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United States Environmental Protection Agency

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Title: United States Environmental Protection Agency  
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Subject: Nissan Leaf, Pollution, Environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing in the United States, Health effects from noise, Computer-aided management of emergency operations
Collection: 1970 Establishments in the United States, 1970 in the Environment, Environment of the United States, Environmental Agencies in the United States, Environmental Policies Organizations, Environmental Policy in the United States, Environmental Protection Agencies, Government Agencies Established in 1970, Organizations Based in Washington, D.C., Regulators of Biotechnology Products, United States Environmental Protection Agency
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United States Environmental Protection Agency

Environmental Protection Agency
Logo of the Environmental Protection Agency
Flag of the Environmental Protection Agency
Agency overview
Formed December 2, 1970
Employees 15,913 (2013)[1]
Annual budget $7.901 billion (2013)[1]
Agency executives Gina McCarthy, Administrator
Bob Perciasepe, Deputy Administrator

The United States Environmental Protection Agency[2] (EPA or sometimes USEPA) is an order establishing the EPA was ratified by committee hearings in the House and Senate.[4] The agency is led by its Administrator, who is appointed by the president and approved by Congress. The current administrator is Gina McCarthy.[5] 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 federal 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.

The agency has approximately 15,193 full-time employees [6] and engages many more people on a contractual basis. More than half of EPA human resources are engineers, scientists, and environmental protection specialists; other groups include legal, public affairs, financial, and information technologists.

EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Closeup of EPA building


  • History 1
  • EPA offices 2
  • EPA regions 3
  • Related legislation 4
    • Air 4.1
    • Water 4.2
    • Land 4.3
    • Endangered species 4.4
    • Hazardous waste 4.5
  • Programs 5
    • Energy Star 5.1
    • Pesticide 5.2
    • Environmental Impact Statement Review 5.3
    • Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative 5.4
    • Fuel economy 5.5
    • Air quality 5.6
    • Oil pollution 5.7
    • WaterSense 5.8
    • Drinking water 5.9
    • Radiation Protection 5.10
  • Research vessel 6
  • Advance identification 7
  • Controversies 8
    • The "LT2" Drinking Water Controversy 8.1
    • Fiscal Mismanagement 8.2
    • Fuel economy 8.3
    • Global warming 8.4
    • Libraries 8.5
    • Mercury emissions 8.6
    • 9/11 air ratings 8.7
    • Very fine airborne particulates 8.8
    • Political pressure and Scientific Integrity 8.9
    • Environmental justice 8.10
      • Barriers to enforcing environmental justice 8.10.1
  • List of EPA administrators 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


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[7] and through the 1960s, Congress reacted to increasing public concern about the impact that human activity could have on the environment. A key legislative option to address this concern was the declaration of a national environmental policy.[8] Advocates of this approach argued that without a specific policy, federal agencies were neither able nor inclined to consider the environmental impacts of their actions in fulfilling the agency's mission. The statute that ultimately addressed this issue was the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321-4347).[9] Senator Henry M. Jackson proposed and helped write S 1075, the bill that eventually became the National Environmental Policy Act. The law was signed by President Nixon on January 1, 1970. NEPA was the first of several major environmental laws passed in the 1970s. It declared a national policy to protect the environment and created a Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in the Executive Office of the President. To implement the national policy, 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).

In 1970, President Richard Nixon proposed an executive reorganization that would consolidate many of the federal government's environmental responsibilities under one agency, a new Environmental Protection Agency. That reorganization proposal was reviewed and passed by the House and Senate.[10] For at least 10 years before NEPA was enacted,[11] Congress debated issues that the act would ultimately address. The act was modeled on the Resources and Conservation Act of 1959, introduced by Senator

  • Official website
  • Environmental Protection Agency in the Federal Register
  • Air and Radiation — Partnership between EPA and Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) to prevent air pollution.
  • RadNet — EPA's nationwide radiation monitoring system
  • — Haz Waste Site Cleanup Information by US EPA Technology Innovation Program.
  • Technical Report Archive and Image Library (TRAIL) — Historic technical reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (and other Federal agencies) are available here.
  • — created using EPA's Toxic Release Inventory Map.
  • Collected Papers of William Sanjour — a retired EPA employee and whistleblower.
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency collected news and commentary at The Washington Post
  • Selected Digitized Environmental Protection Agency Records —
    available in the National Archives' Archival Research Catalog

