Environmental Regulations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state environmental agencies regulate the impact of businesses on the environment. The EPA develops and enforces regulations that implement environmental laws enacted by Congress. Likewise, state agencies enforce regulations that implement laws enacted by the state legislature.

There are dozens of environmental regulations that apply to small businesses. The EPA and other agencies help small businesses understand their specific requirements by publishing plain-language guides that explain actions business owners must take to comply with federal regulations. Similarly, most state governments provide similar guidance for laws enforced by state environmental agencies.

This guide provides a collection of resources available from the federal government that help businesses understand their responsibilities under the nation's environmental laws.

Environmental Permits

Some environmental laws require you to obtain an environmental permit before you can emit or discharge a pollutant into the air or water, dispose of hazardous waste, or engage in certain regulated activities. Permits are also used by federal, state and local government agencies to implement environmental laws intended to protect specific types of resources such as wetlands or endangered species. Most environmental permits are issued by state governments.

Commonly Required Permits

The following are permits that are often required, along with explanations of compliance requirements.

Environmental Compliance Resources

Industry and Sector Information