What Is The Clean Water Act And How Did It Come To Be?

This post is coming our good friend Ben Bronston, an environmentalist and lawyer in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since his town is on the water, he’s been advocate of keeping the water clean in his city. Check out his website: https://361lawyers.com/

The Clean Water Act (or CWA) is something of an amalgamation of multiple pieces of legislation involving the research and control of water pollution.The first CWA, called the Federal Water Pollution Act, was passed in 1948. In 1972 it was completely rewritten via legislation entitled Federal Water Pollution Act Amendment of 1972.

The major amendments to the Act are the Clean Water Act of 1977, and the Water Quality Act of 1987. It has not been directly amended since then, though there has been other legislation pertaining to water quality signed into law. Some notable ones are the Great Lakes Critical Programs Act of 1990 (a joint agreement between the United States and Canada), and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Newer laws that contradict parts of the Clean Water Act are generally judged to supersede the CWA, though not always depending on the situation and the judges involved.

The 1972 CWA was put into place in response to public outcry caused by an event in 1969. The Cuyahoga River, which flows into Lake Erie literally caught fire in that year, due to the level of toxic waste that had been dumped. While this had happened several times since 1868 (13, to be precise), the fire in 1969 was large and destructive enough for the public to demand the U.S. Government did something.

This outcry is why the 1972 CWA specifically makes it illegal to dump waste into lakes and rivers. It also gave the EPA the power to set regulatory standards.

The Clean Water Act has been largely successful in its goals. Lake Erie is no longer so toxic it can catch fire, and that’s just one example. Unfortunately, several laws involving water pollution have been rolled back in recent years, and several others are rarely enforced. These facts make it difficult to gauge how much effect the current CWA actually has.

What Is The History And Purpose Of The Clean Air Act?

Signed into law in 1963 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Clean Air Act is perhaps the most comprehensive air quality laws throughout the world. It was one of the first of such laws passed in the United States and has been the bedrock of many environmental laws since.

It’s not the very first, however. The first law that pertained to air pollution was the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955. Contrary to the name, it wasn’t about controlling air pollution. Instead, it devoted federal funds to the study of air pollution and its effects.

That said, it was the first legislation about actually controlling air pollution. This law remains in effect today, though it’s been amended multiple times to adjust the changing needs of environmental protection. The last time it was modified was in 1990.

The 1990 amendment, formulated in large part by William K. Reilly who was the EPA president at the time, did a number of things. At the time, it was discovered that the ozone layer was beginning to fall apart. Since that layer protects the Earth from UV rays (among other things), it was important to study ways to repair the problem. It also targeted acid rain, vehicle emissions, toxic air pollution, and set several federal standards for other types of gasoline emissions.

It also covered noise pollution, as it had been discovered that the problem could compound other environmental issues negatively. And perhaps most important, it allowed for civil suits. That is, it allowed citizens to sue companies in order to enforce federal statuettes. This gave citizens the opportunity to receive justice should a nearby business dump toxic waste or other harmful chemicals.

The Clean Air Act has not been updated since 1990, and many scientists are showing concern about the state of planet Earth at this point. Climate change is becoming a growing problem, and the act is due for another amendment. However, while there have been multiple amendments introduced, none of them have made it past committee let alone actually been voted on.

The National Environmental Policy Act Was The Start Of Federal Environmental Policy

The National Environmental Policy Act was first enacted in 1970 and was the first federal law designed to help protect the environment. The Act established the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. In the years leading up to the passage of the Act, many Americans were growing concerned about pollution and the impact on the environment, especially to those that live on Long Island. This Act directed all branches of the federal government to consider the impact to the environment before implementing any new legislation or starting any major federal actions.

Requirements under this Act are invoked when buildings, airports, highways, military complexes, parkland purchases or any other type of federal activity is proposed. An Environmental Impact Statement and an Environmental Assessment must be completed analyzing all courses of action for the impact on the environment.

