Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a public institution.


That is, it is a taxpayer funded organization created to advance the public interest.


It was created in 1970 to carry out the following mission:


1) Ensure Americans are protected from environmental risks to their health.

2) Ensure the country’s efforts to reduce such risk are based on the best available scientific information.

3) Ensure that federal laws intended to protect the environment are enforced fairly and effectively.

4) Ensure that protection of the environment is considered in the country’s natural resources, health, economic, energy, transportation, agriculture, industrial, and trade policies.

5) Ensure that Americans, the government, and businesses have access to the accurate information needed to ensure environmental risks to human health are managed.                             

6) Ensure that the U.S. is a leader in working with other countries to protect the global environment.


It’s important to note that the EPA is a regulatory agency. This means that it does not create legislation related to protecting the environment; the power to do so lies solely with Congress. Rather, the EPA writes regulations which implement the environmental legislation passed by Congress.


New rules and proposed rules are published in the Federal Register.


Regulations that are implemented are then codified annually in Title 40 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).


Once the EPA has written environmental regulations, it also enforces them.


In addition to writing and enforcing environmental regulations, the EPA gives grants to a variety of organizations.


For example, it may provide a grant to an educational institution in order to fund a scientific study meant to guide the country’s environmental policy.


It also provides grants to state-level environmental programs, non-profit organizations, and others.


During the 2016 fiscal year, the E.P.A. spent 45% of its budget on grants. 


The EPA also conducts its own environmental studies through its scientific research arm, the Office of Research and Development.


In short, the EPA is a public institution created to write and enforce regulations, issue grants, and conduct scientific research in order to protect Americans from environmental risks to their health.  

Published: December 14, 2017

E.P.A. headquarters in Washington, D.C.