Making the Connection
Chapter 5: Environmental Networks and Transport: Air, Water and Ecosystems
INTRODUCTION The relationships between transportation and the environment have a very long history and have been the centerpiece of environmental legislation since at least the mid-twentieth century. Going far back in history, prior to motorized transport, the use of horse-drawn vehicles created sanitation conditions that dominated public health concerns (Melosi 2008) and motorized transport created its own set of environmental conflicts. The environmental review process assumed a central role in integrating transport and environment, since that was among its intended purposes, and is presented here first. Although security would potentially be incorporated into environmental review, it was not originally very pronounced, though since the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001, it has been addressed to a greater extent. Following the environmental process for transport, a few selected environmental themes are presented for air, water and ecology, focusing on how they change and shape transport. Environmental Impact Assessment as an Integrator of Environment and Transport The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) passed in 1969 became the backbone for the review of the compatibility of transportation projects with the environment incorporating the mandates of the Clean Air Act and other federal environmental legislation. The NEPA process with a full disclosure mandate gradually became integrated and incorporated into mainstream environmental legislation. For many years transport projects, primarily road construction, dominated federal environmental impact statements (EISs) prepared under NEPA. State and local EISs or environmental review processes have also encompassed transport projects. By the late 1990s transportation projects still accounted for a...
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