example - Calif. Propositions)

  • Announces and publishes rules in two major publications

    • The Federal Register – FR

      • Published information on proposed rules, final rules, notices on proposed rule making and meeting notices

    • The Code of Federal Regulations - CFR

      • A listing of all the rules published in the FR compiled in a rule book by topic


Regulatory numbering system
Regulatory Numbering System hands through the initiative process or through referendums (Example - Calif. Propositions)

  • Title 40CFR

  • Part 260

  • Section 4

  • Paragraphs (a)(1)(ii)

  • i.e. §260.4(a)(1)(ii) of 40CFR


Enforcement monitoring compliance
Enforcement hands through the initiative process or through referendums (Example - Calif. Propositions)Monitoring Compliance

  • Compliance Evaluation Inspection (CEI)

  • Can be routine

  • Follow complaints or tips

  • Result from referrals from other agencies


Freedom of information act of 1966
Freedom of Information Act hands through the initiative process or through referendums (Example - Calif. Propositions) of 1966

  • The public is entitled to any information collected by a governmental agency

    • Records for environmental assessments can be obtained in this manner or in a more informal manner


The privacy act of 1974
The Privacy Act of 1974 hands through the initiative process or through referendums (Example - Calif. Propositions)

  • Federal agencies must provide individuals with information pertaining to them

  • And are required to amend or correct any files that are inaccurate


Enforcement actions
Enforcement Actions hands through the initiative process or through referendums (Example - Calif. Propositions)

List of steps available for enforcement:

  • Administrative Enforcement Actions

  • Civil Actions

  • Criminal Actions


Administrative enforcement action
Administrative Enforcement Action hands through the initiative process or through referendums (Example - Calif. Propositions)

  • Least severe action available does not involve the court system

  • May be an Notice of Violation (NOV), Notice of Deficiency (NOD), or more formal administrative order (w/ public meeting requirement)

  • Resolution could be by correction of the problem, sometimes accompanied by a fine

  • Used to force compliance, the taking of corrective action, monitoring, testing and analysis, or to address a threat to human health or environment


Civil actions
Civil Actions hands through the initiative process or through referendums (Example - Calif. Propositions)

Formal lawsuits filed by federal,state or local government attorneys (or private individuals)

  • Can be used to force compliance

  • Suspend or revoke permits or authorizations

  • Impose large penalties

  • The burden of proof for the plaintiff is only a preponderance of evidence (true for all civil actions)


Criminal actions
Criminal Actions hands through the initiative process or through referendums (Example - Calif. Propositions)

  • Most severe action available

  • Can result in fines and/or imprisonment

  • Result of severe violations such as falsifying evidence or reports, putting another person in imminent danger or illegal disposal of hazardous waste



National environmental policy act
National Environmental Policy Act (generally short <1 year)

  • NEPA - 1970

  • Requires the preparation of and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

  • Whenever the federal government engages in any activity that may have a negative affect on the environment


Federal clean air act
Federal Clean Air Act (generally short <1 year)

  • CAA - 1970, amended 1990

  • Protects the public health and welfare from the harmful effects of air pollution

  • Sets standards for maximum levels of outdoor air pollution, and emission standards for sources

  • Holds state and local governments responsible for controlling pollution sources


Federal clean water act
Federal Clean Water Act (generally short <1 year)

  • CWA - 1972

  • Restores and maintains the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters

  • Nationwide standards are set for industrial discharge and municipal sewage systems by the EPA


Safe drinking water act
Safe Drinking Water Act (generally short <1 year)

  • SDWA - 1974

  • Establishes federal standards for drinking water quality and protects underground sources of water

  • Enforced by the EPA


Resource conservation and recovery act
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (generally short <1 year)

  • RCRA - 1976

  • Deals with both municipal and hazardous waste problems and encourages resource recovery and recycling

  • Administered by the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER)


Federal insecticide fungicide and rodenticide act
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (generally short <1 year)

  • FIFRA - 1947, amended 1972, 1974, 1978

  • All pesticides must be registered with the EPA, process determines labeling & usage

  • Reviews labeling and directions for application and sets maximum safe levels for pesticide residue in human and animal foods


Comprehensive environmental response compensation and liability act
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act

  • CERCLA “Superfund” - 1980, amended 1986

  • Makes owners and operators liable for hazardous waste releases on their property

  • The act imposes joint and several liability

  • System for identifying and cleaning up chemical and hazardous materials released into any part of the environment

  • EPA collects the cost of cleanup from the responsible parties and sets up a fund for cleanup when necessary


Asbestos hazard emergency response act
Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act Liability Act

  • AHERA

  • EPA certifies asbestos inspectors and requires certain procedures for asbestos abatement in school buildings


Toxic substance control act
Toxic Substance Control Act Liability Act

  • TSCA - 1976

  • System of pre-market notifications if a company wishes to market a new chemical, may require additional testing before the chemical is sold

  • Also requires testing of some chemicals already on the market, resulting in possible restrictions or a ban by the EPA


Marine protection research and sanctuaries act
Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act Liability Act

  • Ocean Dumping Act

  • EPA and the Coast Guard limit the type and location of any ocean dumping


Occupational safety and health act
Occupational Safety Liability Act and Health Act

  • OSHA - 1970

  • Assures safe and healthful working conditions

  • Develops regulatory standards, keeps records of injuries and conducts training and enforcement programs


Atomic energy act
Atomic Energy Act Liability Act

  • AEA - 1954

  • Controls possession, development and use of radioactive materials

  • Currently enforced by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)


Hazardous materials transportation act
Hazardous Materials Transportation Act Liability Act

  • HMTA - 1975

  • Regulates the handling and transportation of hazardous materials

  • Enforced by the Department of Transportation (DOT)


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