Environmental law as a body of law which addresses the system of complex and interlocking rules which seeks to protect from destruction or development certain species or favored natural areas thought to be endangered by human encroachment. In the United States, there are numerous types of environmental laws. They come in many forms and have diverse purposes. As an introduction, a few examples are provided here.
- The Endangered Species Act seeks to protect various species of animals that are deemed to be threatened or endangered by human activity.
- The Clean Water and Clean Air Acts regulate (through a variety of methods) industrial, waste disposal, and other human activities that result in contamination of the air and water.
- Superfund is the common name for a set of laws that establishes a multi-billion dollar fund to pay for remediation of toxic waste sites left by companies that are unwilling or unable to pay.
- The National Environmental Policy Act requires the federal government to consider environmental impact before taking any significant action, such as building a highway.