ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.
Issue link: http://www.aspiremagazinebyengineers.com/i/306888
by M. Myint Lwin, Federal Highway Administration All photos: Shutterstock. 60 | ASPIRE , Fall 2008 F H WA F H WA The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is committed to preserving and enhancing the environment through research and stewardship. In recent years, FHWA and its partners have made substantial contributions to the environment and to the communities, through planning and programs that support sustainability, wetland banking, habitat restoration, historic preservation, air quality improvements, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, context-sensitive solutions, wildlife crossings, and public and tribal government involvement. In this and the next issue of ASPIRE,™ we will explore opportunities for research, development, deployment, and education for enhancing the natural and built environment. This article describes the accomplishments following the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). ENHANCING THE ENVIRONMENT—Part 1 National Environmental Policy Act In 1969, Congress passed the NEPA to establish a national policy for the environment, including the establishment of a Council on Environmental Quality. The purposes of NEPA were to • Declare a national policy that will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between people and the environment; • Promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere, and stimulate the health and welfare of people; • Enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the nation; and • Establish a Council on Environmental Quality. More specifically, Congress tasked the Federal Government to use all practicable means, consistent with other essential considerations of national policy, to improve and coordinate federal plans, functions, programs, and resources so that the nation may • Fulfill the responsibilities of each generation as trustee of the environment for succeeding generations; • Assure safe, healthful, productive, and aesthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings for all Americans; • Attain the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without degradation, risk to health or safety, or other undesirable and unintended consequences; • Preserve important historic, cultural, and natural aspects of our national heritage, and maintain, wherever possible, an environment that supports diversity and variety of individual choice; • Achieve a balance between population and resource use which will permit high standards of living and a wide sharing of life's amenities; and • Enhance the quality of renewable resources and approach the maximum attainable recycling of depletable resources. Congress also directed the President to assemble a Council on Environmental Quality in his Cabinet and to prepare an annual Environmental Quality Report to Congress. Signing the NEPA on New Year's Day of 1970, President Nixon remarked that he had become further convinced that the 1970s absolutely must be the years when America pays its debt to the past by reclaiming the purity of its air, its waters, and our living environment. Following the NEPA, the President introduced initiatives to improve water treatment facilities, establish national air quality standards and stringent guidelines FHWA_News_fall08.indd 60 9/16/08 12:57:07 PM