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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an independent executive agency of the
United States federal government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or Ameri ...
tasked with
environmental protection Environmental protection is the practice of protecting the natural environment The natural environment or natural world encompasses all and non-living things occurring , meaning in this case not . The term is most often applied to the or s ...
matters. President
Richard Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power o ...

Richard Nixon
proposed the establishment of EPA on July 9, 1970; it began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an
executive order In the United States, an executive order is a directive Directive may refer to: * Directive (European Union), a legislative act of the European Union * Directive (programming), a computer language construct that specifies how a compiler shou ...
. The order establishing the EPA was ratified by committee hearings in the House and Senate. The agency is led by its
administrator Administrator or admin may refer to: Job roles Computing and internet * Database administrator, a person who is responsible for the environmental aspects of a database * Forum administrator, one who oversees discussions on an Internet forum * ...
, who is appointed by the
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...

president
and approved by the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
. The current administrator is Michael S. Regan. The EPA is not a
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
department, but the administrator is normally given
cabinet rank The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is a group of the most senior ministers of the crown Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Commonwealth realms to describe a minister of the reigning sovereign or viceroy A vi ...
. The EPA has its headquarters in
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscaped ...
, regional offices for each of the agency's ten
regions In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the wor ...
, and 27 laboratories. The agency conducts
environmental assessment Environmental assessment (EA) is the assessment of the environmental consequences of a plan, policy, program, or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action. In this context, the term "environmental impact asse ...
, research, and education. It has the responsibility of maintaining and enforcing national standards under a variety of environmental laws, in consultation with state, tribal, and local governments. It delegates some permitting, monitoring, and enforcement responsibility to
U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state ...
s and the
federally recognized tribes This is a list of federally recognized tribes in the contiguous United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, ...
. EPA enforcement powers include fines, sanctions, and other measures. The agency also works with industries and all levels of government in a wide variety of voluntary pollution prevention programs and energy conservation efforts. In 2018, the agency had 13,758 employees. More than half of EPA's employees are engineers, scientists, and environmental protection specialists; other employees include legal, public affairs, financial, and information technologists. Many public health and environmental groups advocate for the agency and believe that it is creating a better world. Other critics believe that the agency commits government overreach by adding unnecessary regulations on business and property owners.


History


Background

Beginning in the late 1950s and through the 1960s,
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

Congress
reacted to increasing public concern about the impact that human activity could have on the environment. Senator James E. Murray introduced a bill, the Resources and Conservation Act (RCA) of 1959, in the
86th Congress The 86th United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress Th ...
. The bill would have established a Council on Environmental Quality in the
Executive Office of the President Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief e ...
, declared a national environmental policy, and required the preparation of an annual environmental report. The 1962 publication of ''
Silent Spring ''Silent Spring'' is an environmental science Environmental science is an interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a resea ...

Silent Spring
'' by
Rachel Carson Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist, author, and conservation movement, conservationist whose influential book ''Silent Spring'' (1962) and other writings are credited with advancing the ...
alerted the public about the detrimental effects on the environment of the indiscriminate use of
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests Pest or The Pest may refer to: Science and medicine * Pest (organism), an animal or plant detrimental to humans or human concerns ** Weed, a plant considered undesirable * Infectious d ...
s. In the years following, similar bills were introduced and hearings were held to discuss the state of the environment and Congress's potential responses. In 1968, a joint House–Senate colloquium was convened by the chairmen of the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Senator
Henry M. Jackson Henry Martin "Scoop" Jackson (May 31, 1912 – September 1, 1983) was an American lawyer and politician who served as a U.S. Representative (1941–1953) and U.S. Senator (1953–1983) from the state of Washington. A Cold War liberal and ant ...

Henry M. Jackson
, and the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, Representative
George P. Miller George Paul Miller (January 15, 1891 – December 29, 1982) was an American veteran of World War I who served 14 terms as a United States House of Representatives, U.S. Representative from California from 1945 to 1973. Early life George Paul ...
, to discuss the need for and means of implementing a national environmental policy. In the colloquium, some members of Congress expressed a continuing concern over federal agency actions affecting the environment. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) was modeled on the 1959 RCA bill. President Nixon signed NEPA into law on January 1, 1970. The law created the
Council on Environmental Quality The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is a division of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, Executive Office of the President that coordinates federal Natural environment, environmental efforts in the United States and ...
(CEQ) in the Executive Office of the President. NEPA required that a detailed statement of environmental impacts be prepared for all major federal actions significantly affecting the environment. The "detailed statement" would ultimately be referred to as an
environmental impact statement An environmental impact statement (EIS), under United States environmental law United States environmental law concerns legal standards to protect human health and improve the natural environment of the United States. While subject to criticism a ...
(EIS).


Establishment

On July 9, 1970, Nixon proposed an executive reorganization that consolidated many environmental responsibilities of the federal government under one agency, a new Environmental Protection Agency. This proposal included merging
pollution control Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. Pollution can take the form of any substance (solid, liquid, or gas) or energy (such as radioactivity, heat, sound, or light). Pollutants, ...
programs from a number of departments, such as the combination of pesticide programs from the
United States Department of Agriculture The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, ...
and the
United States Department of the Interior The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the U.S. government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government of the U ...
. After conducting hearings during that summer, the House and Senate approved the proposal. The EPA was created 90 days before it had to operate, and officially opened its doors on December 2, 1970. The agency's first administrator,
William Ruckelshaus William Doyle Ruckelshaus (July 24, 1932 – November 27, 2019) was an American attorney and government official. Ruckelshaus served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1966 to 1968, and the United States Assistant Attorney General for t ...

William Ruckelshaus
, took the oath of office on December 4, 1970. EPA's primary predecessor was the former
Environmental Health Divisions The Environmental Health Divisions was a unit of the U.S. Public Health Service The United States Public Health Service (USPHS or PHS) is a collection of agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services concerned with public health, cont ...
of the
U.S. Public Health Service The United States Public Health Service (USPHS or PHS) is a collection of agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services concerned with public health, containing eight out of the department's eleven operating divisions. The Assistant Se ...
(PHS), and its creation caused one of a series of reorganizations of PHS that occurred during 1966–1973. From PHS, EPA absorbed the entire National Air Pollution Control Administration, as well as the Environmental Control Administration's Bureau of Solid Waste Management, Bureau of Water Hygiene, and part of its Bureau of Radiological Health. It also absorbed the Federal Water Quality Administration, which had previously been transferred from PHS to the Department of the Interior in 1966. A few functions from other agencies were also incorporated into EPA: the formerly independent Federal Radiation Council was merged into it; pesticides programs were transferred from the Department of the Interior,
Food and Drug Administration The United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, st ...
, and
Agricultural Research Service The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the principal in-house research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the federal e ...
; and some functions were transferred from the
Council on Environmental Quality The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is a division of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, Executive Office of the President that coordinates federal Natural environment, environmental efforts in the United States and ...
and
Atomic Energy Commission Many countries have or have had an Atomic Energy Commission. These include: * National Atomic Energy Commission, Argentina (1950–present) * Australian Atomic Energy Commission (1952–1987) * Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (1973–present) * ...
. Upon its creation, EPA inherited 84 sites spread across 26 states, of which 42 sites were laboratories. The EPA consolidated these laboratories into 22 sites.


