What is environmental law?
Environmental Law has always existed as a fair way of fighting to protect the environment. It is practiced on a case-by-case basis in courtrooms in the form of debates between lawyers in front of a judge and jury, and also consists of the acts and laws made by congress, which affect the environment on a much larger scale.
How has environmental law shaped today’s environment?
One of the first main environmental acts was passed in the UK 1956, the Clean Air Act. This was a series of measures passed with the purpose of establishing a higher quality of air that was less polluted. The implementation of this law meant that the government would control smoke in certain areas, to improve the overall health of citizens as well as the environment. This law set a precedent for the US as well, by taking the initiative to establish acts that will benefit generations to come.
Another act was the Clean Water Act, passed in 1972. Before this act was passed, companies as well as individuals could dump whatever pollutants and chemicals they wanted into rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. After the CLean Water Act was passed, the government began to regulate and stop people and companies from discharging pollutants and harmful substances into waters that the United States controlled. This greatly improved the health of US bodies of water, allowing ecosystems to thrive, and produce like fish safer for human consumption. If this act were not in place today, millions of people would be using America’s waterways as a free way of disposing toxins and pollutants.
Lastly, I would like to bring to your attention an act that relates more directly to the health of a consumer, because we’re part of the environment too, right? This act is called the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation Liability Act. Established in 1980, this act gives the government the right to become involved if a business develops (and releases) a product that is unsafe for consumers because it releases hazardous substances. So this act basically lets the government protect you from buying and using products that are toxic.
In conclusion, it is sometimes surprising that companies and individuals need to be reminded (and in some cases forced) not to pollute and trash our environment, but we can always look to the environmental laws in place that help enforce the health of our environment.