External links

  1. ^ a b "EPA's Budget and Spending | Planning Budget Results". US EPA. United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2014-03-04. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  2. ^ "US Environmental Protection Agency". Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Our Mission and What We Do". US EPA. Retrieved 8 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Public Access – When and how was the EPA Created?". U.S. EPA. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Obama, Barack (4 March 2013). "Remarks by the President in Personnel Announcements". White House Press Release. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Joseph Kahn and Jim Yardley (August 26, 2007). "As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes".  
    Also see U.S. Census Bureau spreadsheet
  7. ^ "History of the Clean Air Act". Clean Air Act website. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2012-01-17. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  8. ^ Luther, Linda. "The National Environmental Policy Act: Background and Implementation". Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "The Guardian: Origins of the EPA". EPA History webpage. United States Environmental Protection Agency website. 1992. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  10. ^ Environmental Protection Agency. "When and how was EPA Created?". Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  11. ^ Jackson, H.M. "Scoop" (1969-07-09). "Senate Report No. 91-296 - NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT OF 1969". Calendar 287. U.S. Congress. p. 11. Retrieved 2013-03-10. 
  12. ^ "Legislative Accomplishments :: Henry M. Jackson Foundation". Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Wald, Matthew L. "E.P.A. Building Re-named for Clinton". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "About the Office of the Administrator | About EPA | US EPA". 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  16. ^ "About the Office of Administration and Resources Management (OARM) | About EPA | US EPA". 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  17. ^ "About the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) | About EPA | US EPA". 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  18. ^ "About the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) ;". 2014-05-13. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ "About the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) | About EPA | US EPA". 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  21. ^ "About the Office of Environmental Information (OEI) | About EPA | US EPA". 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  22. ^ "About the Office of General Counsel (OGC) | About EPA | US EPA". 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  23. ^ [2]
  24. ^ "About the Office of International and Tribal Affairs (OITA) | About EPA | US EPA". 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  25. ^ "About the Office of Research and Development (ORD) | About EPA | US EPA". 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  26. ^ "About the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) | About EPA | US EPA". 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  27. ^ "About the Office of Water | About EPA | US EPA". 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  28. ^ "EPA SDSI Home Page". 2008-12-22. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  29. ^ "CleanGredients Home Page". Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  30. ^ "Federal Test Procedure Revisions". 1996-10-22. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  31. ^ "EPA Fuel Economy". Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  32. ^ "Welcome to Your MPG!". Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  33. ^ "The Truth About EPA City / Highway MPG Estimates". August 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  34. ^ Previous post Next post (2010-11-17). "Honda Finds EVs a Perfect Fit | Autopia". Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  35. ^ Turner, D.B. (1994). Workbook of atmospheric dispersion estimates: an introduction to dispersion modeling (2nd ed.). CRC Press.
  36. ^ Beychok, M.R. (2005).
  37. ^ U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, DC. "WaterSense Timeline." Revised 2011-04-14.
  38. ^ EPA. "WaterSense."
  39. ^ Sandy Bauers (2012-12-07). "Spike in iodine-131 found in city water".  
