The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 was a response to growing awareness of environmental degradation in the US in the form of polluted waterways, declining air quality in cities, acid rain from power plants coal-fired power and more. NEPA provided a mechanism through which a comprehensive assessment of the environmental consequences of various actions and developments on the quality of land, air, and water in the US was conducted. The Act was not designed to stop development, it but to identify the possible environmental consequences and propose alternatives. approaches to minimize the consequences.
This mechanism includes measures to protect water and air quality, as well as environmental impact statements (EIAs), which include public review and input as part of the process.
Randy Brown is a fish biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The opinions expressed in this Community Perspective are those of the author and not necessarily those of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.