1970s

In its first year, the EPA had a budget of $1.4 billion and 5,800 employees. At its start, the EPA was primarily a technical assistance agency that set goals and standards. Soon, new acts and amendments passed by Congress gave the agency its regulatory authority. A major expansion of the Clean Air Act was approved later that month. EPA staff recall that in the early days there was "an enormous sense of purpose and excitement" and the expectation that "there was this agency which was going to do something about a problem that clearly was on the minds of a lot of people in this country," leading to tens of thousands of resumes from those eager to participate in the mighty effort to clean up America's environment. When EPA first began operation, members of the private sector felt strongly that the environmental protection movement was a passing fad. Ruckelshaus stated that he felt pressure to show a public which was deeply skeptical about government's effectiveness, that EPA could respond effectively to widespread concerns about pollution. The burning
Cuyahoga River The Cuyahoga River ( , or ) is a river in the United States, located in Northeast Ohio, that bisects the Cleveland, City of Cleveland and feeds into Lake Erie. As Cleveland emerged as a major manufacturing center, the river became heavily affec ...

Cuyahoga River
in 1969 had led to a national outcry. In December 1970 a federal grand jury investigation led by U.S. Attorney Robert W. Jones began, of water pollution allegedly being caused by about 12 companies in northeastern Ohio. It was the first grand jury investigation of water pollution in the area. The attorney general of the United States, John N. Mitchell, held a press conference on December 18, 1970, referencing new pollution control litigation, with particular reference to work with the new Environmental Protection Agency, and announcing the filing of a lawsuit that morning against the Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation for discharging substantial quantities of cyanide into the Cuyahoga River near Cleveland. Jones filed the misdemeanor charges in District Court, alleging violations of the 1899 Rivers and Harbors Act. Partly based on such litigation experience, Congress enacted the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, better known as the
Clean Water Act The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the primary federal law Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as state (subnational), states or province ...
(CWA). The CWA established a national framework for addressing water quality, including mandatory pollution control standards, to be implemented by the agency in partnership with the states.Jim Hanlon, Mike Cook, Mike Quigley, Bob Wayland
“Water Quality: A Half Century of Progress.”
EPA Alumni Association. March 2016.
Congress also amended the
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy A federal monarchy, in the strict sense, is a federation of Country, states with a single monarch as overall head of the federation, but retaining different mona ...
(FIFRA) in 1972, requiring EPA to measure every pesticide's risks against its potential benefits.Susan Wayland and Penelope Fenner-Crisp
“Reducing Pesticide Risks: A Half Century of Progress.”
EPA Alumni Association. March 2016.
Congress passed the
Safe Drinking Water Act The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the principal United States federal law, federal law in the United States intended to ensure safe drinking water for the public. Pursuant to the act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Environme ...
in 1974, requiring EPA to develop mandatory federal standards for all
public water system Public water system is a regulatory term used in the United States and Canada, referring to certain Public utility, utilities and organizations providing drinking water. United States The US Safe Drinking Water Act and derivative legislation defi ...
s, which serve 90% of the US population. The law required EPA to enforce the standards with the cooperation of state agencies. In October 1976, Congress passed the
Toxic Substances Control Act The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA or TOSCA) is a United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America ...
(TSCA) which, like FIFRA, related to the manufacture, labeling and usage of commercial products rather than pollution.Auer, Charles, Frank Kover, James Aidala, Marks Greenwood
“Toxic Substances: A Half Century of Progress.”
EPA Alumni Association. March 2016.
This act gave the EPA the authority to gather information on chemicals and require producers to test them, gave it the ability to regulate chemical production and use (with specific mention of
PCBs A polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) is an organic chlorine compound with the formula C12H10−''x''Cl''x''. Polychlorinated biphenyls were once widely deployed as dielectric In electromagnetism Electromagnetism is a branch of physics i ...
), and required the agency to create the National Inventory listing of chemicals. Congress also enacted the
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), enacted in 1976, is the principal federal law in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous ...
(RCRA) in 1976, significantly amending the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965. It tasked the EPA with setting national goals for waste disposal, conserving energy and natural resources, reducing waste, and ensuring environmentally sound management of waste. Accordingly, the agency developed
regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that a ...
for
solid Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter 4 (four) is a number A number is a mathematical object A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics. In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is an ...
and
hazardous waste Hazardous waste is waste Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective and of no use. A by-product A by-product or byproduct is a secondary ...
that were to be implemented in collaboration with states.Horinko, Marianne, Cathryn Courtin.
Waste Management: A Half Century of Progress
.” EPA Alumni Association. March 2016.
To manage the agency's expanding legal mandates and workload, by the end of 1979 the budget grew to about $5.4 billion and the workforce size increased to about 13,000.


1980s

In 1980, following the discovery of many abandoned or mismanaged hazardous waste sites such as
Love Canal Love Canal is a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York Niagara Falls is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The ...
, Congress passed the
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act The United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, stat ...
, nicknamed “Superfund.” The new law authorized EPA to cast a wider net for parties responsible for sites contaminated by previous hazardous waste disposal and established a funding mechanism for assessment and cleanup. Anne Gorsuch was appointed EPA Administrator in 1981 by President
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of ...

Ronald Reagan
. Gorsuch based her administration of EPA on the
New Federalism New Federalism is a political philosophy of devolution Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized gov ...
approach of downsizing federal agencies by delegating their functions and services to the individual states. She believed that EPA was over-regulating business and that the agency was too large and not cost-effective. During her 22 months as agency head, she cut the budget of the EPA by 22%, reduced the number of cases filed against polluters, relaxed Clean Air Act regulations, and facilitated the spraying of restricted-use pesticides. She cut the total number of agency employees, and hired staff from the industries they were supposed to be regulating.
Environmentalists Image:Voynet Montreuil 2008-01-06.jpg, Dominique Voynet, 2008 An environmentalist is a person who is concerned with and/or advocates for the protection of the environment. An environmentalist can be considered a supporter of the goals of the envir ...
contended that her policies were designed to placate polluters, and accused her of trying to dismantle the agency. Following her mismanagement of the
Superfund The United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, stat ...
program, Assistant Administrator Rita Lavelle was fired by Reagan in February 1983. Lavelle was later convicted of perjury. Gorsuch had increasing confrontations with Congress over Superfund and other programs, including her refusal to submit subpoenaed documents. Gorsuch was cited for contempt of Congress and the White House directed EPA to submit the documents to Congress. Gorsuch (who had recently remarried, becoming Anne Gorsuch Burford) resigned in March 1983, followed by resignations of her Deputy Administrator and most of her Assistant Administrators. Reagan then appointed William Ruckelshaus as EPA Administrator for a second term. Lee M. Thomas succeeded Ruckelshaus as Administrator in 1985. In April 1986, when the
Chernobyl disaster The Chernobyl disaster was a that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the No. 4 in the , near the city of in the north of the in the . It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history both in cost and casualties. It is one of only two nucle ...
occurred in
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
, the EPA was tasked with identifying any impacts on the United States and keeping the public informed. Administrator Lee Thomas assembled an interagency team, including personnel from the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is an independent agency of the United States government Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group)The Independents were a group of ...
,
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA ) is an American scientific and regulatory agency within the United States Department of Commerce that forecasts weather, monitors oceanic and atmospheric conditions, charts the seas, c ...
, and the
Department of EnergyA Ministry of Energy or Department of Energy is a government department in some countries that typically oversees the production of fuel and electricity; in the United States, however, it manages nuclear weapons development and conducts energy-relate ...
to monitor the situation. They held press conferences for 10 days. That same year Congress passed the
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 is a United States federal law The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law Law is a system A system is a group of Intera ...
, which authorized the EPA to gather data on toxic chemicals and share this information with the public. EPA also researched the implications of stratospheric ozone depletion. Under Administrator Thomas, EPA joined with several international organizations to perform a
risk assessment Broadly speaking, a risk assessment is the combined effort of: # identifying and analyzing potential (future) events that may negatively impact individuals, assets, and/or the environment (i.e. hazard analysis A hazard analysis is used as the ...

risk assessment
of stratospheric ozone, which helped provide motivation for the Montreal Protocol, which was agreed to in August 1987. In 1988, during his first presidential campaign,
George H. W. Bush George Herbert Walker BushSince around 2000 he was usually called George H. W. Bush, Bush Senior, Bush 41 or Bush the Elder to distinguish him from his eldest son, George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American p ...