  40. ^ "Iodine-131 levels in Philadelphia, PA drinking water". EPA RadNet Environfacts. EPA. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  41. ^ Jeff McMahon (2013-04-10). "EPA Draft Stirs Fears of Radically Relaxed Radiation Guidelines". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-05-14. 
  42. ^ Radiation Protection Programs retrieved 2011-7-9
  43. ^ "Radioactive Waste Management" (website). EPA. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  44. ^ "Radioactive Waste Management" (website). EPA. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  45. ^ "EPA Protective Action Guides, Draft for interim use" (PDF). EPA. 2 April 2013. p. 86. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  46. ^ "EPA Cleanup and Multi-Agency Programs" (website). EPA. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  47. ^ "Risk Assessment and Federal Guidance Programs" (website). EPA. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  48. ^ "Naturally-Occurring Radiation Program" (website). EPA. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  49. ^ "Radionuclides in Air and Water" (website). EPA. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  50. ^ "Radiation Source Reduction and Management" (website). EPA. 7 February 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  51. ^ "About the OSV Bold". EPA. pp. EPA 842–F–05–004. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  52. ^ Long, Katherine. "What a $5,000 deal: Seattle Central gets former Navy ship | Local News". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  53. ^ "EPA – Wetlands – Wetlands Fact Sheet". 2006-06-28. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  54. ^ Regulations Create Jobs, Too; Vilified on the campaign trail, government rules often create as many jobs as they kill, February 09, 2012
  55. ^ GOP freshmen return, resume effort to roll back regulations 9/6/2011
  56. ^ A Debate Arises on Job Creation and Environment September 4, 2011
  57. ^ Is the EPA really a 'jobs killer'? November 22, 2011
  58. ^ "LT2 Rule | Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule | US EPA". Retrieved 2014-10-30. 
  59. ^ "Lost in Yonkers?Head South from Hillview". Weekly Pipeline (NYC Department of Environmental Protection) II (80). 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2014-10-30. 
  60. ^ "Federal government may scrap much-derided $1.6 billion reservoir cap". NY Daily News. 2011-08-21. Retrieved 2014-10-30. 
  61. ^ KOIN Local 6 (2013-06-03). "City to drop reservoir fight". Portland Tribune. Retrieved 2014-10-30. 
  62. ^ "Uncovered Reservoirs". City of Portland Water Bureau. Retrieved 2014-10-30. 
  63. ^ Views from the Former Administrators, EPA Journal, November 1985.
  64. ^ Sullivan, Patricia. Anne Gorsuch Burford, 62, Dies; Reagan EPA Director, Washington Post, July 22, 2004; Page B06.
  65. ^ By DOUGLAS MARTINPublished: July 22, 2004 (2004-07-22). "Anne Gorsuch Burford, 62, Reagan E.P.A. Chief, Dies - New York Times". Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  66. ^ "Burford Resigns As Administrator of Embattled EPA", Toledo Blade, Mar 10, 1983, p. 1
  67. ^ Ingersoll, Bruce. Burford out; agency is in 'a shambles', Spokane Chronicle, March 10, 1983
  68. ^ Danny Hakim (July 28, 2005). "E.P.A. Holds Back Report on Car Fuel Efficiency".  
  69. ^
  70. ^ "EPA Denies California Waiver".  
  71. ^ Simon, Richard; Wilson, Janet (2007-12-20). "EPA denies California's right to mandate emissions".  
  72. ^ "Absurdity at the EPA: Denying California emissions plan a new low | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Opinion: Editorials".  
  73. ^ "Text of Letter from Gov. Schwarzenegger and 13 other Governors Regarding U.S. EPA's Denial of California's Tailpipe Emissions Waiver Request". Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  74. ^ Wilson, Janet (2007-12-21). "EPA chief is said to have ignored staff".  
  75. ^ "2010 Chevrolet Equinox LT2 Full Test and Video". Edmunds  
  76. ^ Jared Gall (August 2009). "2010 Chevrolet Equinox LT - Short Take Road Test". Car and Driver. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  77. ^ John Voelcker (2009-10-27). "Drive Report: 26mpg in 2010 Chevrolet Equinox Four-Cylinder". Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  78. ^ "Why the Chevy Equinox EPA Mileage Numbers Don't Add Up". Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  79. ^ "2010 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2011 Kia Sorento, Program #2939". Motorweek. 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  81. ^ Commodities Talk- by Hanim Adnan (2012-03-27). "Archives | The Star Online". Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  82. ^ "Orang-utan pushed to the brink by palm oil plantations in Borneo". Iucn Nl. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  83. ^ U.S. Official Edited Warming, Emission Link - Report, Reuters, June 8, 2005
