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Environmental Laws and RegulationsLaws 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). 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 Pollutants (NESHAP) 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.