Environmental Laws, Standards & Certifications

Environmental Laws, Standards & Certifications

Environmental laws, standards, and certifications regulate the environmental impacts associated with industrial activity. Environmental compliance begins with identifying and complying with all applicable environmental laws and regulations.

Environmental Laws, Standards & Certifications

Environmental laws, standards, and certifications regulate the environmental impacts associated with industrial activity. Environmental laws and regulations are enacted and enforced by governments, while standards and certifications are created by non-governmental organizations. Environmental compliance begins with identifying and complying with all applicable environmental laws and regulations.

Facilities can further improve their environmental performance by adhering to industry standards and implementing environmental management systems. Environmental management systems set internal environmental performance standards and implement procedures and processes for facilities to minimize their environmental impacts.

Environmental Laws

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) creates and enforces federal environmental laws and regulations which are the baseline environmental requirements. The EPA may delegate enforcement to state regulators, who are free to implement environmental regulations that are stricter than the federal EPA regulations.

Federal environmental regulations cover:

  1. Waste disposal
  2. Air emissions
  3. Water pollution
  4. Chemical and biocide registration
  5. Oil and gas storage

State and local regulations may create additional environmental legislation that is more restrictive than federal EPA regulations.

Environmental Standards

Environmental standards are voluntary programs that facilities may choose to implement in order to mitigate their environmental hazards and impacts. Management systems can improve environmental performance by providing a structure that permits organizations to constantly evaluate and improve their environmental impacts.

ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems can certify an organization’s environmental compliance management system, while ISO 50001 can certify an organization’s energy-efficiency management system.

ISO-certified management systems demonstrate to the public and potential customers that an organization is well-managed and aware of its environmental responsibilities.

Importance of Implementing a Regulatory Watch on Environmental Laws and Standards

Many businesses are affected by environmental laws, ranging from small businesses to large multinational corporations. Tracking regulatory developments across international, federal, state, and local governments is a necessary, but time-consuming task. Monitoring environmental laws and regulations ensures that your facilities are aware of any changes when environmental regulators inspect your operations.

Monitoring environmental standards is also beneficial to stay in the loop during the revision and creation of the standards. If you choose to obtain an environmental certification, you’ll want to stay abreast of any developments to ensure you can maintain that certificate to display to the public and your customers.


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