To achieve its mission, the Environmental Protection Agency works together with State Agencies to implement and enforce their laws. Once Congress passes a law, regulations are drafted by the EPA to indicate what actions are required to comply with that law. Policies are developed by the EPA to allow clear interpretation of the regulations, to implement them, and to ensure consistency. The EPA authorizes state agencies to conduct enforcement of the laws and then works with the states to develop programs and regulations under a particular law. Programs are approved by the EPA once the state drafts one that meets criteria and then the state has the primary role in enforcement of the law or program but the EPA will be involved in state run programs if necessary.
The EPA also has enforcement programs (civil, cleanup, and criminal) that “work with the Department of Justice, state, and Tribal governments to take legal actions in both federal and state courts that bring polluters into compliance with federal environmental laws” (http://www.epa.gov/compliance/index-e.html).
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