Environmental laws protect our natural resources by regulating businesses that have the potential to impact them. When plants and factories create air and water pollution, they negatively impact the health of the people who live in their vicinity and lower the value of properties in the surrounding area. Sometimes, the level of pollutants released are so great, they render neighboring properties untenable.
Function of the Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental laws control almost every industry in the country in some form. Because of the importance of environmental laws, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed.
As a federal agency, the EPA’s main task is:
- Controlling and decreasing pollution by researching potential hazards
- Monitoring companies that may cause environmental harm
- Setting standards of practice to minimize environmental impact
- Enforcing punishments for those who violate environmental regulations
Specific regulations such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts serve to protect land owners from environmental and property contamination caused by polluting businesses.
The Clean Air & Clean Water Acts
The Clean Air Act regulates air emissions from mobile and stationary sources—from
cars and trucks to plants and factories. The Act authorizes the EPA to
set and enforce National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect
the public from emissions of hazardous air pollutants. Amendments to the
Act passed in 1990 gave the EPA the right to force industrial polluters
to use technology-based standards to reduce emissions of hazardous substances.
Major industrial operations must also obtain operating permits from the
EPA before starting up. Companies and individuals who violate the Clean
Air Act may face extensive fines and be forced to stop polluting and,
if possible, correct any
property or environmental damage they may have caused.
The Clean Water Act regulates discharges of polluting substances into any body of water in the United States. The Clean Water Act makes it illegal to dump any type of pollutant from a point source (pipes, man-made ditches and other similar conveyors) into any navigable body of water without obtaining an EPA permit. While private home owners do not need to obtain a permit as long as they are connected to a municipal water system or use a septic tank, industrial and municipal facilities do need permits. Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA sets wastewater standards for industry and also establishes minimum water quality standards for all surface waters. Again, individuals or companies found to be in violation of the Clean Water Act may be fined.
Arnold & Itkin Help Keep the Environment Safe
The Clean Air and Water Acts can be enforced to make industrial polluters pay for the damage they have caused and restore the land they've corrupted to its original state. If you have been injured or suffered property damage as a result of industrial pollution, you may be entitled to compensation.