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America's journey to environmental awareness has been a relatively recent one. Not so many years ago Americans were still living under the illusion that a land as vast as ours was blessed with indestructible natural resources and beauty.

We continued the exploitation of those resources and scattered unplanned communities across huge areas of open space. Large amounts of fuel were needed for the autos that took us to work from distant suburbs, and the air became laden with their dense emissions. Pesticides were used indiscriminantly by persons unaware of their effects on the food chain of plants and animals. Our rivers became contaminated with waste from homes and industries. Our landscape was marred by litter.

As the environmentalist movement gained impetus, attention was focused on these matters. Rachael Carson's book, Silent Spring, in 1962 awakened Americans to the hazards of pesticides. The oil spills of the Torrey Canyon in 1967 and at Santa Barbara, California in 1969 dramatized another environmental hazard. The first Earth Day on April 20, 1970, a coordinated program of teach-ins across the nation, helped to focus Congressional attention on the strength of the environmental movement.

Congress responded by approving the President's Reorganization Plan No. 3 which expanded the federal commitment to environmental concerns and consolidated 15 Federal organizations under the Environmental Protection Agency.

At the same time, Congress began enacting far-reaching legislation to provide EPA with specific authority for controlling pollution. These measures included the Clean Air Amendments in 1970, and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments, Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act, the Noise Control Act, and the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, all in 1972. Congress also passed the Resource Recovery Act in 1970 and extended the Solid Waste Disposal Act in 1973.

As the Agency began taking action under these laws, Americans gradually realized that very real changes were required in our accustomed ways of doing business. We realized that our effort frequently conflicted with powerful and legitimate interests in both the public and private sectors. Our administrative, judicial and political processes now have the task of resolving these conflicts. They must do so by weighing all the interests which are affected in a sensitive and informed manner. Quick access to the legal dimensions of these problems is essential if conflicts are to be efficiently and fairly resolved.

The work of the present day environmentalist is less glamorous than that of four or five years ago, but it is essential if we are

to face the continuing challenge of protecting our fragile and perishable natural resources-and ultimately ourselves-from destruction. I hope you will find this manual helpful as we strive to create a society where we can live and work in harmony with the natural world surrounding us.

Russell E. Train


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970 transferred 15 governmental units with their functions and legal authority to create the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since only the major laws were cited in the Plan, it was decided that a compilation of EPA legal authority be researched and published.

The publication has the primary function of providing a working document for the Agency itself. Secondarily, it will serve as a research tool for the public.

It is the hope of EPA that this set will assist in the awesome task of developing a better environment.


Office of Executive Secretariat

Office of Administrator

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency



The goal of this text is to create a useful compilation of the legal authority under which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency operates. These documents are for the general use of personnel of the EPA in assisting them in attaining the purposes set out by the President in creating the Agency. This work is not intended and should not be used for legal citations or any use other than as reference of a general nature. The author disclaims all responsibility for liabilities growing out of the use of these materials contrary to their intended purpose. Moreover, it should be noted that portions of the Congressional Record from the 93rd Congress were extracted from the "unofficial" daily version and are subject to subsequent modification.

EPA Legal Compilation consists of the Statutes with their legislative history, Executive Orders, Regulations, Guidelines and Reports. To facilitate the usefulness of this composite, the Legal Compilation is divided into the seven following chapters:

A. General

B. Air

C. Water

D. Solid Waste


E. Pesticides
F. Radiation
G. Noise

This edition, labelled "Supplement II," contains the additions to and alterations of EPA legal authority not included in the original set or Supplement I of the EPA Legal Compilation. Therefore, this edition updates the Compilation through the 93rd Congress, First Session.


Statutes and Legislative History

For convenience, the Statutes are listed throughout the Compilation by a one-point system, i.e., 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc., and Legislative History begins wherever a letter follows the one-point system. Thus, any 1.1a, 1.1b, 1.2a, etc., denotes the public laws com

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