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Environmental Laws and Treaties

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Safe Drinking Water Act
set maximum contaminant levels for pollutants that may have adverse effects on human health
Ocean Dumping Ban Act
bans ocean dumping of sewage sludge & industrial waste
National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
protects rivers with due to aesthetic, recreational, wildlife, historical, or cultural reasons
Clean Water Act
set maximum permissible amounts of water pollutants that can be discharged into waterways. Aim: to make surface waters swimmable and fishable
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
requires coal strip mines to reclaim the land
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Environmental Impact Statements must be done before any project affecting federal lands can be started
Clean Air Act
Set emission standards for cars, and limits for release of air pollutants
Kyoto Protocol
controlling global warming by setting greenhouse gas emissions targets for developed countries
Montreal Protocol
phase out of ozone depleting substances
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
controls hazardous waste with a cradle to grave system
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
The "Superfund" act, designed to identify and clean up abandoned hazardous waste dumpsites
Endangered Species Act
identifies threatened and endangered species in the US, and puts their protection ahead of economic considerations
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
lists species that cannot be commercially traded as live specimens or wildlife products
Lacey Act
prohibits interstate transport of wild animals dead or alive without federal permit
U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act
prohibits taking marine mammals in U.S. waters and by U.S. citizens, and the importing marine mammals and marine mammal products into the U.S
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
regulates the effectiveness of pesticides
Food Quality Protection Act
set pesticide limits in food, & all active and inactive ingredients must be screened for estrogenic/endocrine effects
Low-level Radioactive Policy Act
all states must have facilities to handle low-level radioactive wastes
Nuclear Waste Policy Act
US government must develop a high level nuclear waste site by 2015 (see Yucca Mountain)