George H. W. Bush
was vocal about environmental issues. Following his election victory, he appointed William K. Reilly, an environmentalist, as EPA Administrator. Under Reilly's leadership, the EPA implemented voluntary programs and initiated the development of a "cluster rule" for multimedia regulation of the pulp and paper industry. At the time, the environment was increasingly being recognized as a regional issue, which was reflected in 1990 amendment of the Clean Air Act and new approaches by the agency.


1990s

In 1992 EPA and the Department of Energy launched the
Energy Star Energy Star (trademarked ''ENERGY STAR'') is a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that promotes energy efficiency. The program provides information on the energy consumption of produ ...

Energy Star
program, a voluntary program that fosters energy efficiency.
Carol Browner Carol Martha Browner (born December 16, 1955) is an American lawyer, environmentalist, and businesswoman, who served as director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change PolicyThe White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Polic ...
was appointed EPA Administrator by President
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
and served from 1993 to 2001. Major projects during Browner's term included: * Initiation of the
Brownfields In urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use and the built environment, ...

Brownfields
pilot program in 1995 * Initial hazardous air pollution standards for petroleum refineries in 1995 * Initial lead paint abatement regulations under TSCA in 1996 * Update of the
National Ambient Air Quality Standards The U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS, pronounced ) are limits on atmospheric concentration of six pollutants A pollutant is a substance or energy introduced into the environment that has undesired effects, or adversely affects t ...
for
particulate matter upright=1.7, Movie map of distribution of aerosol particles, based on data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite: * Green areas show aerosol plumes dominated by larger particles. * Red area ...
and
ozone Ozone (), or trioxygen, is an inorganic molecule A molecule is an electrically Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a cha ...
in 1997. Since the passage of the Superfund law in 1980, an
excise tax file:Lincoln Beer Stamp 1871.JPG, upright=1.2, 1871 U.S. Revenue stamp for 1/6 barrel of beer. Brewers would receive the stamp sheets, cut them into individual stamps, cancel them, and paste them over the bung of the beer barrel so when the barrel ...
had been levied on the chemical and petroleum industries, to support the cleanup trust fund. Congressional authorization of the tax was due to expire in 1995. Although Browner and the
Clinton Administration Bill Clinton's tenure as the List of presidents of the United States, 42nd president of the United States began with First inauguration of Bill Clinton, his first inauguration on January 20, 1993, and ended on January 20, 2001. Clinton, a Demo ...
supported continuation of the tax, Congress declined to reauthorize it. Subsequently, the Superfund program has been supported only by annual appropriations, greatly reducing the number of waste sites that are remediated in a given year. (In 2021 Congress reauthorized an excise tax on chemical manufacturers.) Major legislative updates during the Clinton Administration were the
Food Quality Protection Act The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), or H.R.1627, was passed unanimously by Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polit ...
and the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act.


Organization

The EPA is led by the administrator, appointed following nomination by the president and approval from Congress. Michael S. Regan began serving as Administrator on March 11, 2021.


Offices

* Office of the Administrator (OA). As of October 2020 the office consisted of 12 divisions: **Office of Administrative and Executive Services **Office of Children's Health Protection *** Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee **Office of Civil Rights **Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations **Office of Continuous Improvement **Office of the Executive Secretariat **Office of Homeland Security **Office of Policy **Office of Public Affairs **Office of Public Engagement and Environmental Education **Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization ** Science Advisory Board * Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) * Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) * Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) * Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) * Office of General Counsel (OGC) * Office of (OIG) * Office of International and Tribal Affairs (OITA) * Office of Mission Support (OMS) * Office of Research and Development (ORD) which as of November 2021 consisted of: **Immediate Office of the Assistant Administrator **Office of Science Advisor, Policy, and Engagement (OSAPE) **Office of Science Information Management (OSIM) **Office of Resource Management **Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure (CCTE) ** Center for Environmental Measurement and Modeling (CEMM) **Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment (CPHEA) **Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response (CESER) * Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) which as of March 2017 consisted of: **Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation **Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery **Office of Underground Storage Tanks **Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization **Office of Emergency Management **Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse Office * Office of Water (OW) which as of March 2017 consisted of: **Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW) **Office of Science and Technology (OST) **Office of Wastewater Management (OWM) **Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds (OWOW)


Regions

Creating 10 EPA regions was an initiative that came from President Richard Nixon. ''See'' Standard Federal Regions. Each EPA regional office is responsible within its states for implementing the agency's programs, except those programs that have been specifically delegated to states. * Region 1: responsible within the states of
Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 United States census, 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of List of U.S. states and territories by H ...
,
Maine Maine () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States, bordered by New Hampshire to the west; the Gulf of Maine to the southeast; and the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Qu ...

Maine
,
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Massachusetts
,
New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Gulf of Maine to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the nor ...

New Hampshire
,
Rhode Island Rhode Island (, like ''road''), officially the State of Rhode Island, is a state in the New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as ...
, and
Vermont Vermont () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Vermont
(
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography ...

New England
). * Region 2: responsible within the states of
New Jersey New Jersey is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York (state), New York; on the ea ...
and
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
. It is also responsible for the US territories of
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
, and the
U.S. Virgin Islands The United States Virgin Islands, officially the Virgin Islands of the United States,Also called the ''American Virgin Islands'' are a group of Caribbean islands and an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States The U ...

U.S. Virgin Islands
. * Region 3: responsible within the states of
Delaware Delaware ( ) is a state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Maryland to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean to its east. The state takes i ...
,
Maryland Maryland ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware ...

Maryland
,
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...

Pennsylvania
,
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...

Virginia
,
West Virginia West Virginia () is a U.S. state, state in the Appalachian region, Appalachian, Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, Southeastern regions of the United States.The United States Census Bureau, Census Burea ...
, and the
District of Columbia ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscape ...

District of Columbia
. * Region 4: responsible within the states of
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat ...

Alabama
,
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geor ...

Florida
,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia (, ; ) is a country located at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is a part of the Caucasus region, bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north and east by ...
,
Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...
,
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...
,
North Carolina North Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily news ...

North Carolina
,
South Carolina South Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspap ...

South Carolina
, and
Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The S ...

Tennessee
. * Region 5: responsible within the states of
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspape ...

Illinois
,
Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 38th-largest by area and the List of U.S. states and territories by population, 17th-most populous o ...

Indiana
,
Michigan Michigan () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Michigan
,
Minnesota Minnesota () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Minnesota
,
Ohio Ohio () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

Ohio
, and
Wisconsin Wisconsin () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Wisconsin
. * Region 6: responsible within the states of
Arkansas Arkansas () is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, home to more than three million people as of 2018. Its name is from the Osage language, a Dhegihan languages, Dhegiha Siouan la ...

