Legislative Victories - 1970s

1971 - Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act - This legislation granted 44 mil¬lion acres of federal land and a $1 million cash settlement to Alaskan natives, paving the way for the construction of the 800-mile Alyeska pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to the Gulf of Alaska. It also set the stage for the 1980 Alaska Lands Act by requiring the secretary of the interior to set aside over 80 million acres of Alaskan lands for Congress to designate as national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and wild and scenic rivers.

1972 - Coastal Zone Management Act - This act was designed to "preserve, protect, develop, and, where possible, to restore or enhance the resources of the nation's coastal zone."

1972 - Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments (Clean Water Act)With this legislation, the U.S. was provided with a new, comprehensive, and forceful strategy not only to stop the pollution but also to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of lakes, streams, and surface waters. Under Section 404 of this act, the Army Corps of Engineers was given responsibility to oversee any discharge of dredged or fill material in navigable waters. (After a 1975 NWF lawsuit, this jurisdiction was extended to include wetlands and headwaters.)

1972 - Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act (Oceans Dumping Act) - This act prevents and limits the dumping of specific waste materials at sea and authorizes the secretary of commerce, with presidential approval, to designate marine sanctuaries and preserve or restore these areas for their conservation, ecological, or esthetic values.

1972 - Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act - EPA was given much greater authority to control pesticide use, including a two-category system of registering pesticides as intended for "general" or "restricted" use, with the latter to be used only by certified applicators.

1972 - Marine Mammals Protection Act - This act calls upon the federal gov¬ernment to establish a comprehensive, coordinated program to conserve ocean mammals and their products. It extends protection to individual popu¬lation stocks as well as species or subspecies of marine mammals.

1973 - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) - Signed by 80 nations, including the United States, the convention established a system of import/export regulation to prevent the commercial overexploitation of endangered or threatened plants and animals. Different levels of trade regulations were provided depending on the threatened status of any particular species and the effect trade would have on that species.

1973 - Endangered Species ActThis act created the endangered and threatened categories for species and extended the responsibility for conserving species to all federal agencies. The secretary of the interior was made re¬sponsible for updating and overseeing these efforts. In addition, the secretary was charged with insuring that federal activities neither jeopardize the con¬tinued existence of, nor destroy or modify critical habitat for, endangered or threatened species. With this act the United States ratified the CITES Treaty.

1974 - Sikes Act Extension - With this act, the mandate to develop, maintain, and coordinate conservation programs for wildlife, fish, and game on military reservations is extended to include national forests, and public lands administered by the BLM and the Atomic Energy Commission. Such programs must include specific projects to improve habitat and must provide protection to threatened or endangered species.

1974 - Forest and Rangelands Renewable Resources Planning Act - To facilitate long range planning for the use of renewable resources within the National Forest Systems, five-year plans must be prepared to outline the protection, management, and development of land in the system.

1976 - Federal Land Policy and Management Act (BLM Organic Act) - Signifying a major policy change, this act established management standards for federal lands under the jurisdiction of the BLM. The secretary of the interior is required to develop and maintain "land use plans which provide by tracts or areas for the use of public land" and for the protection of fish and wildlife habitat. In addition, "regulations and plans for the protection of public land areas of critical environmental concern" must be promptly developed.

1976 - Toxic Substances Control Act - Designed to prevent environmental degradation, this law directed EPA to require testing of all existing and new substances which may present an unreasonable risk to public health or the environment and, if necessary, to step in with regulations.

1976 - National Forest Management Act - An amendment to the 1974 Forest and Rangelands Renewable Resources Planning Act, this act prohibits clear-cutting in national forests and imposes detailed standards on Forest Service management. Public participation is required at every significant stage of administrative action.

1977 - Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act - This act prohibits surface mining on unsuitable land and sets strict standards for reclamation and restoration of land that is suitable for surface mining.

1979 - Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act - Eight new wilderness areas, covering almost 2 million acres, were added to the National Park System. Major additions were also made to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System and the National Scenic Trails System.

1978 - National Parks and Recreation Act (Omnibus Parks Act) - The law established a fishery conservation zone in ocean waters extending from the 3-mile state jurisdiction to the 200-mile federal jurisdiction and created eight regional councils to manage fish populations within the zone to prevent overfishing.

 

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