The UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA or sometimes USEPA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress . President Richard Nixon proposed the establishment of EPA and it began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order . The order establishing the EPA was ratified by committee hearings in the House and Senate. The agency is led by its Administrator , who is appointed by the President and approved by Congress. The current Administrator is Scott Pruitt . The EPA is not a Cabinet department, but the Administrator is normally given cabinet rank .
The EPA has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. , regional offices for each of the agency's ten regions , and 27 laboratories. The agency conducts environmental assessment, 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. states and the federally recognized tribes . 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 2016, the agency had 15,376 full-time 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. In 2017 the 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.
* 1 History
* 2 Organization
* 2.1 Offices * 2.2 Regions
* 3 Related legislation
* 3.1 Air * 3.2 Water * 3.3 Land * 3.4 Endangered species * 3.5 Hazardous waste * 3.6 Other
* 4 Programs
EPA Safer Choice
* 4.2 Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative
* 4.18.1 Barriers to enforcing environmental justice
* 5 Research vessel, 2004–2013 * 6 Advance identification * 7 Freedom of Information Act processing performance
* 8 Controversies (1983–present)
* 8.1 Fiscal mismanagement, 1983 * 8.2 Political pressure and scientific integrity, 2001–present * 8.3 Hillview reservoir cost, 2005 * 8.4 Fuel economy, 2005–2010 * 8.5 Mercury emissions, 2005 * 8.6 Climate change, 2007–2010 * 8.7 Gold King Mine waste water spill, 2015 * 8.8 President Trump, 2017
* 9 See also * 10 References * 11 Further reading * 12 External links
Stacks emitting smoke from burning discarded automobile batteries, photo taken in Houston in 1972 by Marc St. Gil (cs), official photographer of recently founded EPA Same smokestacks in 1975 after the plant was closed in a push for greater environmental protection
Beginning in the late 1950s and through the 1960s, 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 of 1959 , in the 86th Congress . The 1962 publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson alerted the public about the detrimental effects on the environment of the indiscriminate use of pesticides . 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 and the House Committee on Science and Astronautics (Representative George Miller ) 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 RCA. That bill would have established a Council on Environmental Quality in the office of the President, declared a national environmental policy, and required the preparation of an annual environmental report. President Nixon signed NEPA into law on January 1, 1970. The law created the Council on Environmental Quality (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 (EIS). Ruckelshaus sworn in as first EPA Administrator.
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. After conducting hearings during that summer, the House and Senate approved the proposal. The agency’s first administrator, William Ruckelshaus , took the oath of office on December 4, 1970.
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, the private sector felt strongly that the environmental protection movement was a passing fad, and Ruckelshaus 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 EPA is led by an Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency . As of 2017 Scott Pruitt is the 14th Administrator.
* Office of the Administrator (OA) which as of March 2017 consisted of 11 divisions, the
Office of Administrative and Executive Services, Office of Children's Health Protection, Office of Civil Rights, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, 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 Administration and Resources Management (OARM) * 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 Environmental Information (OEI) * Office of General Counsel (OGC) * Office of Inspector General (OIG) * Office of International and Tribal Affairs (OITA) * Office of Research and Development (ORD) which as of March 2017 consisted of the
National Center for Computational Toxicology, National Center for Environmental Assessment, National Center for Environmental Research, National Exposure Research Laboratory, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, National Homeland Security Research Center, National Risk Management Research Laboratory
* Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM)
which as of March 2017 consisted of the 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 the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW), Office of Science and Technology (OST), Office of Wastewater Management (OWM) and Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds (OWOW).
The administrative regions of the
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
Each regional office also implements programs on Indian Tribal lands , except those programs delegated to tribal authorities.
The laws below are general environmental protection measures, and may also apply to other units of the government, including the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture .
* 1955: Air Pollution Control Act PL 84-159 * 1963: Clean Air Act PL 88-206 * 1965: Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act PL 89-272 * 1966: Clean Air Act Amendments PL 89-675 * 1967: Air Quality Act PL 90-148 * 1970: Clean Air Act Extension PL 91-604 * 1977: Clean Air Act Amendments PL 95-95 * 1990: Clean Air Act Amendments PL 101-549
* 1948: Water Pollution Control Act PL 80-845
* 1965: Water Quality Act PL 89-234
* 1966: Clean Waters Restoration Act PL 89-753
* 1970: Water Quality Improvement Act PL 91-224
* 1972: Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments of 1972 PL 92-500
Safe Drinking Water Act
Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act PL 79-732
Endangered Species Preservation Act
Solid Waste Disposal Act PL 89-272
* 1970: Resource Recovery Act PL 91-512
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
* 1947: Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act PL 80-104 * 1969: National Environmental Policy Act PL 91-190 * 1972: Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act PL 92-516 * 1976: Toxic Substances Control Act PL 94-469 * 1982: Nuclear Waste Repository Act PL 97-425 * 1996: Food Quality Protection Act PL 104-170
A bulldozer piles boulders in an attempt to prevent lake shore
erosion, 1973 (photograph by Paul Sequeira , photojournalist and
contributing photographer to the Environmental Protection Agency's
This section IS MISSING INFORMATION ABOUT SEVERAL MAJOR EPA PROGRAMS. Please expand the section to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page . (October 2010)
It is worth noting that, in looking back in 2013 on the agency he helped shape from the beginning, Administrator William Ruckelshaus observed 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.
EPA SAFER CHOICE
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.
