Governmental process in env
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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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Governmental Process in ENV

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Governmental process in env

Governmental Process in ENV

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

Governmental process in env

  • 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

Three branches of u s government

Three branches of U.S. Government

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

Governmental process in env

  • Many states allow citizens to take law making into their own hands through the initiative process or through referendums (Example - Calif. Propositions)

  • Both require petitions to illustrate voter support before the issue will be placed on the ballot

Governmental process in env

  • Congressional statues are found in the US Code or USC

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Title 40CFR

  • Part260

  • Section4

  • Paragraphs(a)(1)(ii)

  • i.e. §260.4(a)(1)(ii) of 40CFR

Enforcement monitoring compliance

EnforcementMonitoring 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 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

  • 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

List of steps available for enforcement:

  • Administrative Enforcement Actions

  • Civil Actions

  • Criminal Actions

Administrative enforcement action

Administrative Enforcement Action

  • 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

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

  • 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

Governmental process in env

  • Misdemeanors are punishable by a fine and/or prison (generally short <1 year)

  • Those who commit felonies can be imprisoned longer

  • But guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt (true for all criminal actions)

National environmental policy act

National Environmental Policy Act

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


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

Toxic substance control act

Toxic Substance Control 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

  • Ocean Dumping Act

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

Occupational safety and health act

Occupational Safety 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

  • 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

  • HMTA - 1975

  • Regulates the handling and transportation of hazardous materials

  • Enforced by the Department of Transportation (DOT)

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