Since the late 1960s there has been increasing public concern in many industrialized societies about the quality of the environment and consequently about the wider and longer-term effects of major industrial developments on the environmental media (air, water and land), and upon local communities. The ‘environmental movement’ began to gain fairly widespread support in the USA during the 1960s and since then environmental interest groups have also developed in most western countries. Partly in response to these growing pressures the US government passed the very significant National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1970. This statute placed the protection of environmental quality, including the amenities of life for all Americans, on a par with economic growth. It also required all federal agencies to publish an environmental impact statement (ElS)—a document describing all relevant environmental and social effects associated with agency actions—for all programmes or proposals which might have a significant effect on the environment. Finally the Act established a President’s Council on Environmental Quality, an independent reviewing agency, to oversee and publicize all EISs. Subsequently, many US states prepared their own Environmental Policy Acts to cover state agency and private company operations. Currently most countries of the Western world are considering NEPA-style legislation but with many modifications to suit their own ways of analysing project impacts and taking decisions.
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- Project evaluation
R. K. Turner
- Springer Netherlands
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