SAFER DETERGENTS STEWARDSHIP INITIATIVE
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 Design for the Environment, which was renamed to EPA Safer Choice in 2015, 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.
In 1992 the EPA launched the
The EPA estimates it saved about $14 billion in energy costs in 2006
EPA's Smart Growth Program 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 encourage development strategies that protect human health and the environment, create economic opportunities, and provide attractive and affordable neighborhoods for people of all income levels.
EPA administers the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (which is much older than the agency) and registers all pesticides legally sold in the United States.
Manufacturers selling automobiles in the
The testing system was originally developed in 1972 and used driving cycles designed to simulate driving during rush-hour in 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 cycles have been used for estimating how many miles an electric vehicle will get on a single charge.
The Air Quality Modeling Group (AQMG) is in the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) and leads in the full range of air quality models, atmospheric dispersion modeling and other mathematical simulation techniques used in assessing the impacts of air pollution sources and control strategies. It serves other EPA headquarters staff, EPA regional Offices, and State and local environmental agencies, coordinates with the EPA's Office of Research and Development on the development of new models and techniques, and wider issues of atmospheric research and conducts modeling analyses to support policy and regulatory decisions of the EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS). It is located in Research Triangle Park , North Carolina . Controlling air pollution helps diminish the risk of pollution-related diseases .
The EPA began regulating greenhouse gases (GHGs) from mobile and stationary sources of air pollution under the Clean Air Act (CAA) for the first time on January 2, 2011. Standards for mobile sources have been established pursuant to Section 202 of the CAA, and GHGs from stationary sources are controlled under the authority of Part C of Title I of the Act per Regulation of Greenhouse Gases Under the Clean Air Act .
OIL SPILL PREVENTION PROGRAM
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
TOXICS RELEASE INVENTORY
The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) is a resource for learning 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.
WaterSense is an EPA program launched in June 2006 to encourage water
efficiency in the
EPA ensures safe drinking water for the public, by setting standards
for more than 160,000 public water systems nationwide. EPA oversees
states, local governments and water suppliers to enforce the standards
Safe Drinking Water Act
NATIONAL POLLUTANT DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM
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 2017, EPA
has approved 46 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. See also:
EPA has the following seven project groups to protect the public from radiation.
* 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
* EPA’s Role in Emergency Response -
TOOLS FOR SCHOOLS
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 of 1990 requires EPA to provide national leadership to increase environmental literacy. EPA established the Office of Environmental Education to implement this program.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT REVIEWS
EPA is responsible for reviewing Environmental Impact Statements of other federal agencies' projects, under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
CLEAN SCHOOL BUS USA
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 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
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. In a March 2004 report,
the 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
Barriers To Enforcing Environmental Justice
This section POSSIBLY CONTAINS ORIGINAL RESEARCH . Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations . Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. (March 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message )
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 enforcements 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 the 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.
RESEARCH VESSEL, 2004–2013
OSV Bold docked at Port Canaveral,
In March 2004, the U.S. Navy transferred
USNS Bold (T-AGOS-12) , a
Stalwart class ocean surveillance ship , to the EPA. The ship had been
used in anti-submarine operations during the
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. Army Corps of Engineers and local states or Native American Tribes . As of February 1993, 38 ADID projects had been completed and 33 were ongoing.
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 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.
EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
FISCAL MISMANAGEMENT, 1983
In 1982 Congress charged that the EPA had mishandled the $1.6 billion
program to clean up hazardous waste dumps
Gorsuch, appointed by
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 2015, the
Government Accountability Office stated that the EPA
violated federal law with covert propaganda on their social media
platforms. The social media messaging that was used promoted materials
supporting the Waters of the
HILLVIEW RESERVOIR COST, 2005
In 2005, the EPA issued the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2), which requires covering open-air reservoirs containing finished drinking water, in order to reduce the incidence of disease caused by microorganisms in drinking water.
To comply with the rule the EPA ordered that a cap be placed over the Hillview Reservoir , where water bound for New York City receives its final disinfection before entering the pipelines serving the city. A number of city and state officials complained that the project was too costly and unnecessary.
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
After the federal government had bailed out
General Motors and
MERCURY EMISSIONS, 2005
In March 2005, nine states (California, New York, New Jersey, New
Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut,
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, 2007–2010
Wikinews has related news: EPA PROPOSES USING CLEAN AIR ACT TO FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING
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 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.
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
PRESIDENT TRUMP, 2017
Main article: Environmental policy of the Trump administration
Since taking office January 2017, U.S. President
Donald Trump has
sought to reduce EPA employees´ amount of public interaction via
"Some career environmental regulators who conceded that they remained
worried about what President Trump might do on policy matters—said
such orders were not much different from those delivered by the Obama
administration as it shifted policies from the departing White House
of George W. Bush." The
In February 2017, U.S. Representative
Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) sponsored 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
The initial 2018
* Environment portal * Politics portal
AP 42 Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors
* ^ A B C "EPA\'s Budget and Spending". Washington, D.C.: U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2017-01-12.
* ^ "Our Mission and What We Do". EPA. 2017-01-21.
* ^ Hiroko Tabuchi (April 10, 2017). "What’s at Stake in
Trump’s Proposed E.P.A. Cuts". Retrieved April 16, 2017.
* ^ "EPA History: Clean Air Act of 1970/1977". EPA. 2016-10-18.
* ^ A B "The Guardian: Origins of the EPA". EPA Web Archive. Spring
* ^ Griswold, Eliza (2012-09-21). "How ‘Silent Spring’ Ignited
the Environmental Movement".
New York Times