||The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a comprehensive and far reaching piece
of legislation that requires all federal agencies and applicable federal projects
to address the quality of the human environment and human health. These requirements
are in addition to addressing impacts to the natural environment and other activities
that may impact the environment. Evaluation, analysis, public disclosure and stakeholder
involvement are key components; that are requirements of the NEPA process. If the
federal project is in compliance with NEPA and its statures, all environmental documents
must address impacts to human health, if applicable.
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is both subtle and complex, the requirements
of the law is more extensive than complying with a legal requirement and creating
environmental documents. NEPA is both a law with regulations and a process and the
law of NEPA has become more complex since its passage. Its foundation is scientific,
social, economic, health based, etc. Congress did not envision an administrative law
like NEPA becoming as far reaching, with multi-faceted uses to ensure that the federal
agencies follow and comply with the processes of NEPA.
This paper will attempt to discuss the effects, affects and impacts that government
projects and activities might have on human health. These types of projects would
require an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact State (EIS) to
address the significant impacts that the federal government’s projects might have
on human health. It is the responsibility of the federal government to take into consideration
human health, when planning and implementing federal projects as required by NEPA.
These federal projects would be those that are financed by federal funds and/or require
a federal permit. From NEPA’s inception the creators of NEPA probably did not include
input from health professionals during the formulation of the law in the United States.
At that time, members of the health communities probably would not have been able
to see the applicability of NEPA to human health either.
Running Head: Addressing Effects, Affects, and Impacts to Human Health in Environmental
Documents – Responsibilities under NEPA