The Florida Bar

Environmental Law

December 12, 2022

Laws protecting our shared waterways, air, trees and other natural resources intend to ensure a more sustainable future for generations to come. Many federal laws relate to the protection of the environment and the health and safety of U.S. residents. The following are major and preeminent federal regulations:

  • The Clean Air Act sets goals for clean air and contains detailed provisions for regulating emissions from various different sources.
  • The Clean Water Act makes it unlawful for any person or business to discharge any pollutant from a source point into navigable waters of the United States without a special permit from the EPA.
  • The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) addresses the handling of uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites, accidents, spills, and other emergency releases of pollutants or contaminants into the environment.
  • The Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) provides assistance to local communities in protecting the public health, safety, and environment from chemical hazards.
  • The Endangered Species Act is intended to protect and assist in the repopulation of threatened or endangered plants, animals, and animal habitats.
  • The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) regulates the sale, distribution, and use of pesticides for the protection of human life and health as well as the life and health of threatened and endangered species.
  • The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ensures that the government researches and properly considers the environmental impact of federal actions such as large construction projects.
  • The Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) requires employers to provide their workers with a safe workplace.
  • The Pollution Prevention Act seeks to reduce the amount of pollution in the environment by making changes in the production, operation, and use of raw materials.
  • The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.
  • The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) addresses issues relating to the quality and safety of drinking water.
  • The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) reauthorized CERCLA to continue efforts to clean-up hazardous waste abandonments, spills, and releases.
  • The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) allows for the testing, regulation, and screening of all chemicals produced or imported into the U.S. before they reach the consumer marketplace.

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or substitute for the advice of a lawyer.