AP Environmental Science : Economic Impacts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #45 : Pollution

Which of the following is the dominant source of the pollutant ?

Possible Answers:

Agriculture

Natural gas

Refrigerants 

Coal and crude oil

Nuclear power

Correct answer:

Coal and crude oil

Explanation:

Coal deposits often contain high levels of sulfur compounds that are emitted into the atmosphere when combusted. Much of this could be abated with clean coal technology.

Example Question #46 : Pollution

In the United States, which piece of federal legislation holds polluting companies and individuals financially accountable for environmental clean-up and restoration?

Possible Answers:

EPA

RCRA

NRCS

CERCLA

NEPA

Correct answer:

CERCLA

Explanation:

NRCS (National Resource Conservation Service) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) are federal agencies, not pieces of legislation. NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) requires environmental assesments for proposed federal projects and RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) classifies waste as solid or hazardous and sets regulations for storage and treatment of said waste. CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act) establishes a superfund for heavily polluted areas and holds responsible firms financially accountable.

Example Question #47 : Pollution

 

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980 established the Superfund for heavily polluted or contaminated sites. What is the source of revenue for Superfund cleanup projects?

Possible Answers:

The taxpayers foot the bill for any Superfund cleanup sight. CERCLA considers citizens and consumers equally accountable for environmental harm.

The funding for the Superfund is actually revenue generated by the EPA from fines they have issued firms found guilty of improper waste management or disposal.

Nobody is held directly accountable. The sales tax that we pay for petroleum and lead products go to the Superfund and provide revenue when a cleanup has to happen.

The Potentially Responsible Party is held financially accountable and must foot the cost of cleanup upfront and before cleanup can take place.

Federal funding is provided for cleaning up Superfund sites, and the cost can be recovered by holding the Potentially Responsible Party financially accountable.

Correct answer:

Federal funding is provided for cleaning up Superfund sites, and the cost can be recovered by holding the Potentially Responsible Party financially accountable.

Explanation:

Superfund is initially federally funded (by taxpayer revenue), but the EPA uses CERCLA to hold Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) financially accountable and recover the cost of cleanup that has so far been financed by the government.

Example Question #51 : Pollution

Which of the following is a situation in which  he individual would NOT be held responsible for cost of cleanup under CERCLA?

Possible Answers:

A third-party waste disposal company that has been contracted to dispose of hazardous waste for a polluting electronics company whose improper storage methods have resulted in environmental contamination.

A purchasing agent for a waste management company that assesses suitability of land for waste disposal and purchases properties for waste disposal.

A land developer who purchased property with tailing ponds from a former mining operation that are currently leaking hazardous chemicals into the ground and water table.

An individual who inherited ownership of industrial property that has been found to be leaking petroleum chemicals due to improper storage practices by the previous owner.

An employee at a company that was found to be disposing of hazardous waste products improperly, resulting in environmental contamination.

Correct answer:

An employee at a company that was found to be disposing of hazardous waste products improperly, resulting in environmental contamination.

Explanation:

CERCLA identifies a Potentially Responsible Party as an individual or firm that currently owns the site, owned the site at the time contamination occurred, arranged to have waste stored/disposed at the site, or transported the waste and contributed to arranging disposal at the contaminated site. Individuals who purchase land where pollutants are currently being released can be held accountable, even if they did not contribute to the pollution.

The employee of a polluting firm who did not directly arrange for or assist in the handling and disposal of waste cannot be held financially accountable for the resulting cleanup.

Example Question #52 : Pollution

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. Because it is shallow, only about 1% of pollutants make it out into the Atlantic.

Air pollutants account for nearly __________ of nitrogen pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay.

Possible Answers:

5%

7%

35%

20%

Correct answer:

35%

Explanation:

35% of nitrogenous pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay comes from air pollutants. That being said, agricultural waste is a serious concern and both federal and state governments have offered subsidies in exchange for farmers leaving crucial lands unplanted.

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