EPA Born Nearly 40 Years Ago

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was born in 1970--a time when rivers caught fire and cities were hidden under dense clouds of smoke. As taken from their website, the U.S. EPA was established to consolidate in one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting, and enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection. EPA's mission is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment—air, water, and land—upon which life depends.

Of the 11 sworn-in Agency administrators, three were women—Carol Browner, Anne Gorsuch [Burford], and Christine Todd Whitman--all working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people. A brief synopsis of EPA milestones and accomplishments breakdown as follows:
•    1970s - EPA is created. Congress passes modern environmental statutes, such as Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. EPA sets early human health exposure levels. The Supreme Court affirms EPA's role in environmental protection enforcement.
•    1980s - The Superfund law is passed to clean up old, abandoned waste sites. EPA and communities begin emergency response planning in the event of environmental accidents. States begin to run their own hazardous waste programs. Risk science begins to help EPA set priorities.
•    1990s - The Clean Air Act Amendments set the stage for further protections, such as dust and soot. Pollution prevention reduces pollution before it begins. EPA partners with companies to explore and test innovative, voluntary approaches to environmental protection.
•    2000s - Mercury emissions, visibility rules further improve air quality. EPA responds to 9/11. Clean diesel engines cut emissions from trucks, off-road equipment, and school busses.
Again, without the dedication and work of countless women and men in the EPA, the U.S. natural environment would no doubt be in much worse shape than it is now. For more information on the EPA, visit their website at www.epa.gov.