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Air Quality Management Online Portal

Legislation, Regulation & Implementation


How do I write legislation or regulations and implement them?


Legislation: Synonymous with law or statute, legislation is established by a governing authority and in general can be enforced by the courts. Air quality legislation generally contains broad program goals and objectives as well as roles and responsibilities for achieving national air quality protection. In the U.S., national legislation is developed and finalized within the U.S. Congress and signed by the President.

Regulation: Synonymous with rule, regulations are developed by a governing authority and usually provide more specific information for how the broad legislative objectives will be met. In the U.S., national environmental regulations are developed primarily by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Implementation: The process of developing detailed plans, procedures and mechanisms needed to ensure legislative and regulatory requirements are achieved. In the U.S., though much legislation is passed nationally, individual States are the primary implementers of air quality management programs.

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AQM System Flow Chart Highlighting Regulation and Implementation

Legislation and regulation provide the legal foundation for most air quality management systems. The first step for many countries is to pass legislation that sets forth the desired air quality related goals. This legislation will look a bit different from country to country, but will likely contain some similar components. These components include basic definitions, emission sources to be controlled (e.g., stationary and mobile sources), pollutants of concerns, desired public health outcomes, and identification of roles and responsibilities.

Most laws do not have enough detail to be implemented immediately. For example, while legislation might provide authority to control sulfur dioxide emissions, regulations establish what is legal and what is not. For example, a regulation issued by EPA to implement the Clean Air Act might state what levels of a pollutant—such as sulfur dioxide—are safe. To achieve those levels, regulations would be developed at the state and national level to tell industries how much sulfur dioxide they can legally emit into the air, and what the penalty will be if they emit too much.

Each of the management activities identified under this Air Quality Management Portal contributes to the legislation and regulation processes. Technical support activities such as monitoring and modeling help inform what specific plans will look like, and what measures might be taken at national, regional and local levels. Health assessments and economic analysis also provide input into control strategy development, but these activities, along with other evaluation processes, inform legislators on the need to modify goals or enforcement mechanisms on a legislative level. A good air quality management system is a truly cyclical, with each piece feeding into the larger system and creating opportunities for continual improvement. This improvement is critical, as technological and governance advances will continue to offer new and better ways of achieving desired goals.

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How do I write legislation or regulations and implement them?

This link outlines the steps taken in the United States for creating a law, implementing a law and creating a regulation. It offers links to web sites that list existing U.S. laws and regulations. http://www.epa.gov/epahome/lawintro.htm

The Center on Congress, located at Indiana University, provides an extensive web site describing the U.S. Legislative Process. http://congress.indiana.edu/learn_about/topic/legislative_process.php Exit EPA

The RegMap is a chart that gives an overview of generic rulemaking requirements and processes applicable to most United States rulemaking agencies. http://www.reginfo.gov/public/reginfo/Regmap/index.jsp Exit EPA.

As with the other management activities related to the AQM process, it is critical to contact the regulated community and other affected parties, as the public should be consulted as part of the process.


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