EPA is called a regulatory agency because Congress authorizes us to write regulations that explain the technical, operational, and legal details necessary to implement laws. Regulations are mandatory requirements that can apply to individuals, businesses, state or local governments, non-profit institutions, or others.
We provide a number of tools for you to keep track of and participate in the development of new EPA regulations, and to learn how to comply with existing regulations.
Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR)
Regulations are codified annually in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Title 40: Protection of Environment is the section of the CFR that deals with EPA's mission of protecting human health and the environment.
- The CFR is available from the Government Printing Office.
- Please note, Title 40 is typically not updated until July of the current calendar year.
- e-CFR: an up-to-date, unofficial version of the CFR.
The Federal Register
The Federal Register (FR) is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.
There's a difference between the CFR and the FR. The FR announces ongoing activities of the agencies and notifies you when you can comment on a proposed regulation. Once a final decision is issued in the form of a final regulation, the regulation is then codified when it is incorporated into the CFR.
- The FR is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office.
- Basic outlines of where regulations apply:
EPA rulemakings (i.e., regulations that are under development) could impact you once they become final regulations. You have an opportunity to provide input on almost every regulation before it is finalized. To help you get involved in our rulemakings, we provide a number of ways you can keep track of them.
- Regulatory Agendas and Regulatory Plans: Download twice yearly publications of EPA's regulatory activities.
- Regulations.gov: This multi-agency website serves as an online clearinghouse for materials related to EPA rulemakings and is EPA's official on-line comment system. Comment on regulations, and access rules that have been published in the Federal Register and related documents.
- EPA Docket Centers: EPA docket centers provide access to the same information as Regulations.gov for those people without access to the Internet. In addition, the docket centers provide access to those pieces of information that we are unable to provide electronically. You may also submit comments to the docket centers, in addition to submitting them via Regulations.gov.
EPA has ten Regional offices, each of which is responsible for several states and territories. Get information about your Region or your state's environmental agencies.
In many cases, state-level environmental agencies administer the federal regulations that EPA puts in place. The Gateway to State-by-State Resource Locators Exit, sponsored by EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance, provides access to state-by-state environmental regulations, compliance assistance, and where applicable, permits and forms for a variety of topics.