About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

16 Nat. Resources J. 243 (1976)
The National Environmental Policy Act: A View of Intent and Practice

handle is hein.journals/narj16 and id is 261 raw text is: THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT:
Policy performance usually falls short of policy promise. Creative
and innovative intentions boldly stated in the preambles of legisla-
tion become diluted and deferred in the practical chore of translating
what legislatures say into what government does. Causes for the per-
formance gap are legion, and any policy which aims at innovative
change is bound to face frustration in application. However, the
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)' is an exception
to the general rule that the targets and goals of the formulators of
policy ebb away as the implementors take over. In NEPA's case, the
objectives were expanded during implementation, and the impact of
the Act was enhanced beyond initial expectations.
Participants in the legislative process did not generally agree that
the passage of NEPA would have much positive impact upon public
policy. Contemporary documents reveal that the Nixon administra-
tion had aggressively opposed enactment of the measure throughout
the legislative process, and the President's signature on January 1,
1970, was a belated and lukewarm acquiescence to growing national
concern with the environment. Most members of Congress, more-
over, probably did not appreciate the potential scope and signif-
icance of the measure. The news media and environmental interest
groups displayed little appreciation for the portent of the legislation.
The New York Times of January 2, 1970, for example, barely noted
the new requirement for preparation of environmental impact state-
ments, and a headline referred to Senator Henry M. Jackson as
Sponsor of Pollution Control Bill.
In place of the attrition of commitment which usually occurs in
implementation, this article argues that the goals of NEPA have been
reinterpreted and in many ways extended beyond those intended by
the sponsors. The thousands of column inches of public praise or
*Deputy Staff Director for Legislation, Senate Comm. on Interior and Insular Affairs,
U.S. Congress.
**Associate Professor, Dep't. of Political Science and Director, Institute of Government
Research, Univ. of Ariz.
1. 42 U.S.C. § 4321 etseq., 83 Sat. 852 (1970).

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 3,000 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most