chapter  1
24 Pages

A statement of values and forty years of field trials

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) became political necessity in United States when the sites, sounds, and odors of environmental damage became all too apparent to the American public. Highlighted by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) and Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb (1968), and by gruesome photos of devastation, pressure built for government intervention. Some argued that these books, along with magazine articles and photos, were overdramatic exaggerations of reality (Maddox 1972). Yet historians and other scholars who have examined the impact of urban and industrial development during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the United States report major impacts on public health and on the water, air, and land environments. For example, Clay McShane (1994), David Stradling (1999), and John Cumbler (2005) paint national and regional portraits of the environmental insults of uncontrolled development and pollution. Andrew Hurley (1995), Martin Melosi (2001), and Joel Tarr (2003) focus on Gary (IN), the South, and Pittsburgh (PA), where industrial emissions and lack of infrastructure were particularly acute.