1.1 Federal

The federal agency of the United States government that is most responsible for limiting the effects of pollution is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA was established in 1970 to implement several new federal environmental statutes or laws that were adopted by the U.S. Congress at that time. The EPA is divided into 10 regions across the country, and Louisiana is part of Region 6, which has its headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Region 6 is comprised of five states (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas) and 66 tribes in the south central area of the country. The EPA is concerned with a wide range of environmental topics, from air pollution and pesticides, to climate change and emergency management.

Although the EPA is the agency that deals with most of the environmental issues from manufacturing industries, there are other federal government agencies that also handle matters related to the environment. Those include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Interior (which includes the National Park Service and United States Geological Survey, among others), Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Department of Agriculture, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Congress gives the EPA and other governmental bodies regulatory authority on matters of the environment. The EPA has published over 42,000 documents in the last 20 years on topics related to environmental health concerns. To keep up to date on rules and regulations at EPA and other government agencies, you can visit www.federalregister.gov. The “Environment” section of the website will allow you to view the most recent regulations, documents, and requests for public comments on all matters concerning environmental health.

Many industrial activities that release chemicals into the environment are regulated at the federal level. The major federal laws that protect environmental quality are listed in the following pages.

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Chapter 1 Intro

The Louisiana Citizens’ Guide To Environmental Engagement


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Federal Environmental Laws