National Environmental Policy Act (Nepa)

In 1969, our Country, and our environment were screaming for help! Scientists, Ecologists, Wild Life Experts and a whole laundry list more came up with an agency to protect our environment. Today we call it the National Environmental Policy Act or (NEPA) of. The Law was officially in acted January 1st 1970, by Richard Nixon. When the Country cried out for help and wanted someone to step In after a series of major environmental accidents.

Off the shores of Santa Barbara a major oil spill destroyed thousands of miles of ocean water, and marine life. This wasn’t the only environmental Issues going on. Areas in and around Pittsburg in the late 1960’s had a large smog or dense air pollution that had residents up in arms.

Also in Cleveland , Ohio, water pollution in the rivers, streams, and lakes In the Cuyahoga. These events forever changed our environment, and that’s when the first piece of significant federal legislation was in acted. Other acts followed: the clean air act, the national ambient air quality standards, the clean water act (1972), endangered species act (1973).

Another major driving force for enacting NEPA were the freeway revolts that occurred in response to the bulldozing of many communities and ecosystems around the country, as the Interstate Highway system was being built during the 1960’s. The law has since been applied to any project, federal, state or local, that involves federal funding, or work performed by the federal government, or permits issued by a federal agency.

The essential purpose of NEPA is to ensure that environmental factors are weighted equally when compared to other factors in the decision making progress under taken by federal agencies. The act also establishes the President’s council on environmental quality (CEQ). The CEQ was established, to advise the President in the preparation of the annual environmental quality report addressing the state of federal agencies in implementing the act, on national policies. The Council on Environmental Quality, which is headed by a fulltime Chair, oversees NEPA. A staff assists the Council. The duties and functions of the Council are listed in Title

II, Section 204 of NEPA and include: * Gathering information on the conditions and trends in environmental quality * Evaluating federal programs in light of the goals established in Title I of the Act * Developing and promoting national policies to improve environmental quality * Conducting studies, surveys, research, and analyses relating to ecosystems and * environmental quality. This information was found at www.epa.gov/oecaerth/basics/nepa.html.

Man for many years has been tearing down the rain forests in record rates, and some experts predict that in another hundred years or so the rain forest will be all but gone. With the industrial expansion, and high density urbanization we as humans have been destroying our environment. What will the future hold for our children, and our children’s children? have been building at record rates, and there is no slowing down, at least not any time soon. Human being’s must find away to co-exist with Mother Earth, or we will destroy something very beautiful.

Oil spills all over the world, the one we can remember most is Exxon Valdez in the waters of Alaska. I think we all remember the images we saw on TV of the of the wild life covered in black crude oil. Just when we think that we have learned from our mistakes, we have a oil barge blow up off the coast of Mexico. It spilled Billions of barrels of oil into the gulf, threaten fishing and wild life for hundreds of miles. It took several months before it could be finally fixed (pluged). A great author by the name of Rachel Carson, wrote a book in 1962 called Silent Spring. In this book Rachel Carson describes how pesticides were being dumped into our river and lakes.

This poison was killing not only birds and animals but humans as well. Rachel Carson book was a New York best seller that year. Rachel Carson also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award ( posthumously) by President Jimmy Carter.

"To declare national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony

between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or

eliminate

damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man;

to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to

the Nation..."

This is a preamble quote from NEPA, and we should all learn to live by it!