Land Title: Environmental Science: Systems and Solutions, Fourth Edition Authors: Michael I. McKinney, Robert M. Schoch, Logan Yonavjak
Quick Jump to Chapter Header: EnviroNet Learning
Selected Pieces of U.S. Environmental Legislation

Railroad Acts of the 1850s and 1860s. Large tracts of land granted to railroad companies to encourage the building of railroad lines across the country.
The Pacific Railway Act, July 1, 1862
Qualified settlers in the Great Plains area and elsewhere would receive 160 acres (64.75 hectares) free of charge.
Homestead Act of 1862
Prospectors and mining companies can stake claims and purchase ("patent") public lands for very small fees. The act was passed to encourage the exploration and development of the western frontier.
Mining Law of 1872
Gave 160 acres (64.75 hectares) of western lands away to anyone who would plant trees on 40 of the acres (16.2 hectares).
Timber Culture Act of 1873
The president can establish forest reserves, later to be national forests, on public lands.
Forest Reserve Act of 1891
Clarified the concept of forest reserves-uses of the forest include preservation, watershed protection, and timber growing-and authorized sales of timber.
Forest Management Act of 1897
Established the legal basis for banning the pollution of navigable waterways.
River and Harbor Act of 1899
Interstate shipment of game killed in violation of state laws is a federal offense.
Lacey Act of 1900
Establishes the Bureau of Reclamation in the Department of the Interior.
Reclamation (Newlands) Act of 1902
Areas of scientific and/or historic interest on federal lands can be reserved as national monuments.
Antiquities Act of 1906
Purchases of forested land at the headwaters of navigable streams to be included in the National Forest System-This allowed the founding of national forests in the East.
Weeks Act of 1911
Authorized investigations of water pollution related to disease and public health.
Public Health Service Act of 1912
Established the National Park Service.
National Park Service Act of 1916
Imposed restrictions on the hunting of migratory birds.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918
Authorized Federal Power Commission to issue licenses for hydropower.
Federal Water Power Act of 1920
Prohibited oil discharges in coastal waters.
Oil Pollution Act of 1924
Extended federal ability to buy lands for National Forest System; encouraged cooperation among federal, state, and private sectors in forest management.
Clarke-McNary Act of 1924
Authorized federal forestry research program.
McSweeney-McNary Act of 1928
Gave the Secretary of the Interior power to create grazing districts, issue grazing permits, and collect grazing fees on public domain lands.
Taylor Grazing Act of 1934
Established the Soil Conservation Service in the Department of Agriculture; erosion control measures addressed.
Soil Conservation Act of 1935
Established national flood prevention policy.
Omnibus Flood Control Act of 1936
Federal funds for wildlife protection made available to states.
Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (Pittman-Robertson) Act of 1937
Quality protection of consumer foods, drugs, and cosmetics.
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938
Regulated biological products.
Public Health Services Act of 1944
Protection of farmers and others from dangerous and ineffective pesticides. Amended in the 1970s.
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act of 1947
Gary Wills analyzes the impact of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946
Atomic Energy Act of 1946
Regulation of waste disposal.
Federal Water Pollution Control Law of 1948
Regulation of the shipment of toxic substances.
Dangerous Cargo Act of 1952
Development of nuclear power generation; regulation of radioactive materials.
Atomic Energy Act of 1954
Federal grants for water treatment plants.
Water Pollution Control Act of 1956
Limited the liability of both the owner of a nuclear power plant and the government to a fraction of the potential claims in case of a major accident.
Price-Anderson Act of 1957
Regulation of poultry food and feed, and color additives and pesticide residues in poultry.
Poultry Products Inspection Act of 1957
Definition of purpose of national forests includes nonmaterial benefits.
Multiple Use and Sustained Yield Act of 1960
Requirements for labeling consumer products containing hazardous substances.
Federal Hazardous Substances Act of 1960
Federal hearings on air quality.
Clean Air Act of 1963
National Wilderness Preservation System established.
Wilderness Act of 1964
Restoration and maintenance of the country's waters. Amendments added in 1972 and 1977; programs reauthorized in 1986.
Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act) of 1964
Money made available for local, state, and federal acquisition of open space and parkland.
Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965
Established minimum federal guidelines for solid waste disposal.
Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965
Preservation of historic localities.
National Historic Preservation Act of 1966
Federal government involved in rare species and habitat protection.
Endangered Species Act of 1966
Provided for humane transport and care of cats, dogs, and certain other animals.
Animal Welfare Act of 1966
Regulation of animal food and feed, and color additives and pesticide residues in meat.
Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1967
Identification of areas of scenic beauty for recreation and preservation.
National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968
A complement to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.
National Trails System Act of 1968
Protection and enhancement of the quality of the nation's air resources. Amendments added in 1977 and 1990.
