by Kathryn Courtney
The evolution of coastal environment policies from early 1900s to the present has the most apparent trends and discontinuities. Some of the trends obviously consist of protecting the wildlife and the environment. Some of the discontinuities involve what specifically the government wants to protect and if the actually implement the laws. With the gas industry booming, the government does not want to shut down or limit the gas industry’s efficiency. Significant relationships have evolved between the coastal U.S. population, the government and the environment. The government makes the laws and regulations for the environment. However, if there is a problem that the American population wants to address about the environment then the government might take action on that issue. Whether the issue is dealing with environmental laws that need further implementing.
I would divide the history since 1900s to the present day into four episodes. The first episode is the early 1900s to 1940s, which I would consider the first federal wildlife protection laws took place. The driving issues and concerns involved that nothing was established for the environment since the English settlers arrived and the Dust Bowl happen, which the severe dust storms affected the agriculture to become dry and unable to plant crops. The most important player in setting the environmental agenda during this time was President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He established the New Deal, which was his plan to restore the U.S. economy. The Soil Conservation Service that President Roosevelt created restored the soil and prevented further erosion and drought, which the Dust Bowl caused.
In the 1950s through the 1970s is where economic growth and development started to occur. The driving issues and concerns were to maintain and increase fish and wildlife legislation. The Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 helped protect, balance and promote recreational fishing and the wildlife population. The most important player in setting the environmental agenda during this time was President Lyndon B. Johnson. He took the time to pass several wildlife protection laws with Congress to enact his “Great Society” plan. The plan produced the Land and Water Conservation Fund of 1965, which provided funds to federal, state and local government to acquire certain land and water to develop and protect wildlife.
In the1980s from 2000, the environmental movement started to occur. Environmental laws started to develop even further. The driving issues and concern included that the environment laws established did not really protect the environment. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act approved in 1980 allowed stated to develop, revise and implement conservation plans and programs for nongame fish and wildlife. The most important players in setting the environmental agenda during this time were organizations that felt that the environmental laws were not being initiated.
The last episode involves 2000 to present day, which I would call the future of wildlife and the environment. The issues and concerns of this time period include private and public land disputes and coastal erosion. American citizens and organizations are the most important players. At this point in time, I feel that organizations are calling upon issues that have not been dealt with or issues that need more attention like the Coastal States Organization, which supports healthy coast and strong coastal communities. Overall, the evolution of environmental laws are expanding and building from previous laws formed.