  84. ^ White House Official Resigns After Climate Documents Flap, Agence France Presse, June 12, 2005
  85. ^ Ex-White House environment official joins Exxon, Reuters, June 15, 2005
  86. ^ John Shiffman and John Sullivan (December 7, 2008). "An Eroding Mission at EPA; The Bush administration has weakened the agency charged with safeguarding health and the environment".  
  87. ^ "Notification of Closure of the EPA Headquarters Library" (pdf), September 20, 2006
  88. ^ Letter to Appropriations Committee, Interior and Related Agencies Subcommittee, June 29, 2006 (pdf), from leaders of 16 local EPA unions
  89. ^ EPA Newsbrief, October 1, 2008. Retrieved January 17, 2009.
  90. ^ "EPA Library Network Strategic Plan FY 2012- FY 2014 | EPA National Library Network | US EPA". 2006-06-28. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  91. ^ Proposed Mercury Rules Bear Industry Mark, Washington Post, January 31, 2004
  92. ^ EPA Inspector Finds Mercury Proposal Tainted, Washington Post, February 4, 2005
  93. ^ New EPA Mercury Rule Omits Conflicting Data, Washington Post, March 22, 2005
  94. ^ States Sue EPA Over Mercury Emissions, LA Times, March 30, 2005
  95. ^ Governor Blagojevich and Illinois EPA Propose Aggressive Mercury Controls For Illinois Power Plants, Environmental Progress, Spring 2006, page 12
  96. ^ "Reasons Why Particulate Matter (PM) Should be Included in EPA Settlements with Electric Utility Companies" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  97. ^ [3]
  98. ^ "PM Standards Revision - 2006 | Particulate Matter | Air & Radiation | US EPA". Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  99. ^ "Meddling at EPA? Activists point to survey; Two thirds of 1,586 EPA scientists polled cite interference, UCS reports". Associated Press. April 23, 2008. 
  100. ^ Stedeford, Todd (2007). "Prior Restraint and Censorship: Acknowledged Occupational Hazards for Government Scientists". William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review 31 (3): 725–745.  
  101. ^ Ibid p. 738 note 95.
  102. ^ Ibid p. 736-40.
  103. ^ Josh Harkinson and Kate Sheppard (April 27, 2010). "Coastal Collapse". Slate. Retrieved 1 June 1010. 
  104. ^ a b Urbina, Ian (3 March 2011). "Pressure Limits Efforts to Police Drilling for Gas". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2012. More than a quarter-century of efforts by some lawmakers and regulators to force the federal government to police the industry better have been thwarted, as E.P.A. studies have been repeatedly narrowed in scope and important findings have been removed 
  105. ^ DiCosmo, Bridget (15 May 2012). "SAB Pushes To Advise EPA To Conduct Toxicity Tests In Fracking Study". InsideEPA.  
  106. ^ Satterfield, John (30 June 2011). "Letter from Chesapeake Energy to EPA" (PDF). InsideEPA ( 
  107. ^ "The Debate Over the Hydrofracking Study's Scope". The New York Times. 3 March 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2012. While environmentalists have aggressively lobbied the agency to broaden the scope of the study, industry has lobbied the agency to narrow this focus 
  108. ^ "Natural Gas Documents". The New York Times. 27 February 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2012. The Times reviewed more than 30,000 pages of documents obtained through open records requests of state and federal agencies and by visiting various regional offices that oversee drilling in Pennsylvania. Some of the documents were leaked by state or federal officials. 
  109. ^ a b O'Neil, S. G. (2007). Superfund: Evaluating the Impact of Executive Order 12898. Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 115, Number 7, pgs 1087–1093
  110. ^ Bullard, Robert (2007-07-25). "Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Regarding Environmental Justice". 
  111. ^ Bullard, Robert. Growing Smarter: Achieving Livable Communities, Environmental Justice, and Regional Equity. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2007
  112. ^ Rosenbaum, W. A. "Still reforming after all these years: George W. Bush's new era' at the EPA. Environmental Policy: New directions for the Twenty-first century. Washington DC: CQ Press, 2003
  113. ^ Burns, Ronald G. Michael J. Lynch, and Paul Stretesky. Environmental Law, Crime, and Justice. New York: LFB Scholarly publishing Inc, 2008
  114. ^ Environmental Justice Coalition (EJC). "Environmental Justice act of 2009." Environmental Justice Coalition, 2008. EJ Coalition Online:


