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Acts and Treaties of Environmental Laws

Acts and Treaties of Environmental Laws
By Ethan Tran
Atomic Energy Act (1954)
The act establishes a general regulatory structure for construction and use of nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons facilities.
Clean Air Act (1970, 1977, 1990)
Sets goals and standards for the quality and purity of air in the United States. By law, it is periodically reviewed. A significant set of amendments in 1990 toughened air quality standards and placed new emphasis on market forces to control air pollution.
Clean Water Act (1972)
Establishes and maintains goals and standards for U.S. water quality and purity.
Coastal Zone Management Act (1972)
Provides a partnership structure allowing states and the federal government to work together for the protection of U.S. coastal zones from environmentally harmful overdevelopment.
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (1980)
Requires the cleanup of sites contaminated with toxic waste. This law is commonly refered to as "Superfund." In 1986 major amendments were made in order to clarify the level of cleanup required and degrees of liability. CERCLA is retroactive, which means it can be used to hold liable those responsible for disposal of hazardous wastes before the law was enacted in 1980.
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (1986)
Requires companies to disclose information about toxic chemicals they release into the air and water and dispose of on land.
Endangered Species Act (1973)
Is designed to protect and recover endangered and threatened species of fish, wildlife and plants in the United States and beyond. The law works in part by protecting species habitats.
Energy Policy Act of 1992
set goals, created mandates, and amended utility laws to increase clean energy use and improve overall energy efficiency in the United States. The Act consists of twenty-seven titles detailing various measures designed to lessen the nation's dependence on imported energy, provide incentives for clean and renewable energy, and promote energy conservation in buildings.
Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975
An Act to increase domestic energy supplies and availability; to restrain energy demand; to prepare for energy emergencies; and for other purposes.
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (1938)
Is the nation's major law regulating contaminants in food, including pesticides. The Food and Drug Administration implements most of this law; the Environmental Protection Agency carries out its pesticide standard setting provisions (with FDA enforcement). See also Food Quality Protection Act.
Federal Land Policy and Management Act (1976)
Provides for protection of the scenic, scientific, historic and ecologic values of federal lands and for public involvement in their management.
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (1947)
Controls the sale, distribution and application of pesticides; amended in 1972, 1988, and 1996. See also Food Quality Protection Act.
Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, 1978, 1982
This law established a 200-mile fishery conservation zone
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1980
authorizes financial and technical assistance to the States for the development, revision, and implementation of conservation plans and programs for nongame fish and wildlife. It also required the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to study potential mechanisms for funding these activities and report to Congress by March 1984.
Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938, 1954. 1958
To prohibit the movement in interstate commerce of adulterated and misbranded food, drugs, devices, and cosmetics, and for other purposes.
Food Quality Protection Act (1996)
Is designed to ensure that levels of pesticide residues in food meet strict standards for public health protection. Under this law, which overhauled the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, the Environmental Protection Agency is required to better protect infants and children from pesticides in food and water and from indoor exposure to pesticides.
Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (1976)
Governs the management and control of U.S. marine fish populations, and is intended to maintain and restore healthy levels of fish stocks and prevent overharvesting. Better known as the Magnuson Stevens Act.
Homestead Act of 1862
Gave an applicant ownership of land, typically called a "homestead", at little or no cost.
Lacey Act of 1900
Protects both plants and wildlife by creating civil and criminal penalties for a wide array of violations. It prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, transported or sold.
Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972)
Seeks to protect whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals, manatees and other species of marine mammals, many of which remain threatened or endangered. The law requires wildlife agencies to review any activity -- for example, the use of underwater explosives or high-intensity active sonar -- that has the potential to "harass" or kill these animals in the wild. The law is our nation's leading instrument for the conservation of these species, and is an international model for such laws.
Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act of 1987
The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships who discharge of plastics, including synthetic ropes, fishing nets, plastic bags, and biodegradable plastics, into the water is prohibited.
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)(1970)
NEPA created environmental policies and goals for the country, and established the President's Council on Environmental Quality. Its most important feature is its requirement that federal agencies conduct thorough assessments of the environmental impacts of all major activities undertaken or funded by the federal government.
Ocean Dumping Ban Act of 1988
To regulate disposal or dumping of all materials into marine waters that are within U.S. jurisdiction
Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982
An Act to provide for the development of repositories for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel
Oil Pollution Act (1990)
This law streamlines federal response to oil spills by requiring oil storage facilities and vessels to prepare spill-response plans and provide for their rapid implementation. The law also increases polluters' liability for cleanup costs and damage to natural resources and imposes measures -- including a phaseout of single-hulled tankers -- designed to improve tanker safety and prevent spills.
Pollution Prevention Act of 1990
Focused industry, government, and public attention on reducing the amount of pollution through cost-effective changes in production, operation, and raw materials use. Opportunities for source reduction are often not realized because of existing regulations, and the industrial resources required for compliance, focus on treatment and disposal.
Proposition 65 (1986)
Is a California law passed by voter initiative. Known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, Prop. 65 is designed to provide public warnings about the risk of exposure to toxic chemicals and to eliminate toxins from drinking water supplies.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (1976)
Seeks to prevent the creation of toxic waste dumps by setting standards for the management of hazardous waste. Like CERCLA, this law also includes some provisions for cleanup of existing contaminated sites.
Safe Drinking Water Act (1974)
Establishes drinking water standards for tap water safety, and requires rules for groundwater protection from underground injection; amended in 1986 and 1996. The 1996 amendments added a fund to pay for water system upgrades, revised standard: setting requirements, required new standards for common contaminants, and included public "right to know" requirements to inform consumers about their tap water.
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (1977)
Is intended to ensure that coal mining activity is conducted with sufficient protections of the public and the environment, and provides for the restoration of abandoned mining areas to beneficial use.
Taylor Grazing Act of 1934
Provides for the regulation of grazing on the public lands to improve rangeland conditions and regulate their use.
Toxic Substances Control Act (1976)
Authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the manufacture, distribution, import and processing of certain toxic chemicals.
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
A proposed treaty to prohibit all testing of nuclear weapons in all environments: underground, underwater, in the atmosphere and in space. In 1999, the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the treaty.
The Kyoto Protocol
An international agreement setting binding limits on emissions of greenhouse gases from industrialized countries. This agreement was adopted in Kyoto Japan in December 1997 and supplements the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted in 1992.
Montreal Protocol
International agreement signed by more than 150 countries to limit the production of substances harmful to the stratospheric ozone layer, such as CFCs.
Non-Proliferation Treaty
A multilateral treaty signed in 1968 which aims to control the spread of nuclear weapons; extended indefinitely in May 1995. The treaty has been signed by over 175 nations.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
An international agreement for dealing with climate change, adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the "Earth Summit") in Rio in 1992. AKA Climate Change Convention; Climate Treaty.