Summaries of Environmental Laws
Administered by the EPA
Congressional Research Service Report  RL30022
Redistributed as a service of the National Library for the Environment

Martin R. Lee, Coordinator

Specialist in Environmental Policy
Environment and Natural Resources Policy Division

Updated January 12, 1999

RL30022

DETAILED CONTENTS SUMMARY CONTRIBUTORS

 

SUMMARY

A dozen major statutes form the legal basis for the programs of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) seeks to prevent pollution through reduced generation of pollutants at their point of origin.

The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires EPA to set mobile source limits, ambient air quality standards, hazardous air pollutant emission standards, standards for new pollution sources, and significant deterioration requirements; and to focus on areas which do not attain standards.

The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes a sewage treatment construction grants program, and a regulatory and enforcement program for discharges of wastes into U.S. waters. Focusing on the regulation of the intentional disposal of materials into ocean waters and authorizing related research is the Ocean Dumping Act. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) establishes primary drinking water standards, regulates underground injection disposal practices, and establishes a groundwater control program.

The Solid Waste Disposal Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) provide regulation of solid and hazardous waste, while the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCIA), or Superfund, establishes a fee-maintained fund to clean up abandoned hazardous waste sites.

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires industrial reporting of toxic releases and encourages planning to respond to chemical emergencies.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulates the testing of chemicals and their use, and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) governs pesticide products and their use.

The Environmental Research and Development Demonstration Act (ERDDA) authorizes all EPA research programs.

And the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) requires, in part, EPA to review environmental impact statements.

Parts of some statutes preexisted the Environmental Protection Agency's formation in 1970, but contemporary environmental law was established by Congress during the 1970s, and has been expanded by major amendments. Over these years, Congress has assigned the Environmental Protection Agency the administration of a considerable body of law and associated programs.

CONTENTS

   SUMMARY
   Introduction

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) Pollution Prevention Act of 1990

Background
Provisions
Selected References
Table 1. Major U.S. Code Sections of the Pollution Prevention Act

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) Clean Air Act

Background
Table 1. Clean Air Act and Amendments
National Ambient Air Quality Standards
State Implementation Plans
Nonattainment Requirements
Table 2. Ozone Nonattainment Classifications

Requirements for Ozone Nonattainment Areas
Requirements for Carbon Monoxide Nonattainment Areas
Requirements for Particulate Nonattainment Areas

Emission Standards for Mobile Sources
Hazardous Air Pollutants
New Source Performance Standards
Solid Waste Incinerators
Prevention of Significant Deterioration / Regional Haze
Acid Deposition Control
Permits
Enforcement
Stratospheric Ozone Protection
Selected References
Table 3. Major U.S. Code Sections of the Clean Air Act

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) Clean Water Act

Introduction
Table 1. Clean Water Act and Major Amendments
Background

Federal and State Responsibilities

Titles II and VI -- Municipal Wastewater Treatment Construction
Permits, Regulations, and EnforcementSelected References
Table 2. Major U.S. Code Sections of the Clean Water Act

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) Ocean Dumping Act

Table 1. Ocean Dumping Act and Amendments
Background
Regulating Ocean Dumping
Enforcement
Research And Coastal Water Quality Monitoring
Selected References
Table 2. Major U.S. Code Sections of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) Safe Drinking Water Act

Background
National Drinking Water Regulations

Contaminant Selection
Standard Setting
Risk Assessment

State Primacy
Underground Injection Control
Ground Water Protection Grant Programs
Source Water Protection Programs
State Revolving Funds
Other Provisions
Selected References

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) Solid Waste Disposal Act/Resource Conservation And Recovery Act

Introduction
Table 1. Solid Waste Disposal/Resource Conservationand Recovery Act and Major Amendments
Background
Regulation of Hazardous Waste
Solid Waste Provisions
Underground Storage Tanks
Enforcement
Amendments to RCRA

1980 Amendments
Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984
Federal Facility Compliance Act
1996 Amendments

Other Recent Laws Affecting Solid Waste Management

Sanitary Food Transportation Act
Clean Air Act
Pollution Prevention Act
Indian Lands Open Dump Cleanup Act
Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act

Selected References
Table 2. Solid Waste Disposal/Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) Resource Conservation & Recovery Act

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) Superfund

Introduction
Table 1. Superfund and Amendments
The Fund And Taxes
Table 2. Superfund Revenue, Fiscal Year 1991 to 1995
Responding To Releases
Liability and Financial Responsibility
Health-related Authorities
Cleanup Schedules
Cleanup Standards
Federal Facilities
Settlements
States
Enforcement
Natural Resource Damages
Public Participation
Selected References
Table 3. Major U.S. Code Sections Comprehensive Environmental Response,
   Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 and Amendments

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) Toxic Substances Control Act

Introduction
Table 1. Toxic Substances Control Act and Major Amendments
Background
Title I

Testing of Chemicals
Premanufacture Notification
Regulatory Controls
Information Gathering
Relation to Other Laws
Enforcement and Judicial Review
Confidential Business Information
Chemical Categories
Other Provisions
Title II Asbestos in Buildings
Title III (Radon Programs)
Title IV (Lead Exposure Reduction)
Selected References
Table 2. Major U.S. Code Sections Toxic Substances Control Act

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act

Introduction
Table 1. Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, andRodenticide Act and Amendments
FIFRA Definition of "Pesticide"
History of Federal Pesticide Law
Registration of Pesticide Products
Public Disclosure, Exclusive Use, and Trade Secrets
Reregistration
Special Review
Canceling or Suspending a Registration
Use of Unregistered Pesticides
Enforcement
Export of Unregistered Pesticides
Selected References
Table 2. U.S. Code Sections Federal Insecticide,Fungicide and Rodenticide Act

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) Emergency Planning And Community Right-to-Know Act

Introduction
Subtitle A -- Emergency Planning and Notification
Subtitle B -- Reporting Requirements
Subtitle C -- General Provisions

Trade Secrets
Information for Health Professionals
Right to Know
Enforcement
Chemical Transport
Other Provisions

Selected References

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act

Introduction
Table 1. Statutory Environmental Research and Development Provisions
Table 2. Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act and Amendments
Selected References
Table 3. Major U.S. Code Sections Environmental Research,Development, and Demonstration Act

diamteal.gif (846 bytes) National Environmental Policy Act

Introduction
Council On Environmental Quality Responsibilities
Environmental Protection Agency Functions Under NEPA
Selected References

CONTRIBUTORS

Coordination

Martin R. Lee Head
Environmental Protection Section

Contributing Authors

Claudia Copeland
Senior Analyst in Environmental Policy

H. Steve Hughes
Analyst in Environmental Policy

James E. McCarthy
Senior Analyst in Environmental Policy

Larry B. Parker
Senior Analyst in Environmental Policy

Mark Reisch
Analyst in Environmental Policy

Linda Schierow
Senior Analyst in Environmental Policy

Mary Tiemann
Specialist in Environmental Policy

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