Environmental Laws and Regulations
Laws and regulations are a major tool in protecting the environment
as well as safeguarding the public health and welfare.
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA)
was signed into law in 1986.
The purpose of the act was to provide officials in schools, grades K-12, with
rules and guidance for the management of asbestos-containing materials. The
majority of asbestos related procedures and regulations are based on AHERA.
The Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act (ASHARA)
of 1992 extended AHERA regulations to cover public and commercial buildings.
Environmental liability was established under the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980
CERCLA was amended by the Superfund Amendments and
Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA).
SARA made it possible for a
landowner who has had no connection with the release of hazardous
substances at a property to be still held liable under CERCLA, but
it also recognizes an "innocent landowner defense." Most lending
institutions have established a policy requiring the performance of
an "all appropriate inquiry" known as a
Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA),
to establish the SARA innocent landowner defense requirement.
The Clean Air Act (CAA)
of 1970 requires the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and enforce regulations to
protect the general public from exposure to airborne contaminants
that are known to be hazardous to human health. In response, the
EPA established National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air
to protect the public.
About three-quarters of the nation's housing stock built before 1978 (64
million homes) contains some lead-based paint. Chips and dust from this
paint can create a health hazard. To protect children from exposure to
lead in paint, dust, and soil, Congress passed the Residential
Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, also known as Title X.
Title X developed a comprehensive federal strategy for reducing lead
paint hazard exposure.