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Environmental assessment integrates consideration of the environment within decision making that historically valued only financial and technical feasibility and property rights. Because the world's supply of natural resources is diminishing while the human population and its needs for those natural resources is increasing, most developed countries have established laws requiring some examination of a desired action's impact on the environment. Attention to environmental consequences before a project is implemented allows the public, and governmental agencies charged with the responsibility of ensuring environmental protection, a voice in decision making about the use of finite natural capital. As such, environmental assessment becomes an important tool in achieving the goal of sustainable development.

Environmental assessment does not necessarily stop the depletion of natural resources, but it is an extremely ...

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