Well, according to Fred Krupp of the Environmental Defense Fund, a comprehensive global warming bill that sets mandatory limits on US greenhouse gas emissions (passed by the House in June) is “…the most important environment or energy legislation in our nation’s history.”
In my opinion, I would say that the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act are/were equally important, considering the need at the time.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act was also extremely important in stopping the unregulated dumping of toxic waste.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (the “Climate Change Bill”) – legislation ordering:
-major industrial sources of greenhouse gases to establish cap-and-trade programs that will cut emissions by 17% by 2020
-utilities to supply 15% of their power sales from renewable energy by 2020
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is a U.S. national policy for the protection of the environment. Although this law only applies to federal agencies and actions involving discretion of federal agencies, it is one of the most comprehensive environmental laws in existence because it requires that all potential impacts to the environment must be evaluated before any action can be taken. Impacts to water, air, soil, wildlife, energy, socioeconomic conditions, etc… are fair game in this evaluation. Although many view NEPA as just a procedural requirement and not doing much to improving the environment, it is still a very important piece of legislation because, since the inception of NEPA, the environment has become an important factor in guiding federal actions, on par with economic and social factors. Without it, the government may still be building dams in sensitive habitats or something like that.
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