Environmental Crime the National Environmental Policy Act Essay

Pages: 5 (1696 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues

Environmental Crime

The National Environmental Policy Act

The National Environmental Policy Act or NEPA became law on January 1, 1970. The law was intended to create a national policy in the country which was aimed in the first instance at promoting aspects of environmental control and enhancement. While this act was also instrumental in establishing environmental policy and control bodies such as the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), its most important effect has been to set up procedural requirements with regard to environmental issues for all federal government agencies.

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In other words, the Act provides the framework for integration and coordination between different federal agencies with regard to the aims and standards of environmental control and protection This also includes the preparation and undertaking of Environmental Assessments (EAs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs). (National Environmental Policy Act: NEPA) in other words, the main and fundamental goal of the National Environmental Policy Act is the assessment as well as the integration of environmental aims and objectives; which in turn leads to an integrated and coordinated application of proposed actions and alternatives to environmental problems and issues. In order to facilitate this process federal agencies create a detailed report which is known as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This statement is reviewed by the United States Environmental Policy Agency, which in turn ensures that there is a general compliance with the overall aims of national environmental protection.

2. The Clean Air Act

TOPIC: Essay on Environmental Crime the National Environmental Policy Act Assignment

The Clean Air Act refers to the law that is responsible for improving the air quality in the country as well as the quality of the ozone layer. (Clean Air Act) in the past the air and quality of the atmosphere was an environmental aspect that was generally taken for granted. However, in the last two decades there has been a growing awareness of the importance of clean and unpolluted air. This has been increased by research into air pollution and its effects and the decrease in the ozone layer in parts of the world. In recent years these concerns have also been linked to the amount of carbon emissions in the air and the effect on the phenomenon of global warming.

Therefore, public officials and organizations began to stress the importance of pollution guidelines, measures and policy that would positively affect the issue of clean air. This also took into account the way in which the growth of industry contributed to air pollution and increased the amount of toxic chemicals, such sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides released into the atmosphere. (Fleming and Knorr) the issue of air pollution from motor vehicles was also an aspect that led to studies and investigations that were to finally to be included in the Clean Air Act. There were a number of precursors to the present Clean Air Act, such as the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955. This was the first in a series of clean air and air quality control acts which are still in effect and continue to be revised and amended. (Fleming and Knorr)

3. The Clean Water Act

The central aim and objective of the Clean Water Act (CWA) is to maintain and ensure the balance and healthy status, as well as the biological and physical integrity, of the water in our country. (Clean Water Act: CWA) More correctly, the Clean Water Act is referred to as the Water Pollution Control Act.

The goal of this legislation is also to find, isolate and remedy points of water pollution in the waterways of the United States. In essence, the intention of the Act is to ensure that there is a sustainable and healthy supply of water in the country and this aim is predicated on the awareness of the importance of this vital resource for both personal and commercial usage. In this regard the act also deals with other related issues, such as "... providing assistance to publicly owned treatment works for the improvement of wastewater treatment, and maintaining the integrity of wetlands"

Clean Water Act: CWA)

There are a variety of water pollutants that are included in the Act. These include the following: important or priority pollutants, such as biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids (TSS), fecal coliform, oil and grease, and pH. (Clean Water Act) Another important aspect of this Act is that it brings together and integrates the actions and expertise of many sectors of the community; these include municipalities, conservation authorities, industry and business, community groups and farmers and landowners. (Clean Water Act 2)

4. The Resource Conservation and Recover Act

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976 was the first real and comprehensive Act passed by Congress to establish a "... regulatory structure for the management of solid and hazardous wastes." (Background: The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act: RCRA)

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act is intended to provide the United States Environmental Protection Agency with the necessary protocols and authority to control the various aspects affecting hazardous waste in terms of its impact on the environment. (Summary of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) This Act covers a wide range of controls and restrictions with regard to the generation as well as the transportation, storage and disposal of this hazardous waste. (Summary of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act)

There have been a number of amendments to this Act which have increased its efficacy and ability to limit the environmental damage caused by this type of waste. In 1984 an amendment to the Act known as the HSWA, or the Federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments, was introduced. This amendment was aimed at reducing waste, as well focusing on the important aspect of doing away with land disposal of hazardous waste. Amendments to the Act have also included stricter and more comprehensive hazardous waste management standards, and a comprehensive underground storage tank program. (Summary of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act)

The Superfund Bill

The Superfund act, which is more correctly known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), was promulgated in 1980. The basic aim of this Act is to protect individuals from toxic waste and more particularly from toxic waste sites that may affect communities.

Basically the fund refers to finances that are made available to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or EPA that are intended to clean up area where there are hazardous materials. In essence, the Superfund is intended to provide a wide-ranging federal authority to deal with the cleanup of hazardous substances or the release of such substances. (Superfund) at present there are more than 1250 sites that are considered as being priority sites, with new priority sites being added each year. (Superfund)

These sites are identified on the basis of areas where soil and groundwater are contaminated with heavy metals and chlorinated solvents, such as carbon tetrachloride, among others. (Superfund)

An important aspect of this act is that a large percentage of cleanups of hazardous waste have in the past been paid for by those industries and bodies that are deemed to be responsible for the creation of the hazardous waste. "If a site is on the Superfund list, it is required to be cleaned up by any and all previous owners, operators, transporters, and disposers of waste to the site."

Real Estate Dictionary: Superfund)

Funds are also raised by a tax on petroleum and chemical industries. (Superfund) it should also be noted that much of this fund was exhausted by the end of 2003 and alternative funding sources have been proposed.

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: Superfund)

6. The Occupational Safety and Health Act

The Occupational Safety and Health Act or OSH was created to deal with and ensure the fundamental healthy and safe working standards and conditions for all working men and women. This Act was enacted at the federal level… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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