There is no question whether or not the environment is changing on a global scale. This topic is the focal point of many environmentalists’ research and continues to spread through media giving everyone the opportunity to think about their own contributions to these changes. Everyone has an understanding of the types of impacts large corporations make towards climate change. There are some who do not believe that human activity could cause the greater portion of the impact on the environment. Beginning in the late months of 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was created in order to help minimize the contributions and overall effects that human beings may impose on the earth. The EPA strives for an improved environment as well as the health and well-being of humans. The government thought that creating an authority figure should help deter businesses and individuals who may partake in practices that can cause an increase in pollutants around the world. Most companies try and comply with the rules and regulations of the EPA but some of them try to get away with spending less on their pollution control methods.
These offenders are often fined a large sum of money and can even serve prison sentences for their lack of compliance with the regulations. The large companies that can afford to make the necessary changes that we would expect to follow the rules and regulations understand that they run a risk of being detected by the EPA for their higher than allowed amounts of pollutants. Considering the rate of climate change continues to rise, is there a real deterrence factor from the EPA? The reason this is so important today is because climate change is affecting every living thing on earth, not just humans but ocean life as well. Working in the environmental field has educated me that the earth is more polluted than the average person may know. There have been days where I’ve seen soil, water, and air pollution all in the same day on the same job site. Drilling and testing soils has brought the intention of regulations and standards that all builders and property owners need to abide by. Studying environmental science and geographic courses while obtaining my degree have brought me to an even more conclusive period where I am certain there are things that I can do in order to help other people become aware of what is happening to our planet. If more people were aware of these rules and regulations would we see a steadier decline in the rate of climate change? Are the companies who do not comply with regulations aware of their responsibilities? It has become fairly obvious that many people are unaware of who the EPA is and what they do, if the everyday population are not aware of these laws and regulations then how can we diminish the more insignificant portion of pollution from the average person.
There are many laws in place today that contribute to the movement against pollution and waste that would lead to an unhealthy environment for humans. There are many people in the United States that continuously contribute to polluting the earth, whether they are aware of the impact they are causing or not. If the everyday citizen were more educated about things such as the clean water and clean air regulations that the EPA enforces the amount of infractions against the rules and regulations should go down. Should the EPA offer mandatory sessions for colleges, businesses, environmental companies, and even local law enforcement. Contributing to the deterrence factor for going against these laws, the EPA Increasing the overall presence of environmental protection in the United States will lead to a more sustainable climate. Creating a system to educate more people about the potential threats to the environment as well as the legal responsibilities of the EPA should be able to have a significant impact on the rate of climate change.
There are multiple variables that were considered when conducting this research, education is only as valuable as an individual wants it to be. Some people understand the rules and regulations that they need to abide by and still decide to weigh their options and not comply. Big and some small businesses would rather risk the event of getting caught rather than lower their income margins. These corporations are not considered about whether or not they are helping the planet become more sustainable, they are only focused on making more money each year. Speaking on an individual level, the rest of society should be educated about what the EPA is and what it is that they do, with that said it is possible that some people would disregard the information and continue doing what they have always done. According to Daniel Riesel, the law enforcement portion of the EPA is distributed through extensive research with intent to give each case to the suitable office in order to carry on with enforcing a civil or criminal law suit. Depending on which office the case is handled by often determines whether or not the case is seen through. Often times when the EPA cannot handle an infraction or is having a difficult time with filing one, they may request that the case be handled by the Department of Justice. (Lebel,2018) For the actual enforcement of the rules and regulations the type of charges or even completion of filing an infraction can become lost or incomplete in a result of a mishandling of information. This may have a detrimental effect on the way penalties and other sentences are seen by those who are not deterred from committing acts against the EPA.
“The precautionary principle ensures that a substance or activity posing a threat to the environment is prevented from adversely affecting the environment, even if there is no conclusive scientific proof linking that particular substance or activity to environmental damage.”(Cameron,1991) When a substance or activity is seen as having a negative impact on the environment, reasoning and tests are done to provide a suitable standard or restrictions to lower the rate of impact of said activities or substances. The EPA is often doing research to find what else may cause harm to the us or the planet. Once they find something new that hasn’t been discovered to be an environmental threat, the media usually spreads word of act or substance and it becomes a trend to not use those substances. There are many people in the last month who have stopped using plastic straws because they harm sea turtles and other marine life. Something like a photo showing how bad the product is for other life in today’s society can increase the number of people who comply with precaution.
Other early research that was conducted about law enforcement and it discusses the use of warnings and how they may not deter people away from committing violations. The article was written about how offenders of the Animal Welfare Association who were given a written warning still did not comply with the laws and regulations. “This Article reveals a serious enforcement failure. Given the prevalence of warnings as an enforcement tool across administrative agencies, and the paucity of information about their effectiveness, it is likely that similar failures are occurring in a host of other contexts.” (Winders,2000) The amount of warnings given out by the EPA in a single year are all violations that they could have enforced more strictly. If the EPA was serious enough to become an agency, then they should enforce it with using little to no warnings. If a business or an individual is partaking in an act that goes against the EPA and was truly not knowledgeable about the laws than it all relays back to the education of others in an effort to reduce the amount of infractions. Today warnings are still seen when dealing with traffic violations, most people who receive a warning for speeding may only reduce their speed for a few minutes until they are away from the officer who pulled them over.
