Environmental Protection Act 1970

The Environmental Act of 1970 is formed to create an environment protection authority to make provision with the duties, powers, and operations of that authority to make strong rules and regulations for the environment protection and other purposes related to it. The act of 1970 comprises 10 parts and is completed by the 5 schedules. It offers principles to follow for saving the environment including the processes for the precautionary principles.

In 1970, President Nixon approved for the formation of the National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA) that will advise the President on the environment-related matters. EPA will also review the impact of some strategies for the projects that may affect the environment. In 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught fire due to excessive pollution in its waters. The fire destroyed the steps taken for the control of water pollution. This incident forced the authorities to think about water pollution issues seriously for the first time. This event of the Cuyahoga River in Ohio led to the development of the EPA in 1970.

Consolidation of the Federal research, monitoring of the enforcement activities, protection of the human health and environment by safeguarding the air, water, and the ecosystem, and reduction of the pollution are some of the agendas of the Environmental Protection Act of 1970. The Act also banned a harmful carcinogenic pesticide called DDT that is extremely toxic to wildlife as well as human beings. EPA also set standards for the national air quality, anti-pollution, and auto emission. These preventive measures by the Act of 1970 led to the unbelievable production of the catalytic converter in the year 1973. Also, the Clean Air Act in the first 20 years after its amendment was successful in stopping 200000 premature deaths of the newborns by preventing and reducing the usage of sulfur dioxide, lead and other toxic air pollutants.

Environmental Protection Act

Purpose of the Environmental Protection Act of 1970

The purpose of the Environmental Protection Act of 1970 is to promote and support the management, enhancement and protection of the use of natural resources, and the creation of a better world for future generations. Following are the purpose of the Act of 1970:

  • Remediation, prevention, and mitigation of the impacts of the environment and should be included while making any decision or taking action against it.
  • Results of the inactions and actions of every person are responsible financially and economically for the harmful impacts of the environment
  • When there is any irreparable harm or serious threats to ecological integrity, reasonable measures for the protection of the environment should not be postponed due to a lack of certainty.
  • All the management, administrative and regulatory processes need to be responsive, effective, on time, fair and adaptive.
  • Another reason for the creation of this Act is to produce a legislative framework for the environmental protection that is set out in sections 1B to 1L.

The need for an amendment to the Environmental Protection Act of 1970

The current Environmental Protection Act was enacted in the year 1973. After that, a major change was made to the Act in the year 1988. Amendments are necessary to enable the GWNT and responsibility of the elements of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). All the proposed amendments to the Act will enhance the consistency and coherence across the legislation, depending upon the practices in Canada. The amended Act of 1970 resulted in improved enforcement, decision making, and implementation. This led to the development of a more sustainable environment by activating the GNWT to enact the post-devolution responsibilities of air, land, and water.

What are the Chief Elements of the Environmental Protection Act of 1970?

The proposed elements that were suggested in the Environmental Protection Act of 1970 are:

  1. A clear set of measures must be followed in the legislation for the protection of the environment. When the authorities are making decisions regarding economic, agricultural or infrastructure related, the Environment Protection Agency must ensure that the environment remains safeguarded.
  2. Provisions for the proper management of the sites and wastes that are contaminated should be included
  3. Appropriate recognition and acknowledgment should be given to both the Treaty and Aboriginal rights.
  4. Enforcement of the guidelines and standards for the protection of the environment should be maintained
  5. A chief board of authorities should be established for the prevention of the pollution and protection of the atmosphere.

Read our Featured Guide on – What is environmental protection?

Difference between the current and 1970’s Environmental Protection Act

The recent amendments to the environmental protection act offer consistency to other Legislations of the GNWT. In this recent amended Act, the Minister can create some standards and guidelines related to the protection of the environment including land, air, and water. The Amended Act will now allow exemptions from the authorities that are federally authorized under certain conditions and circumstances. This clause was not present in the 1970 one. The recent Act will unequivocally affirm and recognize the protection of the established and asserted Treaty and Aboriginal rights. This also includes commitments towards claiming any land and agreements for self-government.

Application of the Environmental Protection Act of 1970

Now let us go through the application of the Environmental Protection Act of 1970. They are as below.

  • This Act does not apply to the sources of radiation unless there is an environmental hazard or pollution has arisen or will arise due to radiation.
  • The Act applies to the territorial sea and their adjacent coasts
  • The Act also applies to any type of waste disposed into the rivers or the oceans

The Environmental Act of 1970 has thus shown that it is extremely important to promote the protection enhancement of the ecosystem and environment. The Act also ensures that all the decisions and guidelines are environmental value reflective, keep away from any potential delays, and eliminates all the future conflicts.

For more further detailed information, read our guides on the related topics –

  1. Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1986
  2. Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990