Prior to this legislation, several bills designed to protect the environment had been presented to Congress. None had passed until a major oil spill occurred outside of Santa Barbara, CA. There were more than 3,500 birds killed and the damage to the environment was staggering. Other sea animals such as elephant seals and sea lions were also killed because of the oil spill and the impact on commercial fishing and tourism was devastating.

This oil spill, the 3rd largest in US history, was not the only reason for the National Environmental Policy Act, but is was certainly a considerable influence.

The Act does not specifically mandate environmental protections. Instead, it sets out environmental policy for the federal government and requires that an environmental analysis takes place when proposing any major federal project.

The end result of this Act is that it forces federal government agencies to factor in the impact to the environment when they are considering any major construction projects. The weakness of this Act is that it does not require federal agencies to reject a project, only to note the environmental impacts.

Discover The National Park Service Act

The National Park Service Act is one that a lot of people take advantage of each year. This is an act that was signed into law by Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and this is the same piece of legislation that would start the National Park Service as well as the Department of the Interior. So this is an act that did several things for people and it is the reason why there are national parks in place for everyone in America to enjoy.

The lands the act protects are the land that is inside of the national parks as deemed by the Department of Interior Secretary and approved by the President. These parks include Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and a host of other parks as well.

The punishments that are brought forth by the act have the same type of penalties that are brought forth under the penal code of the United States of America. So this is going to make it easier for people to know what kind of changes are made to the criminal law. Now something else that is interesting is the act does allow some parks to have their own local area type of laws in place as well to help prevent specific damage. For example, Dune Grass in Michigan is protected, but that would not apply in Yellowstone.

The National Park Service Act is an act that was passed by the United States House of Representatives in 1915, but it is an act that was put in place to protect the beauty that we all have come to love in the National Parks. These parks have become the envy of a lot of countries and it is easy to see why when people see just how beautiful the National Park System in America is.

Tips For Hiking In A Group

Sometimes you need a friendly group activity to keep you motivated and energized. If you’re not an avid hiker or you prefer to be around others more often than not, then group hiking might be your best option for a great bit of exercise and quick pick-me-up that will last days. The energy you accumulate from this kind of activity endures for a while. If you do decide to stick with a group, however, there are a few things you should keep in mind while you’re out on the trail.

First and most importantly, be sure to pace yourself to the slowest person in your group. Don’t show any aggravation, and try to be patient. If you’re the slowest member of the party, don’t let your speed worry you too much. Even though everyone will have their own natural rhythm, it’s important to hike together as a group if you start as a group. Splitting up increases the chance that a person or pair get lost, and that can create big problems later on especially if someone slips, falls or trips and suffers a head injury

On the other hand, if your group starts out too big–more than ten people is a good indicator–then try splitting down the middle. Try not to start at the same time, or you’ll still spend most of the day trying to keep up with the other group. It’s not a competition.

Second, know where to go and how far you want to travel beforehand. You don’t need to follow your plan to the letter, but making one will help you get a general idea of what different people want out of the hike and what everyone thinks they can handle individually. If one person is only interested in walking a mile-long path while another desires a 22-mile vertical rock climb up the tallest mountain in the land, then perhaps it’s time for these plans to diverge.

If you’re planning a longer hike with a bigger number of people, then try designating a leader and a sweeper. Your leader should be a fit hiker who knows the lay of the land; someone who is comfortable setting the pace for others to follow while paying attention to the needs of the people behind. Is it time for a rest? He or she needs to be comfortable providing that guidance when others can’t or won’t speak up.

The sweeper is the person who trails behind the group to make sure no one ventures off on their own because they couldn’t keep up the place. This person also needs to be fit in order to keep up even in the worst of circumstances.

When in a group, it’s important to decide when and where you’ll want to stop ahead of time. Even though you might take a number of short breathers in between these stops, it’s good for other members of the group to know where you intend to be during each portion of the hike. It’s smart to hand out maps and place markers where trails intersect, or where there are sources of water present. These are the best places to break.

No matter what, it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep everyone else safe. Don’t go off on your own or get fed up and leave others behind, take note of everyone else’s limitations in comparison with your own, and maintain patience with other hikers when you’re a part of their group.

Tips For Hiking Solo

Hiking can be a fun activity either alone or with a partner, but sometimes you just need the time to yourself. It doesn’t help that having someone else along means you either have to keep up with someone’s faster pace, or fall back so they can keep up with yours. Both instances are annoying. The problem is, hiking alone can be a dangerous affair no matter where you go or how difficult the elevation. There are steps you can take to mitigate the dangers, and so here are a few tips for hiking solo whether you’re a beginner or a pro.

First, be sure to bring a backpack with a few essentials. What you bring mostly depends on where you decide to go. If you’re hiking someplace a little bit warmer, bring extra sunscreen. If it’s cold, then bring a few extra layers just in case. Stock up on more water than you really need. If you roll an ankle and can’t move, you might be stuck for a while–especially if there’s no cell reception. If you’re hiking a path that isn’t well-populated, then you might even want to bring another pair of clothes, extra first aid materials, food and water.

One of the easiest ways to avoid more trouble than you can handle is by taking the well-travelled path. The more people are running around, the more help you’ll have when you need it. If your phone doesn’t get service, someone else’s might. There are plenty of people who hike the same trails every day, and they meet plenty of people who need a helping hand once in awhile. They’re used to it, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Speaking of well-travelled paths, make sure you’ve been on it before. A solo hike isn’t the time to find a new place for adventure, especially if it’s a longer hike. If you’re going on a two mile trek in the middle of a big city, then go for it. If not, then proceed with caution. Another thing to keep in mind are any dangerous animals or poisonous leaves in the area. Do your research and know the area as best you can.

Make sure people know where you are at all times. Tell your friends or family when you’re planning a hike. If you have a routine, make sure someone is familiar with it. If there’s a ranger station, then sign in. These stations help others find you if you go missing. Better safe than sorry, so don’t be lazy and skip this step if you’re going it alone.

Don’t forget to check the weather before you leave home, because it can greatly impact how strenuous a hike might be. The mountains will always be there in the future, but the storms go away in a day or two. If it’s a hundred degrees outside and the sun is blaring, you might want to sit this one out. Even if your body can handle the strain normally, any injury can pummel you to the ground quickly when complemented by extreme weather conditions.

No matter what you do, plan for the worst and be careful!

Learn About The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 is an act of legislation that was passed with the intention of preserving historical as well as archaeological sites throughout the United States of America. The Act helped establish the National Registry of Historic Places, the list of National Historic Landmarks and the State Historic Preservation Office. The legislation was signed into law on October 15, 1966.

The National Registry of Historic Places, which is ran by the National Park Service is the country’s official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and other areas worthy of being preserved for future generations. Here is where they are given the distinction of being “historic properties.” The official process of being considered an historic property is called the Section 106 review process. The review process is led by the Advisory Council and helps develop policies and guidelines. To be considered they must mean one of our criteria; a historical event, a historical person, historical design/construction or information potential (i.e archaeological dig site).  To achieve this status does not prevent a site from being damaged or deconstructed but does provide the opportunity for grants, loans and tax incentives. The Section 106 review process takes into consideration the benefits of making something an historic place as well as any adverse effects.

The purpose of  the preservation act is to help retain diverse elements of the past, perpetuate the distinctiveness of identities of places, involve amateur in landscape care, and to practice conversation approach to environmental change. The National Historic Preservation Act has had a major benefit to the fields of archaeology, history, and historical architecture. No longer do these fields have to be in the world of academia. They have formed what is known as a culture resource management team and help others classify their findings so they can be submitted into the National Register of Historic Places.

The Antiquities Act Of 1906 Helps Protect Certain National Treasures

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Act provides authority to the President of the United States to designate federal lands as national monuments. This is done by Presidential proclamation and is to be used to protect significant cultural, natural, and scientific features. Since its passage, 16 Presidents have used the Act more than 100 times.

The Act was first passed to help stop people from looting archaeological sites and taking Indian artifacts. Since the passage of the Act, Presidents have used it to protect public land from mineral exploitation or commercial development by turning them into national monuments.