See also

List of EPA administrators

Authority of the EPA Under different circumstances, the EPA faces many limitations to enforcing environmental justice. It 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.[114]

Responsibilities of the EPA 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. While the EPA aids in preventing and identifying hazardous situations, it is hard to construct a specific mission statement given its wide range of responsibilities.[112] 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.[113]

Conflicting political powers 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, and perceived concerns of, 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, which in turn affected the motivation for environmental enforcement.[111]

Localization Many issues of environmental justice are localized, and are therefore hard to be addressed by federal agencies such as the EPA. Without significant media attention, political interest, or 'crisis' status, local issues are less likely to be addressed at the local or federal level. With a still developing sector of environmental justice under the EPA, small, local incidents are unlikely to be solved compared to larger, well publicized incidents.

Barriers to enforcing 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 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.[109] 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.[110] Studies have also found that poor and minority populations were underserved by the EPA's Superfund program, and that this situation was worsening.[109]

Environmental justice

EPA research has also been suppressed by career managers.[100] 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".[101] EPA subjects employees who author scientific papers to prior restraint, even if those papers are written on personal time.[102] 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.[103] EPA employees have reported difficulty in conducting and reporting the results of studies on hydraulic fracturing due to industry[104][105][106] and governmental pressure, and are concerned about the censorship of environmental reports.[104][107][108]

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.[99]

Political pressure and Scientific Integrity

The EPA first established standards in 1997, and strengthened them in 2006. As with other standards, regulation and enforcement of the PM2.5 standards is the responsibility of the state governments, through State Implementation Plans.[98]

Tiny particles, under 2.5 micrometres, are attributed to health and mortality concerns,[96] so some health advocates want the EPA to regulate it. The science may be in its infancy, although many conferences have discussed the trails of this airborne matter in the air. Foreign governments such as Australia[97] and most EU States have addressed this issue.

Very fine airborne particulates

An Environmental Protection Agency employee checks one of the many air sampling locations set up around the World Trade Center site.

An August 2003 report released by EPA's Inspector General claimed that the White House put pressure on the EPA to delete cautionary information about the air quality in New York City around Ground Zero following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

9/11 air ratings

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 inspector general had determined that the EPA's regulation of mercury emissions did not follow the Clean Air Act, and that the regulations were influenced by top political appointees.[91][92] The EPA had suppressed a study it commissioned by Harvard University which contradicted its position on mercury controls.[93] The suit alleges that the EPA's rule allowing exemption from "maximum available control technology" was illegal, and additionally charged that the EPA's system of pollution credit trading allows power plants to forego reducing mercury emissions.[94] 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.[95]

Mercury emissions

In June 2011, the EPA Library Network published a strategic plan[90] for fiscal years 2012-2014.

On October 1, 2008, the Agency re-opened regional libraries in Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City and the library at its Headquarters in Washington, DC.[89]

In 2004, the Agency began a strategic planning exercise to develop plans for a more virtual approach to library services. The effort was curtailed in July 2005 when the Agency proposed a $2.5 million cut in its 2007 budget for libraries. Based on the proposed 2007 budget, the EPA posted a notice to the Federal Register, September 20, 2006 that EPA Headquarters Library would close its doors to walk-in patrons and visitors on October 1, 2006.[87] The EPA also closed some of its regional libraries and reduced hours in others,[88] using the same FY 2007 proposed budget numbers.


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. U.S. law clearly stated that the final decision was the EPA administrator's, not President Bush's. 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.[86]

In June 2005, a memo revealed that Philip Cooney, former chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and former lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, had personally edited documents, summarizing government research on climate change, before their release.[83] Cooney resigned two days after the memo was published in The New York Times. Cooney said he had been planning to resign for over two years, implying the timing of his resignation was just a coincidence. Specifically, he said he had planned to resign to "spend time with his family."[84] One week after resigning he took a job at Exxon Mobil in their public affairs department.[85]

Global warming

After the federal government bailed out General Motors and Chrysler in the Automotive industry crisis of 2008–2010, the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox was released with EPA fuel economy rating abnormally higher than its competitors. Independent road tests[75][76][77][78] found that both vehicle did not out-perform its competitors, which had much lower fuel economy ratings. Later road tests[79][80] found better, but inconclusive, results. Palm-based biodiesel and renewable diesel failed to meet the minimum 20% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings threshold requirement to qualify as renewable fuels under the US Renewable Fuel Standard 2.[81] Palm oil plantations threaten the habitats of the endangered orang-utan and dwarf elephant.[82]

