Learningmaterials whatisenvironmentallaw

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Learning MaterialsWhat is environmental law?Environmental laws are passed to protect public health and the environment. People often make the easiest, most convenient, or most profitable choice in their daily lives or for their businesses. Would it not be easier and cheaper to simply dump waste in a ditch or the ocean instead of establishing controls? Would it not be easier to create emissions than purchasing scrubbers to prevent sulfur dioxide emissions?Environmental laws are not just for industries. These impact individuals as well. For example, you take your trash to a landfill, you buy compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) or 
light-emitting diode (LED) lightbulbs because the manufacture of incandescent bulbs was banned, or you have your car's emissions tested to reduce air pollution.Environmental laws are put in place to balance environmental concerns with business and industry practices. These laws are necessary because individuals, companies, and industries sometimes take the easiest route with actions that can significantly degrade air and groundwater quality, impact health, and destroy natural resources. Environmental laws seek to provide protection from the worst pollutants that can negatively harm the environment while still allowing industries to operate in a cost-effective way.Environmental Laws Passed Before the Environmental ProtectionAgency Was EstablishedThere were several environmental laws passed before the EnvironmentalProtection Agency (EPA) was established in December 2, 1970 (EPA, 2018d).They include, but are not limited to, the following:Atomic Energy Act (1946)Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (1938)National Environmental Policy Act (1970)Water Pollution Control Act (1948)Solid WasteDisposal Act (1965)The EPA was established to better coordinate management of these laws and others that were to come. The following video explores the foundation of the EPA (Lucy T, 2013):Categories of Environmental LawsEnvironmental laws are traditionally called command and controlpolicies,in which a regulatory agency sets limits or standards to be maintained (Environmental Literacy Council, 2015). Regulators use the following standards (Environmental Literacy Council,2015):
Ambient standards: These set the amount of a pollutant that can be present within a specific environment, such as air or water. Monitoring ozone levels in smog is an ambient standard.Emissions standards: These seek to limit the amount of emissions released by a firm, industry, or area. Vehicles are regulated by emissions standards.Technology-based standards: These would force polluters to use a particular pollution control technology that they deem reasonably cost-effective, such as installing scrubbers on smokestacks.Emission Limits and Cap and Trade PoliciesIndustries are often impacted by the costs of implementing controls; however, the publicis often impacted by not setting more stringent standards. Balance can be achieved by using cap and trade programs and initiatives, such as the following (EDF, 2018):

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Term
Spring
Professor
Rivero
Tags
Tragedy of the Commons, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental protection

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