Environmental Legislation, Regulations, and Standards:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • Created by Presidential Executive Order Created by Presidential Executive Order

  • Richard M. Nixon, 2 December 1970 Richard M. Nixon, 2 December 1970

    • One of the first times an agency was not created by an "Act"

    • Placed directly in the Executive Branch (i.e. reports to OMB)

    • Assumed activities of the former Environmental Health Service

Organizational Structure

Heads EPA. Appointed by the President with Senate confirmation

Three Associate Administrators Three Associate Administrators

Office of Regional Operations and State/Local Relations --> Serves as link between Federal EPA and regional administrators

Office of Communication and Public Affairs -->Liaison between the public sector and the EPA

Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs -->Ensures coordination between EPA and Congress

Office of the Inspector General Office of the Inspector General -->Audits and investigates EPA, reports deficiencies related to EPA operations to the Administrator and to Congress

Office of the General Counsel Office of the General Counsel -->Legal advisor to the Administrator and provides legal services

Office of the Chief Financial Officer Office of the Chief Financial Officer -->Manages budget of $7.76 billion (2005)


Nine Operational Offices (headed by Assistant Administrators)

  • Administration and Resources Management

  • Enforcement

  • Environmental Information

  • Research and Development

  • International Activities

  • Pesticides and Toxic Substances

  • Air and Radiation

  • Solid Waste and Emergency Response

  • Water

USEPA (available in full paper)

Enforcement of Environmental Policy
Three Basic Levels of Violation Three Basic Levels of Violation

  • Negligent violations -->The violator was openly negligent regarding the law

  • Knowing violations -->Occurred with full knowledge and no attempt to prevent it

  • Knowing endangerment violations -->Violations allowed to occur, with full knowledge, that impose a threat of death or serious bodily injury

Fines and Penalties

  • Differ, depending on the regulation or Act under violation -->Ex: Fines under CWA differ from those under RCRA

  • Civil fines generally range from a low of $5500 to $32,500 per day per violation

  • Maximum fine against individuals can be $250,000, 15 years in jail -->Government can establish criminal liabilities against any employee, regardless of position in company

Regulatory Overview

A Brief Look at Major Environmental Regulations

  • National Environmental Policy Act of 1970

  • Clean Air Act (and Amendments)

  • Clean Water Act

  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976

  • Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976

  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liabilities Act of 1980

  • Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986

Basic Provisions

  • Applicable to Federal Agencies and their employees

  • Establishes National Policy

  • Sets obtainable goals

  • Provides means for implementing and enforcing policy

Purpose and Objective

  • Inject environmental consideration into federal agency decisions

  • Inform public that a federal agency has considered environment

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