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.[69] 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.[70][71][72] 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.[73] It was reported that Stephen Johnson ignored his own staff in making this decision.[74]

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 at the last minute the EPA delayed its release.[68]

Fuel economy

In 1982 Congress charged that the EPA had mishandled the $1.6 billion toxic waste Superfund and demanded records from Gorsuch. Gorsuch refused and became the first agency director in U.S. history to be cited for contempt of Congress. The EPA turned the documents over to Congress several months later, after the White House abandoned its court claim that the documents could not be subpoened by Congress because they were covered by executive privilege. At that point, Gorsuch resigned her post, citing pressures caused by the media and the congressional investigation.[66] Critics charged that the EPA was in a shambles at that time.[67]

EPA director Anne M. Gorsuch resigned under fire in 1983 during a scandal over mismanagement of a $1.6 billion program to clean up hazardous waste dumps. Gorsuch based her administration of the EPA on the New Federalism approach of downsizing federal agencies by delegating their functions and services to the individual states.[63] She believed that the 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.[64] Environmentalists contended that her policies were designed to placate polluters, and accused her of trying to dismantle the Agency.[65]

Fiscal Mismanagement

In Portland, Oregon there was opposition to capping its reservoirs from a local citizens group and city officials, but recently the city has decided to stop fighting and bring its reservoirs into compliance with LT2.[61][62]

To comply with the rule the EPA ordered that a cap be placed over the Hillview Reservoir, the open reservoir where water bound for New York City’s receives its final disinfection before entering the pipelines that serve the city.[59] A number of city and state officials complained that the project was too costly and unnecessary.[60] The Hillview project is currently being reviewed by the EPA.

In 2005 the EPA issued a rule known as LT2,[58] to reduce the incidence of disease caused by microorganisms in drinking water. The rule requires covering open-air reservoirs containing finished drinking water.

The "LT2" Drinking Water Controversy

There has been political controversy over whether environmental regulations generally increase or decrease national employment.[54][55][56][57]


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.[53]

Advance identification

On March 3, 2004, the United States Navy transferred USNS Bold, a Stalwart class ocean surveillance ship, to the EPA, now known as OSV Bold. The ship, previously used in anti-submarine operations during the Cold War, is 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 sites where materials are dumped from dredging operations in U.S. ports for ecological impact.[51] In 2013, the Bold was awarded to Seattle Central Community College (SCCC) by the General Services Administration. SCCC demonstrated in a competition that they would put it to the highest and best purpose, and acquired the ship at a cost of $5,000.[52]

OSV Bold docked at Port Canaveral, FL

Research vessel

  1. EPA Cleanup and Multi-Agency Programs[46]
  2. Risk Assessment and Federal Guidance Programs[47]
  3. Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Materials Program[48]
  4. Air and Water Programs[49]
  5. Radiation Source Reduction and Management[50]
Protective Action Guides And Planning Guidance for Radiological Incidents
EPA developed the manual[45] to provide guideline for local and state governments to protect public from nuclear accident.
  1. Radioactive Waste Management[43]
  2. Emergency Preparedness and Response Programs [44]

EPA has the following seven project groups to protect the public from radiation.[42]

Radiation Protection

EPA ensures safe drinking water for the public, by setting standards for more than 160,000 public water systems throughout the United States. EPA oversees states, local governments and water suppliers to enforce the standards, under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program includes regulation of injection wells in order to protect underground sources of drinking water. Select readings of amounts of certain contaminants in drinking water, precipitation, and surface water, in addition to milk and air, are reported on EPA's Rad Net web site in a section entitled Envirofacts. In certain cases, readings exceeding EPA MCL levels are deleted or not included[39][40] despite mandatory reporting regulations. A draft of revised EPA regulations relaxes the regulations for radiation exposure through drinking water, stating that current standards are impractical to enforce. The EPA is recommending that intervention is not necessary until drinking water is contaminated with radioactive iodine 131 at a concentration of 81,000 picocuries per liter (the limit for short term exposure set by the International Atomic Energy Agency), which is 27,000 times the current EPA limit of 3 picocuries per liter for long term exposure.[41]

