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Environmental Protection Agency

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EPA redirects here. For the omega-3 fatty acid, see Eicosapentaenoic acid. For the city, see East Palo Alto, California.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or sometimes USEPA) is an agency of the United States federal government charged with protecting human health and with safeguarding the natural environment: air, water, and land. The EPA began operation on December 2, 1970. It is led by its Administrator, who is appointed by the President of the United States. The EPA is not a Cabinet agency, but the Administrator is normally given cabinet rank. The current Administrator (as of 2005) is Stephen L. Johnson.

Contents

Overview

The EPA comprises 18,000 people in headquarters program offices, 10 regional offices, and 17 labs across the country. The EPA employs a highly educated, technically trained staff, more than half of whom are engineers, scientists, and environmental protection specialists. A large number of employees are legal, public affairs, financial, and computer specialists.

The EPA provides leadership in the nation's environmental science, research, education, and assessment efforts. The EPA works closely with other federal agencies, state and local governments, and Native American tribes to develop and enforce regulations under existing environmental laws. The EPA is responsible for researching and setting national standards for a variety of environmental programs and delegates to states and tribes responsibility for issuing permits, and monitoring and enforcing compliance. Where national standards are not met, the EPA can issue sanctions and take other steps to assist the states and tribes in reaching the desired levels of environmental quality. 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 July of 1970, the law that established the EPA was passed in response to the growing public demand for cleaner water, air and land. Prior to the establishment of the EPA, the federal government was not structured to make a coordinated attack on the pollutants which harm human health and degrade the environment. The EPA was assigned the task of repairing the damage already done to the natural environment and to establish new criteria to guide Americans in making a cleaner environment a reality.

In 1992 the EPA launched the Energy Star program.

Fuel economy

American automobile manufacturers are required to use EPA fuel economy test results to advertise the gas mileage of their vehicles, and the manufacturers are disallowed from providing results from alternate sources. However, the tests have been questioned, because they do not measure actual fuel consumption but rather base measurements on tailpipe emissions. As emissions standards have become more strict, the test has drifted away from actual vehicle performance. The EPA's current testing system was developed in 1972. It apparently takes little to no consideration of carbon dioxide as it is not a regulated part of motor vehicle exhaust in the United States, even though it is the primary component.

In the 1980s, an EPA study showed that customers were obtaining significantly lower mileage than the EPA rating. The agency correspondingly reduced advertised city mileage by 10% and highway mileage by 22%, but there continue to be significant differences. As of the 2000s decade, this problem is most evident in hybrid vehicles, which sometimes produce zero emissions (when running on batteries).

In February 2005, the organization 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 the original EPA test results.


Related legislation

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.

Air

Water

Land

Endangered species

Hazardous waste

EPA regional offices

Each EPA regional office is responsible within its states for the execution of the Agency's programs.

Region 1 - responsible within the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Region 2 - responsible within the states of New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Region 3 - responsible within the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Region 4 - responsible within the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Region 5 - responsible within the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Region 6 - responsible within the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Region 7 - responsible within the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

Region 8 - responsible within the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

Region 9 - responsible within the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the territories of Guam and American Samoa.

Region 10 - responsible within the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

List of EPA administrators

1970–1973William D. Ruckelshaus
1973–1977Russell E. Train
1977–1981Douglas M. Costle
1981–1983Anne M. Gorsuch (Burford)
1983–1985William D. Ruckelshaus
1985–1989Lee M. Thomas
1989–1993William K. Reilly
1993–2001Carol M. Browner
2001–2003Christine Todd Whitman
2003–2005Michael O. Leavitt
2005—Stephen L. Johnson

See also

External links

nl:Environmental Protection Agency

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