Arkansas
,
Louisiana Louisiana (Standard French Standard French (in French: ''le français standard'', ''le français normé'', ''le français neutre'' eutral Frenchor ''le français international'' nternational French is an unofficial term for a standard ...

Louisiana
,
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English English usually refer ...

New Mexico
,
Oklahoma Oklahoma () is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, bordered by the state of Texas on the south and west, Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, New ...
, and
Texas Texas (, ; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambigu ...

Texas
. * Region 7: responsible within the states of
Iowa Iowa () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states: Wiscon ...

Iowa
,
Kansas Kansas () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. Its Capital city, capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, Kansas, Wichita. Kansas is a landlocked state bordered by Nebraska to the north; ...

Kansas
,
Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Missouri
, and
Nebraska Nebraska () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Nebraska
. * Region 8: responsible within the states of
Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain West The Mountain West Conference (MW) is one of the collegiate athletic conferences affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association The National Collegiate Athletic ...

Colorado
,
Montana Montana () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Montana
,
North Dakota North Dakota () is a U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory where it shares its with the . Due to th ...
,
South Dakota South Dakota () (Sioux The Sioux or Oceti Sakowin (; Dakota Dakota may refer to: * Dakota people, a sub-tribe of the Sioux ** Dakota language, their language From this origin, Dakota may also refer to: Places United States * Dako ...

South Dakota
,
Utah Utah ( , ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado, to its northeast by Wyoming, to its north by Idaho, to its so ...

Utah
, and
Wyoming Wyoming () is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. The List of U.S. states and territories by area, 10th largest state by area, it is also the List of U.S. states and territories b ...
. * Region 9: responsible within the states of
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States, Southwestern region of the United States. It is also usually considered part of the Mountain States, Mountain states. It is th ...

Arizona
,
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
,
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Hawaii
,
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Nevada
, the territories of
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousa ...

Guam
and
American Samoa #REDIRECT American Samoa American Samoa ( sm, Amerika Sāmoa, ; also ' or ') is an unincorporated territory of the United States Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) ...

American Samoa
, and the
Navajo Nation The Navajo Nation ( nv, Naabeehó Bináhásdzo) is a Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Ameri ...
. * Region 10: responsible within the states of
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's West Coast of the United State ...

Alaska
,
Idaho Idaho () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Idaho
,
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of it ...

Oregon
, and
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
. Each regional office also implements programs on Indian Tribal lands, except those programs delegated to tribal authorities.


Legal authority

The Environmental Protection Agency can only act pursuant to
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...

statute
s—the laws passed by Congress. Appropriations statutes authorize how much money the agency can spend each year to carry out the approved statutes. The agency has the power to issue
regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that a ...
. A regulation interprets a statute, and EPA applies its regulations to various environmental situations and enforces the requirements. The agency must include a rationale of why a regulation is needed. (''See'' Administrative Procedure Act.) Regulations can be challenged in federal courts, either district court or
appellate court An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics ...
, depending on the particular statutory provision.


Related legislation

EPA has principal implementation authority for the following federal environmental laws: * Clean Air Act *
Clean Water Act The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the primary federal law Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as state (subnational), states or province ...
*
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act Comprehensive may refer to: *Comprehensive layout In graphic design Graphic design is the profession A Profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by the ...
("Superfund") *
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 is a United States federal law The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law Law is a system A system is a group of Intera ...
*
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy A federal monarchy, in the strict sense, is a federation of Country, states with a single monarch as overall head of the federation, but retaining different mona ...
*
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), enacted in 1976, is the principal federal law in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous ...
*
Safe Drinking Water Act The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the principal United States federal law, federal law in the United States intended to ensure safe drinking water for the public. Pursuant to the act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Environme ...
*
Toxic Substances Control Act The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA or TOSCA) is a United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America ...
*
Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act Frank may refer to: People As a name * Frank (given name) * Frank (surname) Groups of people * A member of the medieval Germanic people, the Franks * Crusaders in medieval Middle Eastern history * Levantines (Latin Christians) known as Franc ...
There are additional laws where EPA has a contributing role or provides assistance to other agencies. Among these laws are: *
Endangered Species Act The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA or "The Act"; 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq.) is the primary law in the United States for protecting imperiled species. Designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction Extinction is the te ...
* Energy Independence and Security Act * Energy Policy Act *
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act The United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (abbreviated as FFDCA, FDCA, or FD&C) is a set of laws passed by Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct terri ...
*
Food Quality Protection Act The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), or H.R.1627, was passed unanimously by Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polit ...
*
National Environmental Policy Act The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a United States environmental law that promotes the enhancement of the environment and established the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The law was enacted on January 1, 1970.Unit ...
*
Oil Pollution Act The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) (101 H.R.1465, P.L. 101-380) was passed by the 101st United States Congress and signed by President George H. W. Bush. It works to avoid oil spills from vessels and facilities by enforcing removal of spilled oil a ...
* Pollution Prevention Act


Programs

EPA established its major programs pursuant to the primary missions originally articulated in the laws passed by Congress. Additional programs have been developed to interpret the primary missions. Some of the newer programs have been specifically authorized by Congress. Former Administrator William Ruckelshaus observed in 2016 that a danger for EPA was that air, water, waste and other programs would be unconnected, placed in "silos," a problem that persists more than 50 years later, albeit less so than at the start.


Core programs


Air quality and radiation protection


=Ambient standards

= *
National Ambient Air Quality Standards The U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS, pronounced ) are limits on atmospheric concentration of six pollutants A pollutant is a substance or energy introduced into the environment that has undesired effects, or adversely affects t ...
(NAAQS) * State Implementation Plans (SIPs)


=Stationary air pollution source standards

= * New Source Performance Standards *
National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants The National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, also using the acronym NESHAP, are emission standard, emission standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, United States Environmental Protection Agency—EPA. Th ...
(NESHAPs) * Permits for industrial and commercial sources


=Mobile source standards

= * Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards, Aircraft Emission Standards, and Clean Fuel Vehicles * The air pollution testing system for motor vehicles was originally developed in 1972 and used
driving cycle A driving cycle is a series of data points representing the speed of a vehicle versus time. Driving cycles are produced by different country, countries and organizations to assess the performance of vehicles in various ways, as for instance fuel c ...
s designed to simulate driving during rush-hour in
Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; xgf, Tovaangar; es, Los Ángeles, , ), commonly referred to by the initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be u ...

Los Angeles
during that era. Until 1984, the EPA reported the exact fuel economy figures calculated from the test. In 1984, the EPA began adjusting city (aka Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule or UDDS) results downward by 10% and highway (aka HighWay Fuel Economy Test or HWFET) results by 22% to compensate for changes in driving conditions since 1972, and to better correlate the EPA test results with real-world driving. In 1996, the EPA proposed updating the Federal Testing Procedures to add a new higher-speed test (US06) and an air-conditioner-on test (SC03) to further improve the correlation of fuel economy and emission estimates with real-world reports. In December 2006 the updated testing methodology was finalized to be implemented in model year 2008 vehicles and set the precedent of a 12-year review cycle for the test procedures. ** In February 2005, EPA launched a program called "Your MPG" that allows drivers to add real-world fuel economy statistics into a database on the EPA's fuel economy website and compare them with others and with the original EPA test results. ** The EPA conducts fuel economy tests on very few vehicles. "Just 18 of the EPA's 17,000 employees work in the automobile-testing department in Ann Arbor, Michigan, examining 200 to 250 vehicles a year, or roughly 15 percent of new models. As to that other 85 percent, the EPA takes automakers at their word—without any testing-accepting submitted results as accurate." Two-thirds of the vehicles the EPA tests themselves are randomly selected and the remaining third is tested for specific reasons. ** Although originally created as a reference point for fossil-fueled vehicles,
driving cycle A driving cycle is a series of data points representing the speed of a vehicle versus time. Driving cycles are produced by different country, countries and organizations to assess the performance of vehicles in various ways, as for instance fuel c ...
s have been used for estimating how many miles an electric vehicle will get on a single charge.