After signing the Act, President Roosevelt created 18 monuments including Olympic National Park and the Grand Canyon. The monuments created by President Roosevelt totaled more than one million acres.

According to the Act, a President can only create a national monument from land that is already owned by the federal government. The Act does not typically change the land use. If the federal land already has leases for ranching, mining or logging or drilling, these can continue, however, new leases are usually denied.

According to legal scholars, the Act does not provide a President the ability to revoke designation, but they may change the boundaries. It is possible for Congress to create a national park from a national monument and this has happened many times.

Protecting national monuments is important to most Americans. According to a Harvard study, 93 percent of those who responded felt that public lands, historical sites, and national parks should be protected.

The Act has been modified a few times, twice reducing Presidential powers. It was also amended in 1950 to require Congress to agree before national monuments could be created or enlarged in Wyoming. This was as a result of the unpopular creation of Jackson Hole National Monument.

A Win For The Environment – The Omnibus Public Land Management Act Of 2009

In 2009, the President of the United States, Barack Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act. Considered one of the most significant pieces of conversation legislation in years, this Act was a result of significant bipartisan efforts to address environmental concerns and designate more than two million acres of wilderness. The Act also added 2,800 miles of National Trails, more than 1,000 miles of Scenic and Wild Rivers, and 330,000 acres of National Conservation Areas. It also authorized the Forest Landscape Conservation Service and included measures designed to improve our coasts, oceans, the Great Lakes, and other water resources.

The Act designate more than 1,000 miles of rivers in seven states as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Systems. This designation helps preserve certain free-flowing rivers which possess outstanding scenic, environmental and recreational features.

The Act designated more than two million acres as wilderness areas. These newly designated wilderness areas cover nine different states. This designation helps protect the Nation’s best wildlife habitats and most pristine lands and island.

The Act also created the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument. This designation will help protect and preserve the most significant Early Permian track sites in the world.

More than 2,800 miles of trails were added to the National Trails System under this Act. New national trails were created in the Mid-Atlantic, New England, the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest.

More than 33,000 acres were added as National Conservation Areas. This acreage covers Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado.

One of the major results of the Omnibus Act of 2009 is the protections provided to our oceans and waterways. The Act authorizes certain federal research programs. These programs will study the oceans, the Great Lakes, and other water resources to expand our knowledge of acidification of the oceans and of our ocean and coastal ecosystems. This research will provide critical data to help us understand the impact of climate change on our water resources.

Discover How Mexico, Canada And The U.S.A. Coordinated To Form A Wilderness Conservation Act

The trilateral committee was enacted in 1996 to preserve the best areas of wilderness throughout the North American continent which expands through Canada, the USA, and Mexico. The committee works with organizations throughout all three countries to protect ecosystems, plants, wildlife, and biological diversity. Members of the delegation meet annually to work out strategies that serve their purpose and to enforce the law.

During the committee’s discussions, they try to work together to design strategies and timetables for accomplishing worthwhile goals. Some of the areas of protection they try to provide are the trade of endangered species, Fauna and Flora, migratory birds, law enforcement and other conservation concerns. They also discuss ideas to help manage the issues caused by climate change and other similar issues in an effort to preserve the wildlife in its natural state.

Between the three countries, there are some small variations in the definition of wilderness but essentially they all agree that it is Coastal, Marine, and Land in its most naturally preserved state or areas that could be returned to their natural state. These lands are considered to have value on their own without any imprint by man.

The three countries share a continent that has a huge portion of its land that is interconnected and resources of untouched wilderness. These lands have marine and ocean life, freshwater systems, mountain ranges, a vast array of wildlife species, mountain ranges, and forest. Working together helps to increase the efforts of preserving these natural resources. Many consider that the wilderness areas of these countries are representative of elements that are irreplaceable to the heritage of the continent and the individual countries involved.

The Trilateral Committee is considered a big success and has made great headway toward protecting many areas that were not protected. It is believed they can play a major role in keeping these wilderness areas largely untouched by the imprints of man.