Ethical Principles in U.S. Environmental Legislation. Andrew Brook Philosophy and Environmental Studies Bryn Mawr College and Carleton University. Overview.
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Philosophy and Environmental Studies
Bryn Mawr College and
positions and the annual budget for 2010 is
about $10.5b (that’s $10,500,000,000.00).
$10b in federal funds since it was created in 1986 and double that has been expended under order by parties responsible for hazardous contamination.
• We will look at some of the ethical values enshrined in these Acts.
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
SEC. 2. The purposes of this Act are: To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare or man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation; ….
Clearly the fundamental value animating ESA is biodiversity. The greatest possible variety of living creatures is a Good Thing, such a good thing that it is to be promoted even if the costs not just to government but also to individuals are high.
Our five assessment scales,
That leaves the last of the five scales. How do the values of the ESA relate to human-centred values, liberty and equality, for example? Here the ESA is remarkable.
Comparing NEPA and ESA briefly, notice that NEPA goes farther than the ESA in one respect: It specifically mentions the biosphere as a whole (this should have given in global scope). Not for nothing is the NEPA considered a model.
To close, let us briefly set the values enshrined in EPA Acts against some environmental values that have become prominent more recently.
How do these values sit vis-à-vis the Acts that we have considered?
• Take-home messages? Two: