Nondegradation Policy

Nondegradation Policy in the United States

Nondegradation Policy in Environmental Law

A principle in environmental statutes that prohibits an area from allowing a deterioration of the air or water simply because it exceeds the national standards for pollutant control. The Clean Air Act has specific provisions to govern growth in air quality control regions that have attained the federal standards: the Prevention of Significant Deterioration program. See also National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

In the Clean Water Act, backsliding is prohibited. If a facility is treating its wastewater to a required level, the Environmental Protection Agency or state permitting agency may not relax the treatment required when the permit is reissued. Similarly, the Clean Water Act requires states to designate water quality standards for waters within their borders. The current use of the water must be preserved, except in extraordinary situations, and once the water quality is improved, the new status of the water is protected as a current use. The state’s water quality designations will impact development, because raising the quality of the water will mean that wastewater may have to be treated beyond the national standards.

No degradation provisions apply to nationally protected areas as well as state regulated natural resources. The quality of outstanding national resource waters, found in national and state parks, may not be reduced at all. Air quality standards and visibility are also strictly controlled in national and state parks, forests, and wildlife preserves. The effect of this type of policy is to limit growth not only within the protected areas, but also outside them.
Based on “Environment and the Law. A Dictionary”.

Nondegradation Policy: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Nondegradation Policy. This part provides references, in relation to Nondegradation Policy, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Nondegradation Policy by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Nondegradation Policy and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Nondegradation Policy or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Nondegradation Policy and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Nondegradation Policy. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Nondegradation Policy should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Nondegradation Policy when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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