=Radiation protection

= The Radiation Protection Program comprises seven project groups. # Radioactive Waste Management # Emergency Preparedness and Response Programs Protective Action Guides And Planning Guidance for Radiological Incidents: EPA developed a manual as guideline for local and state governments to protect the public from a nuclear accident, the 2017 version being a 15-year update. # EPA's Role in Emergency Response – Special Teams # Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) Program # Radiation Standards for Air and Drinking Water Programs # Federal Guidance for Radiation Protection


Water quality


=Science and regulatory standards

= * The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program addresses water pollution by regulating point sources which discharge to US waters. Created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act, the NPDES permit program authorizes state governments to perform its many permitting, administrative, and enforcement aspects. As of 2021, EPA has approved 47 states to administer all or portions of the permit program. EPA regional offices manage the program in the remaining areas of the country. The Water Quality Act of 1987 extended NPDES permit coverage to industrial stormwater dischargers and municipal separate storm sewer systems. In 2016, there were 6,700 major point source NPDES permits in place and 109,000 municipal and industrial point sources with general or individual permits. * Effluent guidelines (technology based standards) for industrial point sources and Clean Water Act#Water quality standards, Water quality standards (risk-based standards) for water bodies, under Title III of the CWA * Nonpoint source pollution programs * The CWA Section 404 Program regulates the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. Permits are to be denied if they would cause unacceptable degradation or if an alternative doesn't exist that does not also have adverse impacts on waters. Permit holders are typically required to restore or create wetlands or other waters to offset losses that can not be avoided. * EPA ensures safe drinking water for the public, by setting standards for more than 148,000
public water system Public water system is a regulatory term used in the United States and Canada, referring to certain Public utility, utilities and organizations providing drinking water. United States The US Safe Drinking Water Act and derivative legislation defi ...
s nationwide. EPA oversees states, local governments and water suppliers to enforce the standards under the
Safe Drinking Water Act The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the principal United States federal law, federal law in the United States intended to ensure safe drinking water for the public. Pursuant to the act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Environme ...
. The program includes regulation of injection wells in order to protect underground sources of drinking water.


=Infrastructure financing

= * The CWA State Revolving Loan Fund Program provides grants to states which, along with matching state funds, are loaned to municipalities for wastewater and "green" infrastructure at below-market interest rates. These loans are expected to be paid back, creating revolving loan funds. Through 2014, a total of $36.2 billion in capitalization grants from the EPA have been provided to the states' revolving funds. The revolving fund replaced the Construction Grants Program, which was phased out in 1990. * The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund provides financial assistance to local drinking water utilities.


Land, Waste and Cleanup

* Regulation of solid waste (non-hazardous) and hazardous waste under RCRA. To implement the 1976 law, EPA published standards in 1979 for "sanitary" landfills that receive Resource Conservation and Recovery Act#Subtitle D: Non-hazardous Solid Wastes, municipal solid waste. The agency published national Resource Conservation and Recovery Act#Subtitle C: "Cradle to Grave" requirements for hazardous waste, hazardous waste regulations and established a nationwide permit and tracking system for managing hazardous waste. The system is largely managed by state agencies under EPA authorization. Standards were issued for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act#Treatment, storage, and disposal facility permits, waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs), and ocean dumping of waste was prohibited. In 1984 Congress passed the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA) which expanded several aspects of the RCRA program: ** The Land Disposal Restrictions Program sets treatment requirements for hazardous waste before it may be disposed on land. EPA began issuing treatment methods and levels of requirements in 1986 and these are continually adapted to new hazardous wastes and treatment technologies. The stringent requirements it sets and its emphasis on waste minimization practices encourage businesses to plan to minimize waste generation and prioritize reuse and Recycling in the United States, recycling. From the start of the program in 1984 to 2004, the volume of hazardous waste disposed in landfills had decreased 94% and the volume of hazardous waste disposed of by underground injection had decreased 70%. ** The RCRA Corrective Action Program requires TSDFs to investigate and clean up hazardous releases at their own expense. In the 1980s, EPA estimated that the number of sites needing cleanup was three times more than the number of sites on the national
Superfund The United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, stat ...
list. The program is largely implemented through permits and orders. As of 2016, the program has led to the cleanup of 18 million acres of land, of which facilities were primarily responsible for cleanup costs. The goal of EPA and states is to complete final remedies by 2020 at 3,779 priority facilities out of 6,000 that need to be cleaned up according to the program. ** EPA developed standards for small quantity generators of hazardous waste. ** EPA was mandated to conduct a review of landfill conditions nationwide. The agency reported in 1988 that the effectiveness of environmental controls at landfills varied nationwide, which could lead to serious contamination of groundwater and surface waters. EPA published a national plan in 1989 calling for state and local governments to better integrate their municipal solid waste management practices with source reduction and recycling programs. ** Regulation of Underground Storage Tanks. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act#Subtitle I: Underground Storage Tanks, Underground Storage Tank (UST) Program was launched in 1985 and covers about 553,000 active USTs containing petroleum and hazardous chemicals. Since 1984, 1.8 million USTs have been closed in compliance with regulations. 38 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico manage UST programs with EPA authorization. When the program began, EPA had only 90 staff to develop a system to regulate more than 2 million tanks and work with 750,000 owners and operators. The program relies more on local operations and enforcement than other EPA programs. Today, the program supports the inspection of all federally regulated tanks, cleans up old and new leaks, minimizes potential leaks, and encourages sustainable reuse of abandoned gas stations. * Hazardous site cleanup. In the late 1970s, the need to clean up sites such as
Love Canal Love Canal is a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York Niagara Falls is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The ...
that had been highly contaminated by previous hazardous waste disposal became apparent. However the existing regulatory environment depended on owners or operators to perform environmental control. While the EPA attempted to use RCRA's section 7003 to perform this cleanup, it was clear a new law was needed. In 1980, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as "
Superfund The United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, stat ...
." This law enabled the EPA to cast a wider net for responsible parties, including past or present generators and transporters as well as current and past owners of the site to find funding. The act also established some funding and a tax mechanism on certain industries to help fund such cleanup. Congress did not renew the Superfund tax in the 1990s, therefore funding now comes only from general appropriations. Today, due to restricted funding, most cleanup is performed by responsible parties under the oversight of the EPA and states. As of 2016, more than 1,700 sites had been put on the cleanup list since the creation of the program. Of these, 370 sites have been cleaned up and removed from the list, cleanup is underway at 535, cleanup facilities have been constructed at 790 but need to be operated in the future, and 54 are not yet in cleanup stage. * EPA's oil spill prevention program includes the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) and the Facility Response Plan (FRP) rules. The SPCC Rule applies to all facilities that store, handle, process, gather, transfer, refine, distribute, use or consume oil or oil products. Oil products includes petroleum and non-petroleum oils as well as: animal fats, oils and greases; fish and marine mammal oils; and vegetable oils. It mandates a written plan for facilities that store more than 1,320 gallons of fuel above ground or more than 42,000 gallons below-ground, and which might discharge to navigable waters (as defined in the
Clean Water Act The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the primary federal law Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as state (subnational), states or province ...
) or adjoining shorelines. Secondary spill containment is mandated at oil storage facilities and oil release containment is required at oil development sites.