Drinking water

WaterSense is an EPA program designed to encourage water efficiency in the United States through the use of a special label on consumer products. It was launched in June 2006.[37] Products include high-efficiency toilets (HETs), bathroom sink faucets (and accessories), and irrigation equipment. WaterSense is a voluntary program, with EPA developing specifications for water-efficient products through a public process and product testing by independent laboratories.[38]


SPCC: Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Rule. Applies to all facilities that store, handle, process, gather, transfer, store, 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, (including oils from seeds, nuts, fruits, and kernels). Mandates that a written plan is required for facilities that store more than 1,320 gallons of fuel above ground or more than 42,000 gallons below-ground, and may reasonably be expected to discharge to navigable waters(as defined in the Clean Water Act)or adjoining shorelines. Secondary Containment mandated at oil storage facilities. Oil release containment is required at oil development sites.

Oil pollution

The AQMG is located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

The AQMG serves as the focal point on air pollution modeling techniques for other EPA headquarters staff, EPA regional Offices, and State and local environmental agencies. It coordinates with the EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) on the development of new models and techniques, as well as wider issues of atmospheric research. Finally, the AQMG conducts modeling analyses to support the policy and regulatory decisions of the EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS).

The Air Quality Modeling Group (AQMG) is in the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) and provides leadership and direction on the full range of air quality models, air pollution dispersion models[35][36] and other mathematical simulation techniques used in assessing pollution control strategies and the impacts of air pollution sources.

Air quality

Although originally created as a reference point for fossil fuelled vehicles, driving cycles have been used for estimating how many miles an electric vehicle will do on a single charge.[34]

It is important to note that the EPA actually conducts these tests on very few vehicles. "While the public mistakenly presumes that this federal agency is hard at work conducting complicated tests on every new model of truck, van, car, and SUV, in reality, 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."[33] Two-thirds of the vehicles the EPA tests themselves are selected randomly, and the remaining third are tested for specific reasons.

In February 2005, the organization launched a program called "Your MPG"[32] 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 the original EPA test results.

The current testing system was originally developed in 1972 and used driving cycles designed to simulate driving during rush-hour in Los Angeles during that era. Prior to 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[30] 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. The updated testing methodology was finalized in December, 2006 for implementation with model year 2008 vehicles and set the precedent of a 12-year review cycle for the test procedures.[31]

Manufacturers selling automobiles in the USA are required to provide EPA fuel economy test results for their vehicles and the manufacturers are not allowed to provide results from alternate sources. The fuel economy is calculated using the emissions data collected during two of the vehicle's Clean Air Act certification tests by measuring the total volume of carbon captured from the exhaust during the tests.

Fuel economy

The Design for the Environment has identified safer alternative surfactants through partnerships with industry and environmental advocates. These safer alternatives are comparable in cost and are readily available. CleanGredients[29] is a source of safer surfactants.

Through the Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative (SDSI),[28] 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.

Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative

EPA is responsible for reviewing Environmental Impact Statements of other federal agencies' projects, under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Environmental Impact Statement Review

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.


In 1992 the EPA launched the Energy Star program, a voluntary program that fosters energy efficiency.

Energy Star

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 DOCUMERICA project in the early 1970s)


Hazardous waste

Endangered species




The legislation here is general environmental protection legislation, and may also apply to other units of the government, including the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture.

Related legislation

Each regional office also implements programs on Indian Tribal lands, except those programs delegated to Tribal authorities.

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.

The administrative regions of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA regions

  • Office of the Administrator (OA)[15]
  • Office of Administration and Resources Management (OARM)[16]
  • Office of Air and Radiation (OAR)[17]
  • Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP)[18]
  • Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)[19]
  • Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)[20]
  • Office of Environmental Information (OEI)[21]
  • Office of General Counsel (OGC)[22]
  • Office of Inspector General (OIG)[23]
  • Office of International and Tribal Affairs (OITA)[24]
  • Office of Research and Development (ORD)[25]
  • Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER)[26]
  • Office of Water (OW)[27]

EPA offices

On July 17, 2013, the EPA renamed its headquarters the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building, after former president Bill Clinton.[14]

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. See the page Regulation of Greenhouse Gases Under the Clean Air Act for further information.


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