Prior to the 1960’s, environmental awareness in the US was virtually nonexistent. The Lacey Act of 1900 prohibited illegal plant and animal trade, the Antiquities Act of 1906 preserved national monuments, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 had been passed in response to over-hunting, but the US had no laws targeting the impacts of human-centered activities on the environment, nor did anyone really seem to care.
Then, in the 1960s, following the release of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), the Cuyahoga River fire in Ohio (1969), and public backlash from the Interstate Highway System, public concern for the environment heightened. Decades of increased urbanization, industrial expansion, and resource exploitation was putting the continued health of the environment at risk. Following a congressional investigation into federal mismanagement of the country’s environmental resources, NEPA was signed into law by President Nixon on January 1, 1970.
In the Act, Congress stated that “it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, and other concerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable means and measures… to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.”
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Transect’s environmental due diligence platform makes it easy. With NEPA-focused data, regulations, and permits specific to your project, you can quickly identify things like prime farmlands, species habitat, wetlands, cultural resources, contaminated areas, and more with just a few clicks.