Chemicals and Toxics

* EPA regulates pesticides under the
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy A federal monarchy, in the strict sense, is a federation of Country, states with a single monarch as overall head of the federation, but retaining different mona ...
(FIFRA) and the
Food Quality Protection Act The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), or H.R.1627, was passed unanimously by Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polit ...
. The agency assesses, registers, regulates, and regularly reevaluates all
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests Pest or The Pest may refer to: Science and medicine * Pest (organism), an animal or plant detrimental to humans or human concerns ** Weed, a plant considered undesirable * Infectious d ...
s legally sold in the United States. A few challenges this program faces are transforming toxicity testing, screening pesticides for endocrine disruptors, and regulating biotechnology and nanotechnology. * TSCA required EPA to create and maintain a national inventory of all existing chemicals in U.S. commerce. When the act was passed in 1976, there were more than 60,000 chemicals on the market that had never been comprehensively cataloged. To do so, the EPA developed and implemented procedures that have served as a model for Canada, Japan, and the European Union. For the inventory, the EPA also established a baseline for new chemicals that the agency should be notified about before being commercially manufactured. Today, this rule keeps the EPA updated on volumes, uses, and exposures of around 7,000 of the highest-volume chemicals via industry reporting. * The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) is a resource established by the
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 is a United States federal law The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law Law is a system A system is a group of Intera ...
specifically for the public to learn about toxic chemical releases and pollution prevention activities reported by industrial and federal facilities. TRI data support informed decision-making by communities, government agencies, companies, and others. Annually, the agency collects data from more than 20,000 facilities. The EPA has generated a range of tools to support the use of this inventory, including interactive maps and online databases such as ChemView.


Enforcement

* Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance#Office of Civil Enforcement, Civil enforcement and Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance#Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics and Training, Criminal enforcement programs * Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance#Office of Compliance, Compliance assistance * Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance#Office of Federal Activities, Federal activities (reviews of Environmental Impact Statements) * Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance#Federal Facilities Enforcement Office, Federal facilities enforcement * Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance#Office of Environmental Justice, Environmental Justice program In an EPA Enforcement report submitted by the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) it compared EPA statistics over time. The number of civil cases have gradually decreased and, in 2018, the criminal and civil penalties from EPA claims dropped over four times their amounts in 2013, 2016, and 2017. In 2016, an amount of $6,307,833,117 of penalties were administered through EPA violations. In 2018, an amount of $184,768,000 of penalties were administered. Furthermore, federal inspection and evaluations conducted by the EPA have steadily decreased from 2015-2018. EPA Enforcement has decreased partially due to budget cuts within the Environmental Protection Agency.


Additional programs

* The EPA Safer Choice label, previously known as the "Design for the Environment" (DfE) label, helps consumers and commercial buyers identify and select products with safer chemical ingredients, without sacrificing quality or performance. When a product has the Safer Choice label, it means that every intentionally-added ingredient in the product has been evaluated by EPA scientists. Only the safest possible functional ingredients are allowed in products with the Safer Choice label. * Through the Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative (SDSI), EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) recognizes environmental leaders who voluntarily commit to the use of safer surfactants. Safer surfactants are the ones that break down quickly to non-polluting compounds and help protect aquatic life in both fresh and salt water. Nonylphenol ethoxylates, commonly referred to as NPEs, are an example of a surfactant class that does not meet the definition of a safer surfactant. The EPA Safer Choice, has identified safer alternative surfactants through partnerships with industry and environmental advocates. These safer alternatives are comparable in cost and are readily available. CleanGredients is a source of safer surfactants. * The Energy Star program, initiated in 1992, motivated major companies to retrofit millions of square feet of building space with more efficient lighting. As of 2006, more than 40,000 Energy Star products were available including major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics, and more. In addition, the label can also be found on new homes and commercial and industrial buildings. In 2006, about 12 percent of new housing in the United States was labeled Energy Star.U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
"2006 Annual Report: Energy Star and Other Climate Protection Partnerships."
. Retrieved March 1, 2008.
* The EPA estimates it saved about $14 billion in energy costs in 2006 alone. The Energy Star program has helped spread the use of Light-emitting diode, LED traffic lights, efficient fluorescent lighting, power management systems for office equipment, and low standby power, standby energy use. * EPA's Smart Growth Program, which began in 1998, is to help communities improve their development practices and get the type of development they want. Together with local, state, and national experts, EPA encourages development strategies that protect human health and the environment, create economic opportunities, and provide attractive and affordable neighborhoods for people of all income levels. * The Brownfields Program, which was started as a pilot program in the 1990s and signed into law in 2002, provides grants and tools to local governments for the assessment, cleanup, and revitalization of Brownfield land, brownfields. As of September 2015, the EPA estimates that program grants have resulted in 56,442 acres of land readied for reuse and leveraged 116,963 jobs and $24.2 billion to do so. Agency studies also found that property values around assessed or cleaned-up brownfields have increased 5.1 to 12.8 percent.Thomas Voltaggio and John Adams
“Superfund: A Half Century of Progress.”
EPA Alumni Association. March 2016.
* EPA's Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program helps schools to maintain a healthy environment and reduce exposures to indoor environmental contaminants. It helps school personnel identify, solve, and prevent indoor air quality problems in the school environment. Through the use of a multi-step management plan and checklists for the entire building, schools can lower their students' and staff's risk of exposure to asthma triggers. * The National Environmental Education Act, National Environmental Education Act of 1990 requires EPA to provide national leadership to increase environmental literacy. EPA established the Office of Environmental Education to implement this program. * Clean School Bus USA is a national partnership to reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust by eliminating unnecessary school bus idling, installing effective emission control systems on newer buses and replacing the oldest buses in the fleet with newer ones. Its goal is to reduce both children's exposure to diesel exhaust and the amount of air pollution created by diesel school buses. * The Green Chemistry Program encourages the development of products and processes that follow green chemistry principles. It has recognized more than 100 winning technologies. These reduce the use or creation of hazardous chemicals, save water, and reduce greenhouse gas release. * The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, was authorized in a 2000 amendment to the
Clean Water Act The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the primary federal law Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as state (subnational), states or province ...
. The program focus is on coastal recreational waters, and requires EPA to develop criteria to test and monitor waters and notify public users of any concerns. The program involves states, local beach resource managers, and the agency in assessing risks of stormwater and wastewater overflows and enables better sampling, analytical methods, and communication with the public. * The EPA has also established specific geographic programs for particular water resources such as the Chesapeake Bay Program, the National Estuary Program, and the Gulf of Mexico Program. * Advance identification, or ADID, is a planning process used by the EPA to identify wetlands and other bodies of water and their respective suitability for the discharge of dredged and fill material. The EPA conducts the process in cooperation with the U.S. United States Army Corps of Engineers, Army Corps of Engineers and local states or Native Americans in the United States, Native American Tribes. As of February 1993, 38 ADID projects had been completed and 33 were ongoing. * EPA's "One Cleanup Program" initiative was designed to improve coordination across different agency programs that have a role in cleanup at a particular site. The coordination efforts apply to the brownfields, federal facilities, USTs, RCRA and Superfund programs. * EPA initiated its voluntary WaterSense program in 2006, to encourage water efficiency through the use of a special label on consumer products.


