Ch. 15 – Environmental Law
The production and consumption of various products causes air pollution, water polluti on, and generates hazardous
and toxic waste products that have significant impact on the environment and human health, vegetation and various
1. Common Law and Alternative Methods of Environmental Protection
a. Tort Law – used to control harmful environmental effects; tort nuisance. Nuisance is the unreasonable
interference of another’s right to use and enjoy their property. Landowners can obtain money
damages or injunctive relief for their harm and suffering . A polluting entity has failed to use reasonable
care toward the injured party and the injured party ’s cause of damage was foreseeable.
i. Private nuisance – harm caused specifically to an individual landowner. The landowner can
pursue damages against the tortfeasor.
ii. Public Nuisance – harm has a wider effect on the general public. The government is the only
party who has standing to pursue damages against the tortfeasor.
b. Direct Regulation Approach – primary method of pollution control; 1970s government established a
set of regulations to protect the environment and improve air and water quality by establishing
specific limits on the amount of pollutants that can be discharged into the air and wate r.
i. Technology-forcing standards – the government established standards to be met by a certain
date through the development of technology
ii. Technology-driven standards – the government will provide incentives and motivate
businesses to improve emiss ions of pollutants within the existing limits of technology.
c. Government Subsidies Approach – government will compensate polluting entities when they reduce
emissions through tax breaks, low -interest loans, grants for the acquisition and installation of p ollution
d. Emission Charges Approach – government will charge a flat fee for every unit of pollutant discharged;
polluting entity will reduce discharge to an economically feasible point.
e. Marketable Discharge Permit Approach – government sells permits that can be purchased to discharge
various types of pollutants; pollutants can only be discharged by the holder of the valid permit.
2. Environmental Protection Agency – created by executive order in 1972 to control pollution in the areas of air,
water, solid waste, pesticides, radiation, and toxic substances; broad rule -making power to adopt new
regulations, enforce existing environmental laws, and exercise adjunctive power by holding hearings, making
decisions, ordering remedies for violations and initiating judicial proceedings.
3. National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 – the federal government takes responsibility to maintain, protect,
and enhance the environment and implement the mission within federal agencies.
a. Creates Council on Environmental Quality
b. Impose requirement on every federal agency to prepare Environmental Impact Statement for every
major federal action that will have significant environmental effect.
4. The Council on Environmental Quality – three-member advisory board under the executive branch responsible
for making recommendations to the president regarding environmental matters and creating annual reports
on the quality of the environment. 5. Environmental Impact Statement – required when a proposed action is federal, a proposed action is
considered major, and the imp act on the environment is significant. Ac action is considered federal whenever
a federal agency has the power to control it through allocation of resources, approval or funding. Determines
whether the project is feasible ; documents can be used as evidence in court and should be offered for public
review, objections are sent to EPA. Some states have enacted laws requiring EIS for state and local actions.
a. The affected environment
b. The impact on the environment of the proposed federal action
c. Alternatives to the proposed action
d. All resources that would be al located to the proposed action
e. A cost analysis between the proposed action and the alternatives
6. Clean Air Act –
a. imposes the primary responsibility for air pollution control on the states.
i. Stationary sources of pollution – requires states to identify the sources and control their air
pollution emissions. Factories, industrial plants, etc.
ii. Mobile sources of pollution – requires that air pollution controls are installed in all mobile