Did you know that the United States has one of the safest and most reliable drinking water systems in the world? We have safe drinking water because the EPA has spent hundreds of hours developing plans, implementing them, and ensuring their effectiveness. And it’s not just water that the EPA protects; the EPA works to conserve a huge variety of natural resources related to environmental and human health, such as clean air. Without the EPA’s work to protect our natural resources, who knows where our environment and living conditions might be today.
Here, we will explore what the EPA is, and how they have worked hard to improve our environment, health, and lives.
What Is The EPA?
The EPA is the United States Environmental Protection Agency. President Richard Nixon proposed the establishment of EPA back in July of 1970. The agency began operation in December 1070 after Nixon signed an executive order. It was originally created due to increasing concerns about growing degradation to natural resources in the 1950s and 60s.
The EPA is responsible for the protection of human and environmental health. They provide rules that govern how we use natural resources in the United States. They also provide technical assistance to environmentally-related infrastructure, such as supporting the creation of wastewater treatment plants.
The EPA’s main duties include:
- Promoting energy efficiency
- Supporting environmental stewardship
- Ensuring sustainable growth
- Protecting air and water quality
- Preventing pollution
The EPA is responsible for guiding us to a safer and cleaner environment. They make decisions based on what is best for the environment as well as for humanity. By ensuring our water is clean, we use resources responsibly, and our waste is taken care of correctly, we can continue to depend on natural resources that support human health.
While the EPA is an American agency, its innovative work inspires governments and environmental agencies around the world, and many countries have similar agencies.
What Are The Three Major Responsibilities Of The EPA?
The EPA has various responsibilities to help ensure that the environment, as well as the people of America, are kept safe and clean. Below are three of the major responsibilities that they hold.
- Americans have clean air, land, and water
- National efforts to reduce environmental risks are based on the best available scientific information
- Federal laws protecting human health and the environment are administered and enforced fairly, effectively, and as Congress intended
The following responsibilities are derived from their mission statement and what they intend to accomplish while they are operating.
Additionally, they are responsible for creating laws that protect human health as well as the environment. They strive to guarantee that no matter who you are, you have access to a clean environment. Animals and critters of all types are included in this group.
How Does the EPA Affect Businesses?
The EPA provides regulations that govern how businesses conduct their practices in order to reduce damage to human health and the environment. People across the United States are becoming more aware of environmentally friendly processes to help ensure that the environment is harmed as little as possible when it comes to manufacturing and other industries. While some of this is due to increasing pressure from consumers to “go green,” many businesses today are more environmentally conscious as a result of regulatory pressure from the EPA.
EPA provides businesses with guidelines that ensure the environment around the business is kept as safe as possible from toxins and gases emitted into air, water, or land. These requirements have pushed companies to change the way their business affects the environment.
For example, The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System regulates the discharge of pollutants into U.S. waterways, helping protect the health of the ecosystem and humans that live nearby. Another example of an EPA regulation that impacts business is the The EPA Safer Choice program, which requires companies to label products in a way that helps consumers make safe choices when it comes to the chemicals in products they use in their homes.
What Has The EPA Done For America Over The Years?
There are several laws and regulations that the EPA has put into place over the years that have helped ensure the safety of humankind as well as the environment. These include:
- In 1970, the EPA passed the Clean Air Act, which gave them the power to fight air pollution. This is one of the EPA’s major roles today. Read more: History of Air Pollution and Protection.
- In 1971, the EPA, in partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, banned the use of lead-based interior paints in residences built or renovated by the federal government. This aimed to protect children’s health through lead-based paint prevention activities.
- In 1972, the EPA banned the use of DDT, a commonly used pesticide that was found to cause cancer and endanger the environment.
- In 1985, British scientists discovered a giant hole in the ozone layer, a layer of the Earth’s atmosphere that protects us from UV radiation. The EPA participated in an international convention in Vienna. As part of the convention, a worldwide cooperative effort was called to help eliminate the use of substances that deplete the ozone layer.
The Bottom Line
EPA programs work to ensure that we are using natural resources responsibly while taking care of the health and wellbeing of all living organisms. While we often take natural resources in our every day lives for granted, we have the EPA to thank for our breathable air and clean water.