Past programs

* The former Construction Grants Program distributed federal grants for the construction of municipal wastewater treatment works from 1972 to 1990. While such grants existed before the 1972, the 1972 CWA expanded these grants dramatically. They were distributed through 1990, when the program and funding were replaced with the State Revolving Loan Fund Program. * In 1991 under Administrator William Reilly, the EPA implemented its voluntary 33/50 program. This was designed to encourage, recognize, and celebrate companies that voluntarily found ways to prevent and reduce pollution in their operations. Specifically, it challenged industry to reduce Toxic Release Inventory emissions of 17 priority chemicals by 33% in one year and 50% in four years. These results were achieved before the commitment deadlines. * Launched in 2006, the voluntary 2010/2015 PFOA Stewardship Program worked with eight major companies to voluntarily reduce their global emissions of certain types of perfluorinated chemicals by 95% by 2010 and eliminate these emissions by 2015. * In March 2004, the U.S. Navy transferred USNS Bold (T-AGOS-12), a Stalwart class ocean surveillance ship, ''Stalwart'' class ocean surveillance ship, to the EPA. The ship had been used in anti-submarine operations during the Cold War, was equipped with sidescan sonar, underwater video, water and sediment sampling instruments used in study of ocean and coastline. One of the major missions of the ''Bold'' was to monitor for ecological impact sites where materials were dumped from dredging operations in U.S. ports. In 2013, the General Services Administration sold the ''Bold'' to Seattle Central Community College (SCCC), which demonstrated in a competition that they would put it to the highest and best purpose, at a nominal cost of $5,000.


Controversies


TSCA and confidential business information, 1994 (or earlier)–present

TSCA enables the EPA to require industry to conduct testing of chemicals, but the agency must balance such requirements with obligations to provide information to the public and ensure the protection of trade secrets and confidential business information (the legal term for proprietary information). Arising issues and problems from these overlapping obligations have been the subject of multiple critical reports by the Government Accountability Office. How much information the agency should have access to from industry, how much it should keep confidential, and how much it should reveal to the public is still contested. For example, according to TSCA, state officials are not allowed access to confidential business information collected by the EPA.


Political pressure and scientific integrity, 2001–present

In April 2008, the Union of Concerned Scientists said that more than half of the nearly 1,600 EPA staff scientists who responded online to a detailed questionnaire reported they had experienced incidents of political interference in their work. The survey included chemists, toxicologists, engineers, geologists and experts in other fields of science. About 40% of the scientists reported that the interference had been more prevalent in the last five years than in previous years. The highest number of complaints came from scientists who were involved in determining the risks of cancer by chemicals used in food and other aspects of everyday life. EPA research has also been suppressed by career managers. Supervisors at EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment required several paragraphs to be deleted from a peer-reviewed journal article about EPA's integrated risk information system, which led two co-authors to have their names removed from the publication, and the corresponding author, Ching-Hung Hsu, to leave EPA "because of the draconian restrictions placed on publishing". EPA subjects employees who author scientific papers to prior restraint, even if those papers are written on personal time. EPA employees have reported difficulty in conducting and reporting the results of studies on hydraulic fracturing due to industry and governmental pressure, and are concerned about the censorship of environmental reports. In February 2017, U.S. representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) sponsored H.R. 861, a bill to abolish the EPA by 2018. According to Gaetz, "The American people are drowning in rules and regulation promulgated by unelected bureaucrats. And the Environmental Protection Agency has become an extraordinary offender." The bill was co-sponsored by Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Steven Palazzo (R-Ms.) and Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.).


Fuel economy, 2005–2010

In July 2005, an EPA report showing that auto companies were using loopholes to produce less fuel-efficient cars was delayed. The report was supposed to be released the day before a controversial energy bill was passed and would have provided backup for those opposed to it, but the EPA delayed its release at the last minute. In 2007, the state of California sued the EPA for its refusal to allow California and 16 other states to raise fuel economy standards for new cars. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson claimed that the EPA was working on its own standards, but the move has been widely considered an attempt to shield the auto industry from environmental regulation by setting lower standards at the federal level, which would then preempt state laws. California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with governors from 13 other states, stated that the EPA's actions ignored federal law, and that ''existing'' California standards (adopted by many states in addition to California) were almost twice as effective as the ''proposed'' federal standards. It was reported that Stephen Johnson ignored his own staff in making this decision. After the federal government had bailed out General Motors and Chrysler in the Automotive industry crisis of 2008–2010, the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox was released with an EPA fuel economy rating abnormally higher than its competitors. Independent road tests found that the vehicle did not out-perform its competitors, which had much lower fuel economy ratings. Later road tests found better, but inconclusive, results.


Mercury emissions, 2005

In March 2005, nine states (California, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Mexico and Vermont) sued the EPA. The EPA's Office of Inspector General (United States), inspector general had determined that the EPA's regulation of mercury (element), mercury emissions did not follow the Clean Air Act, and that the regulations were influenced by top political appointees. The EPA had suppressed a study it commissioned by Harvard University which contradicted its position on mercury controls. The suit alleged that the EPA's rule exempting coal-fired power plants from "maximum available control technology" was illegal, and additionally charged that the EPA's system of cap-and-trade to lower average mercury levels would allow power plants to forego reducing mercury emissions, which they objected would lead to dangerous local hotspots of mercury contamination even if average levels declined.Bustillo, Migue
States Sue EPA Over Mercury Emissions
, ''LA Times'', March 30, 2005
Several states also began to enact their own mercury emission regulations. Illinois's proposed rule would have reduced mercury emissions from power plants by an average of 90% by 2009. In 2008—by which point a total of fourteen states had joined the suit—the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the EPA regulations violated the Clean Air Act. In response, EPA announced plans to propose such standards to replace the vacated Clean Air Mercury Rule, and did so on March 16, 2011.


Climate change, 2007–2017

In December 2007, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson approved a draft of a document that declared that climate change imperiled the public welfare—a decision that would trigger the first national mandatory global-warming regulations. Associate Deputy Administrator Jason Burnett e-mailed the draft to the White House. White House aides—who had long resisted mandatory regulations as a way to address climate change—knew the gist of what Johnson's finding would be, Burnett said. They also knew that once they opened the attachment, it would become a public record, making it controversial and difficult to rescind. So they did not open it; rather, they called Johnson and asked him to take back the draft. Johnson rescinded the draft; in July 2008, he issued a new version which did not state that global warming was danger to public welfare. Burnett resigned in protest. A $3 million mapping study on Climate Change Science Program#Coastal sensitivity to sea level rise (SAP 4.1), ''sea level rise'' was suppressed by EPA management during both the Bush and Obama administrations, and managers changed a key interagency report to reflect the removal of the maps. On April 28, 2017, multiple climate change subdomains at EPA.gov began redirecting to a notice stating "this page is being updated." The EPA issued a statement announcing the overhaul of its website to "reflect the agency's new direction under President Donald Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt." The removed EPA climate change domains included extensive information on the EPA's work to Climate change mitigation, mitigate climate change, as well as details of data collection efforts and indicators for climate change.


Gold King Mine waste water spill, 2015

In August 2015, the 2015 Gold King Mine waste water spill occurred when EPA contractors examined the level of pollutants such as lead and arsenic in a
Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain West The Mountain West Conference (MW) is one of the collegiate athletic conferences affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association The National Collegiate Athletic ...

Colorado
mine, and accidentally released over three million gallons of waste water into Cement Creek and the Animas River.


