The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or sometimes USEPA) is an agency of the United States 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.
Texas congressman Ron Paul has called for the EPA’s elimination, while other candidates have both vilified the agency and called for massive changes to it. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has pledged to end the EPA’s “regulatory reign of terror” and ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has said it’s “out of control.” Texas Gov. Rick Perry proposed repealing the agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases and said programs to restrict carbon dioxide emissions should be eliminated. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has railed against the EPA’s limits on mercury from coal-fired power plants. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has called for overhauling the EPA, saying it should be converted to an “environmental solutions agency.”
Under President Barack Obama, the EPA has been one of Washington's busiest agencies. Responding to a 2007 Supreme Court decision, Ms. Jackson has invoked the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide and other gases linked to climate change. Those moves have prompted lawsuits from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and other industry groups.
Perhaps anticipating resistance from congressional Republicans, who are looking to target the Environmental Protection Agency's budget, Obama has proposed a $175 million cut to the nation's environmental protector... Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, a top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told reporters last week that the GOP would be taking a hard look at the agency's assistance to states. But many of them are struggling financially and have made their own cuts to environmental programs, reducing monitoring, inspections and enforcement in communities and neighborhoods.
The EPA relies on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), a database containing assessments by EPA scientists of over 540 chemicals, when determining what regulation is required for chemicals and their effect on the quality of drinking water, air quality or other environmental standards. The problem is that these assessments are sometimes quite controversial politically as with the assessment of formaldehyde, a preservative widely used by the chemical industry, and this can cause significant delays in passing regulations.
Although it is important that EPA's scientific research and development be integrated with and responsive to the Agency's regulatory needs, it is vital that the conduct of the research itself be independent and of the highest quality. Over the past four years, EPA has taken major steps to ensure that it carries out a program of sound science to inform Agency decisions without allowing regulatory objectives to distort scientific findings or analyses.
Sometimes, the EPA must also respond to environmental emergencies. In the 1970s, residents of the city of Love Canal, N.Y., began reporting alarming environmental conditions. Puddles of toxic waste had been observed throughout the area, and although no one knew why, the city had begun to experience an unusually high rate of birth defects, miscarriages and elevated white-blood-cell counts. It turned out that much of the city was built on or near a former chemical dump site that had been owned by the Hooker Chemical Company... A short time later, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) initiated Superfund to enable the EPA to evacuate polluted areas, go after polluters and implement emergency removal actions.
Having dispatched these initiatives in spring, by early July the Administration could concentrate its full attention on the capstone of its program. Acting on Roy Ash's advice, the President decided to establish an autonomous regulatory body to oversee the enforcement of environmental policy. In a message to the House and Senate, he declared his intention to establish the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and left no doubts about its far-reaching powers.
The Nixon Administration, although preoccupied with an unpopular war and a recession-ridden economy, took some stopgap action on the environmental front in 1969. In May, President Nixon had set up a Cabinet-level Environmental Quality Council as well as a Citizens' Advisory Committee on Environmental Quality. His critics charged that these were largely ceremonial bodies, with almost no real power.
EPA develops and enforces regulations that span many environmental topics, from acid rain reduction to wetlands restoration. By selecting a topic, you will be directed to more detailed information, which may include related laws and regulations, compliance and enforcement information, and policies and guidance. Topics: Air, Cross-Cutting Issues, Emergencies, Land and Cleanup, Pesticides, Toxic Substances
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces environmental legislation passed by the U.S. Congress, and it introduces and administers various programs designed to protect the environment. Often, while the law itself stipulates which environmental standards should be achieved and in what timeframe, it is the EPA that devises the exact plan for attaining on those goals.
The EPA is a regulatory service, and by that I mean it creates rules that business must abide by in practice and Congress must consider in passing laws. It does not need Congress's approval to pass regulations.You can view the process of passing regulations here: http://www.epa.gov/lawsregs/basics.html
One of my priorities as administrator of EPA has been to continue what Rachel began by working to expand the conversation on environmentalism. Bringing people together around environmental issues is essential. We want mothers and fathers to know how important clean air, water and land are to their health and the health of their children.