Closing the Environmental Decade

Archive Report

Assessment of the Seventies

Question of Sustaining 1970s Momentum

New Year's Day 1980 will mark the tenth anniversary of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which had as its principal objective the encouragement of a “productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment.” President Nixon made the NEPA signing ceremony on Jan. 1, 1970, his first official act of the new decade, saying 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.”1 Many Americans agreed that the environment deserved far greater attention, and on April 22, 1970, less than four months after Nixon inaugurated the environmental decade, thousands of people gathered in cities and communities ...

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