Collusion with Monsanto chemical company

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization, cited research linking glyphosate, an ingredient of the weed killer Roundup manufactured by the chemical company Monsanto, to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In March 2017, the presiding judge in a litigation brought about by people who claim to have developed glyphosate-related non-Hodgkin's lymphoma opened Monsanto emails and other documents related to the case, including email exchanges between the company and federal regulators. According to an article in ''The New York Times'', the "records suggested that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics and indicated that a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency had worked to quash a review of Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, that was to have been conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services." The records show that Monsanto was able to prepare "a public relations assault" on the finding after they were alerted to the determination by Jess Rowland, the head of the EPA's cancer assessment review committee at that time, months in advance. Emails also showed that Rowland "had promised to beat back an effort by the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct its own review."


Conduct of Administrator Scott Pruitt, 2017

On February 17, 2017, Scott Pruitt was appointed administrator by President Donald Trump. The Democratic Party saw the appointment as a controversial move, as Pruitt had spent most of his career challenging environmental regulations and policies. He did not have previous experience in the environmental protection field and had received financial support from the fossil fuel industry. In 2017, the Presidency of Donald Trump, Trump administration proposed a 31% cut to the EPA's budget to $5.7 billion from $8.1 billion and to eliminate a quarter of the agency jobs. However, this cut was not approved by Congress. Pruitt resigned from the position on July 5, 2018, citing "unrelenting attacks" due to ongoing ethics controversies.


Environmental justice

The EPA has been criticized for its lack of progress towards environmental justice. Administrator Christine Todd Whitman was criticized for her changes to President Bill Clinton's Executive order (United States), Executive Order 12898 during 2001, removing the requirements for government agencies to take the poor and minority populations into special consideration when making changes to environmental legislation, and therefore defeating the spirit of the Executive Order.O'Neil, S. G. (2007)
Superfund: Evaluating the Impact of Executive Order 12898
. Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 115, Number 7, pp. 1087–93
In a March 2004 report, the Office of the Inspector General, inspector general of the agency concluded that the EPA "has not developed a clear vision or a comprehensive strategic plan, and has not established values, goals, expectations, and performance measurements" for environmental justice in its daily operations. Another report in September 2006 found the agency still had failed to review the success of its programs, policies and activities towards environmental justice. Studies have also found that poor and minority populations were underserved by the EPA's
Superfund The United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, stat ...
program, and that this situation was worsening.


Barriers to enforcing environmental justice

Many environmental justice issues are local, and therefore difficult to address by a federal agency, such as the EPA. Without strong media attention, political interest, or 'crisis' status, local issues are less likely to be addressed at the federal level compared to larger, well publicized incidents. Conflicting political powers in successive administrations: The White House maintains direct control over the EPA, and its enforcement actions are subject to the political agenda of who is in power. Republicans and Democrats differ in their approaches to environmental justice. While President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 12898, the Bush administration did not develop a clear plan or establish goals for integrating environmental justice into everyday practices, affecting the motivation for environmental enforcement. The EPA is responsible for preventing and detecting environmental crimes, informing the public of environmental enforcement, and setting and monitoring standards of air pollution, water pollution, hazardous wastes and chemicals. "It is difficult to construct a specific mission statement given its wide range of responsibilities." It is impossible to address every environmental crime adequately or efficiently if there is no specific mission statement to refer to. The EPA answers to various groups, competes for resources, and confronts a wide array of harms to the environment. All of these present challenges, including a lack of resources, its self-policing policy, and a broadly defined legislation that creates too much discretion for EPA officers. The EPA "does not have the authority or resources to address injustices without an increase in federal mandates" requiring private industries to consider the environmental ramifications of their activities.


= Louisiana and environmental justice at the federal level, 2018-2021

= Congress enacted laws such as the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and CERCLA with the intent of preventing and reconciling environmental damages. Beginning in 2018 under Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler, Andrew Wheeler, EPA revised some pollution standards that resulted in less overall regulation. Furthermore, the CAA's discretionary application has caused a varied application of the law within Louisiana. In 1970, Louisiana deployed its Comprehensive Toxic Air Pollutant Emission Control Program to comply with federal law. This program does not require pollution monitoring that is equivalent to programs in other states. In 2021, President Joe Biden selected Michael Regan to serve as the EPA Chief. Regan claimed that he planned to push aggressively on key environmental issues, which starkly contrasted with his predecessor's policies. During Regan's confirmation hearing, Senator Cory Booker specifically mentioned Cancer Alley in St. John's Parish as a place where there is harm being done to low income communities of color.


Freedom of Information Act processing performance

In the latest Center for Effective Government analysis of 15 federal agencies which receive the most Freedom of Information Act (United States), Freedom of Information Act FOIA requests, published in 2015 (using 2012 and 2013 data, the most recent years available), the EPA earned a D by scoring 67 out of a possible 100 points, i.e. did not earn a satisfactory overall grade.


Scientific integrity official barred from Congressional hearing

On July 17, 2019, the top scientific integrity official from the EPA, Francesca Grifo, was not permitted to testify by the EPA in front of a House committee hearing. The EPA offered to send a different representative in place of Grifo and accused the committee of "dictating to the agency who they believe was qualified to speak." The hearing was to discuss the importance of allowing federal scientists and other employees to speak freely when and to whom they want to about their research without having to worry about any political consequences.


In popular culture

The Environmental Protection Agency is featured in ''The Simpsons Movie'' and is a core part of the plot.The Simpsons Movie (2007) plot summary https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0462538/plotsummary


See also

* Environmental policy of the Donald Trump administration * MyEnvironment – EPA Environmental indicator search by neighborhood * Earth Day


References


Further reading

* Bosso, Christopher. ''Environment, Inc.: From Grassroots to Beltway''. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2005 * Bosso, Christopher, and Deborah Guber. "Maintaining Presence: Environmental Advocacy and the Permanent Campaign." pp. 78–99 in ''Environmental Policy: New Directions for the Twenty First Century'', 6th ed., eds. Norman Vig and Michael Kraft. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2006 * Brooks, Karl Boyd, ed. ''The Environmental Legacy of Harry S. Truman'' (Truman State University Press, 2009). * Carter, Neil. ''The Politics of the Environment: Ideas, Activism, Policy'', 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007 * Davies, Kate.
The Rise of the U.S. Environmental Health Movement
' (2013). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield * Demortain, David,
''The Science of Bureaucracy: Risk Decision-Making and the US Environmental Protection Agency''. The MIT Press, 2020
* * Hays, Samuel P. ''A history of environmental politics since 1945'' (2000) * Hays, Samuel P. ''Beauty, Health, and Permanence: Environmental Politics in the United States, 1955-1985'' (1989) * Richardson, Elmo. ''Dams, Parks and Politics: Resource Development and Preservation the Truman-Eisenhower Era'' (1973). *
EPA Alumni Association, "Protecting the Environment, A Half Century of Progress"
– an overview of EPA's environmental protection efforts over 50 years
EPA Alumni Association individual Half Century of Progress reports for air, water, pesticides, drinking water, waste management, Superfund, and toxic substances


External links

*
Environmental Protection Agency
in the Federal Register {{Portal bar, Environment, Politics, United States United States Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental agencies in the United States Environmental protection agencies Environment of the United States, * 1970 establishments in Washington, D.C. 1970 in the environment Government agencies established in 1970 Regulators of biotechnology products Environmental policies organizations Environmental policy in the United States Organizations based in Washington, D.C.