A main contribution in the efforts of educating the population on what environmental threats are out there, enforcing the laws on multiple levels from local to global are an important part of expressing not only information but the severity of the offense. The more people who are caught in the act should be prosecuted against and made aware that their actions were not compliant with rules and regulations of the EPA. Research conducted on enforcing environmental laws on each level of territory is critical in understanding the ways the EPA can inform others on their rules and regulations. (Tomkins,2005) Police officers who may not work for the EPA should be aware that these types of offenses need to be reported or enforced through themselves as well. These actions can be seen as something simple like enforcing no littering laws on highways and other public roadways. Signs are posted with an amount for a fine that one would have to pay if they were to throw garbage outside of their windows while driving. The signs are there to educate people on the rules, but garbage and sometimes large furniture items can still be seen on the side of these roads. If nobody is patrolling the highway searching for these violations than often times they can be overlooked by both civilian and patrolman.
During a 2007 court case of Massachusetts v. EPA the court was to discuss “whether EPA has authority to regulate, and (under certain conditions) must decide whether to regulate, greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes in the United States’ new automobile fleet. “(Freeman, 2007). What had happened in the case was multiple states wanted the EPA to be powerful enough to create or amend laws pertaining to the regulating the pollution of harmful greenhouse gasses. This case was a large win for the environmental movement, it will be seen as one of the turning points in the combat against climate change. This is important because with the EPA gaining the ability to regulate such pollutants, they can know help raise awareness of these pollutants and the ways people can help eradicate the overall effects they may have on the planet.
Many businesses and corporations have recently failed to comply with regulations regarding the use of natural sources as well as the output of pollutants. The Department of Justice would allow them to do a supplementary environmental project in order to make up for the harm caused. “In January 2018, the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division issued a memorandum that essentially prohibits the use of supplemental environmental projects (i.e., projects that benefit the environment in exchange for mitigation of the penalty for failure to comply with an environmental law) in settlements of federal claims or charges.” (LeBel,2018) This was a major change in the way the EPA and DOJ use their powers to punish those who have broken the laws against the environment. There would now be no other way of supplementing a fine or any other sentence imposed by the DOJ or the EPA and the person who committed the act will most likely feel more remorse for the environmental problems that they may have caused. This is also an issue because instead of doing other projects to help the environment businesses can now just pay the fine and not repay the earth for the damage they have done. In todays’ society social media as well as other forms of media will publicly shame a business if they are caught doing something against the environment.
The business will feel the pressure and negative stigma in order to partake in a public attempt to do something good for the environment in hopes to clear their name and regain their status with the rest of society. Reforming these laws are important when attempting to help lower the rate of infraction. When new studies are done, and environmentalist find out that an event or substance is having an even bigger impact than they originally thought. “At various points, potentially challenging issues of law and policy are identified, and different imaginable paths are specified. The various reforms show the extraordinary extent to which the executive branch, relying on pre-existing regulatory authorities, can reorient national policy in an area in which the national legislature is blocked. “(Sunstein, 2017) During the Obama administration these types of changes were seen fairly often, amending these laws are important when new information is available to the EPA about the rate at which an impact is occurring.
Research conducted on the immediate affects that education and knowledge of the EPA has on the overall climate change has not yet been done or I was unable to acquire that information. Based on other research discussing the EPA and how they interact with offenders has given me a more in-depth analysis about whether or not people would obey the rules or if they would continuously break them. The research conducted previously was about more of the law enforcement side of the EPA and what authorities they may have. The ways that they interact and hold people accountable for their actions is a good way at determining whether or not people knew that they were in fact breaking the law. The way the EPA discovers new environmental threats and recognizes its place in society is a very important process, it is what changes our everyday lives and the products we use. Looking into some of the Acts that the EPA has set in place like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, there are businesses who understand these laws and are often monitored by the EPA. These businesses can either abide by the regulations or add new technology in order to lower the rate but in attempts to increase or keep profit margins relatively the same they do not change their pollution rate. The research helped me format my paper in a way where it may be educational to the audience, as it is important to understand what the EPA is and what their mission is.
There are many variables when it comes to educating someone about any topic. Some people can listen and digest information better than others, some people can care or tend not to care about a topic, and some people already know the information but continue to disregard it. Educating children on the earth and how human interaction Is causing a disturbance in nature is a good start to teaching a better, more sustainable way of life. When discussing the EPA and the role they play in controlling these human interactions with the earth is a more in depth and interesting topic. Most people understand the precautionary things we must do in order to help protect what we have, but most people are not sure about what they can do in order to have a greater positive impact. Learning about the environmental policies the EPA enforces and the methods they use to carry out the policies may not be as beneficial as anticipated. These laws and regulations were created by the EPA with the intent to stop all potential threats to the environment in order to increase the quality of life for all beings on earth. The fact that large corporations are not following these rules and regulations makes it difficult to project that more people would follow the rules if they were educated on them. The education can be learned by other people, but what they tend to do with that knowledge is up to the individual, but with that said, the EPA would be creating a more understanding and educated society. The research conducted for this paper was extremely informative about each aspect of the EPA and their way of creating and enforcing these laws.
The efforts of the EPA in regulating certain pollutants from increasing the rate of climate change are working to an extent. Increasing the overall presence of the Environmental Protection Agency would help raise awareness for not only what threats are causing harm to the planet but it will also make people understand that the rules and regulations are laws and can impose a punishment on those who break them. There are many things the EPA does and can do for the environment that most people are not educated about. With the United States being a consumer state where everything is manufactured or processed there are a lot of threats that even the smallest of things can impose on the environment. The EPA needs to make itself more evident in today’s society by reaching a broader audience when discussing environmental laws and policies. Environmental law enforcement as a whole need to become more incline with the community they are in and become more sociable with the people and businesses that reside in those communities.
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