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The Life Cycles of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency1970 - 2035$
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James K. Conant and Peter J. Balint

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190203702

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190203702.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 June 2021

The Council on Environmental Quality: 1970–2010

The Council on Environmental Quality: 1970–2010

4 (p.52) The Council on Environmental Quality: 1970–2010
The Life Cycles of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency

James K. Conant

Peter J. Balint

Oxford University Press

On January 1, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) into law. In this Act, Congress articulated for the first time a national policy on the environment. The goals of the Act included the promotion of “efforts to prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man.” Congress also created the Council on Environment Quality (CEQ) to assist the president with the implementation of the new law and placed the new agency in the Executive Office of the President. The CEQ was to consist of three members, and it was to be supported by a professional staff selected by the CEQ. On January 29, 1970, President Nixon nominated Russell E. Train to serve as the chair of the CEQ; he also nominated Robert Cahn and Gordon J. F. MacDonald to serve as the other members of the CEQ. One week later, on February 6, 1970, the Senate confirmed the nominations, which officially allowed the new agency to open for business. In addition to ongoing consultations with the president and his advisors, Chairman Train and the other two members of the CEQ had to assemble a professional and administrative staff. In August of 1970, only six months after the CEQ officially opened for business, President Nixon submitted The First Annual Report of The Council on Environmental Quality to Congress. The front section of the Report was “The President’s Message to Congress.” The remainder of the Report, developed by the CEQ, contained the first assessment of the nation’s environment, a list of the underlying causes and effects of existing environmental problems, a review of the national government’s efforts to address those problems over the previous two decades, and recommendations for improving environmental quality and protecting human health that involved changes in policy and administrative structure. It is especially noteworthy that the Report contained a section on the causes and effects of climate change, as well as recommendations for addressing this critical problem. In this chapter, we describe and attempt to explain what has happened to the CEQ over the forty-year period from 1970 to 2010.

Keywords:   Allocational rival, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, The First Annual Report of The Council on Environmental Quality, partisan political

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