Clean Air Act of 1970
Signed January 1, 1970. Established policies to prevent damage to the environment and to promote the health and welfare of humans; environmental impact statements required for large construction projects regulated, undertaken, or funded by the federal government. The act set up the Council on Environmental Quality as an independent agency in the White House. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was also established by presidential order in 1970.
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969/1970
Amendment to the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965; federal guidelines for waste disposal extended; waste minimization, recycling encouraged.
Resource Recovery Act of 1970
Regulation of poultry food and feed, and color additives and pesticide residues in eggs.
Egg Products Inspection Act of 1970
Promotion of safe working conditions for all people.
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
Special packaging of certain household substances required to protect children from injury by poisoning.
Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970
Federal government can nominate lands of national interest for permanent protection.
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971
Registration of pesticides using data from tests; registration not permitted if there is an unreasonable adverse risk to the environment.
Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act of 1972
Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972; Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972; Ports and Waterways Safety Act of 1972. These acts help protect and regulate the oceans, coastal areas, and waterways.
Ocean Dumping Act of 1972
For the protection, conservation, and encouragement of international research on marine mammals; established the Marine Mammal Commission.
Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972
Protection of consumers from hazardous products that pose an unreasonable risk of injury or illness.
Consumer Product Safety Act of 1972
Federal involvement in protecting endangered species.
Endangered Species Act of 1973
Regulation of lead paint in toys, cooking and eating utensils, and other items.
Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act of 1973
Ensures minimum standards and regulates contaminants in public water supplies.
Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974
Protection against risks involved in the transportation of hazardous materials.
Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1974.
Regulation of toxic substances exclusive of radioactive materials, pesticides, drugs, food additives, alcohol, and tobacco, which are regulated under other laws.
Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976
Multiple-use concept of public lands under the control of the Bureau of Land Management.
Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976
"Cradle to grave" tracking system established as a way to attempt to control the disposal of hazardous waste; states encouraged to develop comprehensive solid waste management plans that may include waste minimization, resource recovery such as recycling, and conservation; government agencies directed or encouraged to buy products with a recycled content.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976
Protection against noise levels that pose a jeopardy to health or human welfare.
Noise Control Act of 1972
Regulates surface mining and encourages reclamation of mined land.
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977
Safety standards in mines.
Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977
Control of hazards from tailings sites.
Uranium Mill Tailings Act of 1978
Regulation of pipeline transportation of hazardous liquids.
Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act of 1979
A 1980 act to clean up hazardous waste sites and spills; Superfund established for this purpose. The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) amended CERCLA in 1986.
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA/Superfund) of 1980
Protected 104 million acres (42 million hectares).
Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980
Nongame species protected.
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1980
Regulation of disposal of wastes that are contaminated with low levels of radioactivity.
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980
Helps to defray the costs of dealing with asbestos in schools.
Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Act of 1984
New cleanup standards for hazardous waste sites established, permanent cleanup emphasized, regulations of underground storage tanks.
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986
Strengthens EPA regulations concerning asbestos.
Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986
Requires annual Toxics Release Inventory by major industries.
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986
Includes requirements to control the emission of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which cause acid rain, as well as addressing the topics of urban smog, automobile emissions, toxic air pollution, and depletion of the ozone layer; selling and trading of air pollution credits/allowances established.
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990
Established a nonprofit national environmental education and training foundation and authorized the funding of educational programs especially for elementary and secondary school children.
National Environmental Education Act of 1990
$155 billion transportation bill that encourages use of mass transit but gives states flexibility in how to spend federal transportation money.
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991
Protected 1000 miles (1600 km) of rivers in Michigan from development.
Federal Michigan Scenic Rivers Act of 1992
Implemented stricter safety standards, especially for infants and children, and a complete reassessment of all existing pesticide tolerances.
Food Quality Protection Act of 1996
To phase out the use of mercury in batteries and to provide for the efficient and cost-effective collection and recycling or proper disposal of used sugar cadmium batteries, small sealed lead-acid batteries, and certain other batteries.
Mercury-containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act of 1996
Established the United States Commission on Ocean Policy, a working group to develop the National Oceans Report.
Oceans Act of 2000
Funded assessment and clean-up of brownfields, enhancement of state and tribal response programs, and clarified CERCLA liability protections.
Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002
"A bill to amend the Clean Air Act to reduce air pollution through expansion of cap-and-trade programs, to provide an alternative regulatory classification for units subject to the cap and trade program, and for other purposes." (Not yet passed into law)
Clear Skies Act of 2003
To reduce losses to properties for which repetitive flood insurance claim payments have been made.
The Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004
To thin overstocked forest stands, clear away vegetation and trees to create firebreaks, provide funding and guidance to reduce or eliminate hazardous fuels in National Forests, improve forest firefighting, and research new methods to halt destructive insects. (Not yet passed into law)
Healthy Forests Initiative of 2003
Cover Thumbnail
Link: Jones and Bartlett Publishers