Atomic Energy Act
The Atomic Energy Act (AEA) was originally passed by the U.S. Congress in 1946 following World War II and the demonstration of the power of the atom. The AEA is the fundamental U.S. law on both civilian and military uses of nuclear materials. On the civilian side, the AEA provides for both the development and the regulation of the uses of nuclear materials and facilities in the United States, declaring the policy that the development and utilization of atomic energy shall “be directed toward improving the public welfare, increasing the standard of living, strengthening free competition in private enterprise, and promoting world peace." In 1954, the U.S. Congress amended the AEA to encourage the development of commercial nuclear power. These amendments allowed private industry to own and operate nuclear power plants to generate electricity for the public.
The AEA provides authority for setting the standards for the use of nuclear materials to promote the nation's common defense, protect health, and minimize potential danger to life or property. These standards were originally enforced and regulated by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). The U.S. Congress created the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to replace the AEC when it passed the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974. This Act gave the NRC the responsibility for regulating various commercial, industrial, academic, and medical uses of nuclear materials and nuclear energy.
California Air Pollution Control Act
The California Air Pollution Control Act was passed in 1947 which authorized the creation of air pollution control districts in every county of the state. In 1967, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) was created when the Mulford-Carrell Air Resources Act was passed merging the California Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board and the Bureau of Air Sanitation and its Laboratory. Since 1947, many other state and local regulations have been enacted that control air quality in California. Visit the ARB’s website to obtain the text of these regulations.
California Health and Safety Code
The California Health and Safety Code is the collection of state laws that govern, among other things, the handling of hazardous waste, corrective action and permitted facilities. The California Environmental Protection Agency Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) develops regulations based on the California Health and Safety Code. The state regulations regarding corrective action, permitted facilities and hazardous waste management are found in Title 22
The California Environmental Quality Act
The primary purpose of this 1970 California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is to require public agency decision makers to consider and document the environmental implications of their actions. Similar to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), CEQA requires that California State Agencies evaluate potential environmental impacts of discretionary activities proposed to be carried out or approved by public agencies. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that will include an analysis of the environmental impacts of the proposed Corrective Action clean up activities at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), including the Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC).
To learn more about the application of CEQA by the DTSC, please read their compliance memorandum included below:
- Department Compliance with the Requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act Compliance Memorandum, July 1993
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1980 to establish requirements for closed and abandoned hazardous waste sites. Under their CERCLA authority, commonly referred to as Superfund, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a National Priorities List (NPL) for sites with known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States and its territories. The NPL is intended primarily to guide the EPA in determining which sites warrant further investigation.
The EPA evaluated Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) Area IV to determine if it qualified for inclusion on the NPL. Using a Hazard Ranking System (HRS) the EPA found that Area IV did not qualify to be listed on the NPL. The results of this analysis are summarized in a December 2003 fact sheet.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the EPA support the use of non-time-critical (NTC) removal actions to act quickly and remove contaminated facilities. The DOE's authority to conduct CERCLA non-time critical removal actions to decontaminate and decommission it's facilities is provided through Executive Order 12580, Superfund Implementation, that delegates authority for response action at facilities under the DOE jurisdiction, custody, or control. The EPA and DOE issued a joint policy in May 1995 establishing the approach for DOE removal actions based on their delegated authority. Also see the DOE fact sheet for more information.
Clean Air Act
Under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets limits on how much of a pollutant can be in the air anywhere in the United States. This ensures that all Americans have the same basic health and environmental protections. The Act allows individual states to have stronger pollution controls, but states are not allowed to have weaker pollution controls than those set for the entire country.
The Act recognizes that it makes sense for states to take the lead in carrying out the Clean Air Act, because pollution control problems often require special understanding of local factors such as nearby industries, geography, and housing.
States have to develop state implementation plans (SIPs) that explain how each state will do its job under the Clean Air Act. Each SIP is a collection of the regulations a state will use to clean up polluted areas. The states must involve the public, through hearings and opportunities to comment, in the development of each SIP. EPA must approve each SIP, and if a SIP isn't acceptable, EPA can take over enforcing the Clean Air Act in that state.
Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act (CWA) sets goals and standards for the nation’s surface water quality and regulates discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States. The CWA establishes policies for improving water quality, maintaining water quality, and protecting beneficial water uses. This CWA also regulates dredging and filling of wetlands.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated its CWA authority for protecting surface water quality and regulation water discharge in California to the California State Water Resources Control Board to regulate discharge standards. Industrial discharges, including municipal sewage, require a permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
The EPA website has additional information on the Clean Water Act. Additional information of Boeing’s NPDES permit is available on the Boeing website. Information about NPDES can be found on the Regional Water Quality Control Board website.
National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants
The National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) are air quality standards issued under the Clean Air Act. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality website provides a good description of NESHAPS.
Boeing prepares and submits an annual NESHAPS report for radionuclides to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), who in turn, submits the report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This report contains results of the radiological monitoring from various sources. Annual exposure estimates at the Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC) fall below the limits allowed under NESHAPS. Results of the NESHAPS monitoring are contained in the Boeing Annual Site Environmental Reports.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
As required by NEPA, every proposal for a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment requires a detailed statement on the environmental impact of the proposed action and alternatives to the proposed action. The detailed statement about environmental impacts is to accompany proposals for any Federal actions through the agency review process. NEPA also established in the Executive Office of the President a Council on Environmental Quality, which has issued regulations on the preparation of environmental impact statements and on public participation in the preparation of the statements.
Actions of the Federal government are reviewed for environmental impacts. The Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC) Environmental Assessment completed as part of he NEPA review for the radiological cleanup of ETEC and the DOE's statement about impacts from the preferred cleanup alternative was issued in March 2003. The DOE determined that actions necessary to meet the criteria for unrestricted use will result in no significant impact because these actions will be fully protective of future users and will not significantly affect the quality of human health or the environment. To learn more about the application of NEPA by DOE please visit their website.
The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) is the primary federal law governing the preservation of cultural and historic resources in the United States. The NHPA recognizes historic preservation as an important policy of the United States, the act directs the federal government to actively promote the preservation of historic and prehistoric resources by administering the national preservation program in partnership with state and local governments, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiians, and by helping such entities expand and accelerate their historic programs and activities. The law establishes a national preservation program and a system of procedural protections which encourage the identification and protection of cultural and historic resources of national, state, tribal and local significance. Primary components of the act include:
- Articulation of a national policy governing the protection of historic and cultural resources.
- Establishment of a comprehensive program for identifying historic and cultural resources for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Creation of a federal-state/tribal-local partnership for implementing programs established by the act.
- Requirement that federal agencies take into consideration actions that could adversely affect historic properties listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, known as the Section 106 Review Process.
- Establishment of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which oversees federal agency responsibilities governing the Section 106 Review Process.
- Placement of specific stewardship responsibilities on federal agencies for historic properties owned or within their control (Section 110 of the NHPA).
Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act
In 1969, the California Legislature enacted the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act (the Act) to preserve, enhance and restore the quality of the State's water resources. The Act established the State Water Resources Control Board and nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards as the principal state agencies with the responsibility for controlling water quality in California. Under the Act, water quality policy is established, water quality standards are enforced for both surface and ground water, and the discharges of pollutants from point and non-point sources are regulated. The Act authorizes the State Control Board to establish Water quality principles and guidelines for long range resource planning including ground water and surface water management programs and control and use of recycled water.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) gave the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to control hazardous waste from the "cradle-to-grave." This includes permitting the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. The Federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 amended the RCRA by requiring phasing out land disposal of untreated hazardous waste. Some of the other mandates of this strict law include increased enforcement authority for EPA, more stringent hazardous waste management standards, and a comprehensive underground storage tank program. The California Environmental Protection Agency Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has the state regulatory authority for enforcing the provisions of RCRA.
RCRA focuses on regulating hazardous waste at active facilities. Abandoned or historical sites are addressed by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) is implementing RCRA Corrective Actions initiated by the EPA in 1989. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for ten Solid Waste Management Units (SWMU) under the SSFL Corrective Action program. Each SWMU is a location identified for investigation under the RCRA Corrective Action program. Cleanup criteria established through the Corrective Action process will apply to the DOE responsible SWMUs. The DOE will ensure each SWMU is cleaned up based on the cleanup criteria and groundwater monitoring as necessary to ensure long term protection.
DOE has two RCRA permitted facilities at SSFL. The Radioactive Materials Handling Facility is permitted for the treatment and storage of mixed waste (containing both chemical and radioactive components). The Hazardous Waste Management Facility was permitted for the treatment and storage of liquid metals.