Chapter 9 Engineers and the Environment

Chapter 9 Engineers and the Environment - CIV 402:...

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CIV 402: Engineering Ethics Chapters Summary Chapter 9: Engineers & the Environment Main Ideas in this chapter: Environment law focuses on making the environment “clean.” There are various criteria for “clean.” A “progressive” attitude toward the environment goes beyond what the law requires, and this attitude can apply to corporate policy. MARK HOLTZAPPLE He is a professor of chemical engineering at Texas A & M University. He is a paradigm of an environmentally conscious engineer. He decided to commit his research agenda to developing energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies. 9.1 INTRODUCTION: It’s known that engineers have a complex relationship to the environment. On the one hand they have helped to produce some of the environmental problems that plague human society. On the other hand, engineers can design projects, products, and processes that reduce or eliminate these some threats to environmental integrity. 9.2 WHAT DO THE CODES SAY ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT? Many engineering codes make no reference to the environment at all, but increasingly they are adopting some environmental provisions. In 1977 when they include for the first time the statement that “Engineers should be committed to improve the environment to enhance the quality of life.” Since then the codes refer to the environment more. The codes environment statements fall into two categories, which they refer to as requirements and recommendations. 9.3 THE ENVIRONMENT IN LAW AND COURT DECISIONS: CLEANING UP THE ENVIRONMENT Most environmental laws are directed toward producing a cleaner environment. In 1969, congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act, which may will be the most important
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1 and influential law in history. One of its best known mandates is the environmental impact statement, which required of federal agencies when their decisions affect the environment. 9.4 CRITERIA FOR A “CLEAN” ENVIRONMENT: Most environmental laws focus on making the environment “clean” that is, free from various pollutants. Thus, we might be justified in reducing health protection for some people in exchange for net increase in overall utility. According to this criterion, the task of protecting the environment oscillates between two extremes. At one extreme, where the risk of causing harm to the public is grave, the imperative of protecting human health should be made primary. At the other extreme, where the risk to human health appears to be small, cost ـــ benefit considerations are more appropriate. We have three attitudes toward the environment, the first attitude is what we call the sub-minimal attitude, the second attitude is what we call the minimalist or compliance attitude, the third attitude is what we call the progressive attitude. 9.5 THE PROGRESSIVE ATTITUDE TOWARD THE ENVIRONMET
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This note was uploaded on 01/29/2012 for the course CIVIL 101 taught by Professor Seeds during the Spring '07 term at Abu Dhabi University.

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Chapter 9 Engineers and the Environment - CIV 402:...

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