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Environmental Law (United States)

Environmental Protection Agency

  • The EPA was created in 1970 by an executive order prepared by President Nixon called Reorganization Plan No. 3. This executive order was later enacted into law in Public Law 98-614.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency is the main agency charged with enforcing laws to protect the environment.

Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior

Environment and Natural Resource Division of the Department of Justice

  • The Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Deparment of Justice handles environmental litigation on behalf of the United States.
  • The ENRD orginiated in 1909 with an order from Attorney General George Wickersham.  It was orginally called the "Public Lands Division" and primarily handled litigation resulting from the United States' westward expansion.
  • The ENRD publishes year end summaries of litigation acheivements on its website (see link below) under "Selected Publications".

U.S. Forrest Service

  • The Forest Service is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • The Forest Service is responsible for 193 million acres of forests and grasslands

Department of the Navy Energy, Environment and Climate Change

  • Initiatives by the Deparment of the Navy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and develop aternative energy.

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

  • NOAA was formed in 1807 as the Survey of the Coast
  • NOAA's mission is:

"Science, Service, and Stewardship.
To understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts,
To share that knowledge and information with others, and
To conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources."

Natural Resources Conservation Service

  • The Natural Resources Conservation Service is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • It was originally created by Congress in 1935 as the Soil Conservation Service and has expanded since to deal with many types of conservation issues occuring on private lands.

Council on Environmental Quality

  • The CEQ was created by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and its responsibilities were broadened by the Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970.
  • The CEQ is resposible for coordination environmental efforts within the federal goverment. CEQ is charged with making sure that federal agencies meet their obligations under NEPA.  A quarterly report on agencies' compliance with NEPA is submitted to Congress.
  • CEQ is also responsible for creating initiatives in environmental policy in conjunction with agencies and the White House.  The chair of the CEQ serves as the principle environmental policy advisor to the president.

Department of Energy Environmental Management

  • The DOE Offie of Environmental Management was created in 1989 to centralize environmental management activites within the DOE.
  • The Office of Envionmental Management is responsible for "environmental restoration, waste management, technology development, and facility transition and management".
  • It has a strong focus on nuclear cleanup and the disposal of nuclear waste.


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