Environmental laws

Topics: Environmentalism, Environment, Environmental law Pages: 18 (4566 words) Published: September 29, 2013
Chapter 2
Environmental Laws, Economics, and Ethics

Lecture Outline:

I. A Brief Environmental History of the United States
A. During the 18th and 19th centuries, most Americans had a frontier attitude toward nature and its resources B. Protecting forests
i. Numerous men contributed to the protection of American forests throughout the 19th and 20th centuries 1. Influential artists and authors (i.e., John James Audubon, Henry David Thoreau, George Perkins Marsh) aroused widespread public interest in wildlife, ecology, and environmental change 2. Theodore Roosevelt designated 21 new national forests and removed 43 million acres of forest from logging as per the General Revision Act of 1891 ii. Utilitarian conservationists are those who view forests in terms of their usefulness for people – such as in providing jobs C. Establishing and protecting national parks and monuments

i. In 1916 Congress created the National Park Service (NPS) to manage the national parks and monuments for the enjoyment of the public “without impairment” 1. Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park, was established in 1872 2. Today there are 58 national parks and 73 national monuments under NPS management ii. John Muir, a biocentric preservationist, was largely responsible to the establishment of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in California D. Conservation in the mid-20th century

i. Franklin Roosevelt was an influential advocate for conservation 1. During the Great Depression he established the Civilian Conservation Corps, employing more than 175,000 men to perform various activities to protect natural resources 2. In 1935 he formed the Soil Conservation Service in response to the American Dust Bowl ii. Aldo Leopold argued persuasively for a land ethic and the sacrifices such an ethic requires in numerous writings (i.e., Game Management and A Sand County Almanac) iii. An essay written by Wallace Stegner helped create support for passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964 iv. Rachel Carson’s writings (Silent Spring) led to restrictions on the use of certain pesticides v. Paul Ehrlich’s book (The Population Bomb) raised public awareness of the dangers of overpopulation and triggered debates on how to deal effectively with population issues E. The environmental movement of the late 2oth century

i. The first Earth Day, held in 1970, awakened U.S. environmental consciousness to population growth, overuse of resources, and pollution and degradation of the environment ii. Environmental awareness and the belief that individual actions could repair the damage humans were doing to Earth became a pervasive popular movement iii. By the end of the 20th century, the focus had shifted from the importance of individual actions to pressuring governments and large corporations to make environmentally appropriate decisions II. U.S. Environmental Legislation

A. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed in 1970 B. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was also signed into law in 1970 i. NEPA requires the federal government to consider the environmental impact of any proposed federal action 1. NEPA provides the basis for developing detailed environmental impact statements (EIS’s) 2. NEPA established the Council on Environmental Quality to monitor the required EISs and report directly to the president ii. NEPA revolutionized environmental protection in the United States C. Environmental policy since 1970

i. Congress has passed many environmental laws that address a wide range of issues, such as endangered species, clean water, clean air, energy conservation, hazardous wastes, and pesticides ii. Through the late 1980s and early 1990s, EPA and a number of states engaged in environmental prioritization exercises (aka, Comparative Risk Analyses), that evaluate the health, economic, and ecosystem impacts of a range of environmental issues iii. In 1994, Executive Order 12898 required that all new environmental regulations take...
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