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Born on this day
Gary Stanley Becker
Gary Becker is an American economist and a winner of a Nobel Prize.
49th week in year
2 December 2020

Important eventsBack

New York City's La Guardia Airport opens2.12.1939

Wikipedia (14 Jan 2014, 15:20)

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or sometimes USEPA) is an agency of the U.S. federal government which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress. The EPA was proposed by President Richard Nixon and 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 Gina McCarthy. 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 17,000 full-time employees. 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.


History

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. A key legislative option to address this concern was the declaration of a national environmental policy. 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. ยงยง 4321-4347). 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. For at least 10 years before NEPA was enacted, Congress debated issues that the act would ultimately address. The act was modeled on the Resources and Conservation Act of 1959, introduced by Senator James E. Murray in the 86th Congress. That bill would have established an environmental advisory counsel in the office of the President, declared a national environmental policy, and required the preparation of an annual environmental report. In the years following the introduction of Senator Murray's bill, similar bills were introduced and hearings were held to discuss the state of the environment and Congress's potential responses to perceived problems. In 1968, a joint House-Senate colloquium was convened by the chairmen of the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs (Senator Henry Jackson) and the House Committee on Science and Astronautics (Representative George Miller) to discuss the need for and potential 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 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.

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

   
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