Chapter 1: Government Agencies and Environmental Regulations

The Government and its Role in Environmental Protection

Federal, State and Local Governments all play an important role in protecting the environment. But for the government to work effectively, citizens must participate

The federal government passes laws to protect human health and the environment, and creates regulations to enforce those laws. The federal government may also delegate responsibility of certain environmental issues to the state level. For example, state government regulates wastewater management, including sewage. The state can then create its own laws and regulations that may be stricter than federal regulations, but cannot be weaker. At the local level, environmental laws and regulations are called ordinances. This chapter provides an overview of how Federal, State and local governments work together to regulate activities that affect environmental quality.

1.1 Federal Environmental Regulation

Federal Environmental Laws

1.2 State Environmental Regulation

1.3 Local Environmental Regulation

Key Points 

  • Federal, State and local governments all play roles in protecting our environment.
  • The US EPA sets standards and oversees implementation of most of our major environmental protection laws.
  • The US EPA gives state governments the job of implementing some of the laws. The states do this by issuing “permits” to the industries regulated by the laws to emit only what they determine to be acceptable amounts of specific pollutants.
  • In our state, the LDEQ has that responsibility. The LDEQ works with the US EPA and regulated industries in Louisiana to make sure discharges to the air, water and land stay within the legal limits.
  • At the local level, governmental regulations are called ordinances. Parish level governments are structured as either police juries or home-rule charters.

We all have the right to clean air, land and water and government works to protect that right.

Be Involved

Chapter References