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Following are some of the most common questions about this site, environmental issues and/or the EPA that are asked via Environmental Health and Safety Online's web site. You may find the information that you are looking for here. If you don't find the answer that you need in our FAQ, then you can submit a request from our feedback form or by sending an e-mail message to [email protected]
According to the publication "The Guardian: Origins of the EPA," President Nixon declared his intention to establish the Environmental Protection Agency with Reorganization Plan Number 3, dated July 9, 1970. The EPA's mission would include:
"The establishment and enforcement of environmental protection standards consistent with national environmental goals... The conduct of research on the adverse effects of pollution and on methods and equipment for controlling it; the gathering of information on pollution; and the use of this information in strengthening environmental protection programs and recommending policy changes... assisting others, through grants, technical assistance and other means, in arresting pollution of the environment... assisting the Council on Environmental Quality in developing and recommending to the President new policies for the protection of the environment."
After being cleared through hearings in the Senate and House of Representatives, the EPA came into being on December 2, 1970.
You can obtain a copy of this publication free-of-charge by calling the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP, formerly NCEPI) at 1-800-490-9198. There is also another title called "Guardian: EPA's Formative years, 1970-73" that you can get at NSCEP. To place your order, call NSCEP at the above 1-800 number and give them the title with the report number:
Guardian: Origins of the EPA (report# EPA 202 K92 004)
Guardian: EPA's Formative years, 1970-73 (report# EPA 202 K93 002)
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Many EPA publications are available free-of-charge from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP, formerly NCEPI), which is located in Cincinnati, OH. To order publications, call NSCEP toll-free at 1-800-490-9198. To search a catalog of EPA publications, and for further information about EPA publications, visit NSCEP's web site.
EPA's automated National People Locator contains the telephone numbers of most EPA employees and associated contractors. You can search the locator by the name of the employee. The main mailing address for EPA is:
Environmental Protection Agency
401 M St, SW
Washington, DC 20460
To send a letter to a certain person, you would need to add their name, and the appropriate mail code (listed in the National People Locator) for the employee's office to the above address.
There is also a list of mailing addresses for EPA's regional offices .
State and local governments have responsibility for enforcing most environmental laws in the area where you live. You can locate these government offices through your telephone directory. In most communities, the responsible agency is the city or county health department. At the state level, an environmental agency carries out the pollution control laws, whereas an agriculture agency often handles regulation of pesticides. If these sources can't help you, contact your regional EPA office .
For more information, see out detailed page about " how to report violations "
Environmental emergencies such as oil and chemical spills should be reported immediately to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802. For more information on environmental emergencies, visit EHSO's Concerned Citizens' Environmental Violations page.
EPA produces a summary of the EPA budget each year. The current year's summary is available electronically from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer . Print copies and copies from past years may be available from the EPA Budget Office by calling (202) 260-4157.
The Office of Human Resources and Organizational Services is the key contact for all employment information within the EPA. However, job information is not contained centrally on the EPA Internet server, but is instead maintained by the Federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) . OPM offers information about all federal jobs that fit specific qualifications, and will soon be searchable by specific Agencies or Departments.
For environmental general employment/career information, please access the "Environmental Careers Resource Guide" . This document contains fact sheets concerning different environmental careers, and links to a "Regional Human Resource Offices" page which provides phone numbers and addresses for EPA offices. For the Washington DC area you can call the jobs hotline at 202-260-6000, or call Employee Services at 202-260-3267.
EPA offers several opportunities for internships. You can find information on these opportunities from the Office of Human Resources and Organizational Services students web site .
You may also wish to contact your regional EPA office for information about more internship opportunities. If you call the Human Resources phone number at the office to which you would like to apply, the staff member can direct you to offices with summer internship openings.
For information about obtaining a graduate research fellowship grant, we suggest that you contact the EPA Grants and Fellowship Hotline at 1-800-490-9194. Application information is also available electronically.
Application due dates for the next school year vary from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15.
You may find proposed regulations on the EPA web site or through the EHSO for environmental professional's site . Comments for the EPA to consider on proposed rules should be submitted to the EPA docket for the regulatory area that oversees the rule. Many dockets accept comments via e-mail. Consult the list of EPA dockets for the address, telephone number and e-mail address for the docket you may wish to contact.
EPA has many assistance programs for small business and provides information with the small business entrepreneur in mind. The Small Business Gateway offers complete information about regulations and policies that relate to small business.
EPA was established as an independent agency on December 2, 1970. Its first Agency Administrator, William D. Ruckelshaus, was sworn in on December 4, 1970.
Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970
Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970 , prepared in accordance with chapter 9 of title 5 of the U.S. Code, was devised to consolidate the Federal Government's environmental regulatory activities under the jurisdiction of a single Agency. President Richard Nixon transmitted the plan to Congress on July 9, 1970.
(Source: U.S. Code, Congressional and Administrative News, 91st Congress--2nd Session, Vol. 3, 1970).
The mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment--air, water, and land--upon which life depends.
EPA's purpose is to ensure that:
- All Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work.
- National efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information.
- Federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively.
- Environmental protection is an integral consideration in U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy.
- All parts of society--communities, individuals, business, state and local governments, tribal governments--have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks.
- Environmental protection contributes to making our communities and ecosystems diverse, sustainable and economically productive.
- The United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment.
For more information on EPA goals and Agency approaches to achieving its goals, see the EPA Strategic Plan .
CLEAN AIR: The air in every American community will be safe and healthy to breathe. In particular, children, the elderly, and people with respiratory ailments will be protected from health risks of breathing polluted air. Reducing air pollution will also protect the environment, resulting in many benefits, such as restoring life in damaged ecosystems and reducing health risks to those whose subsistence depends directly on those ecosystems.
CLEAN AND SAFE WATER: All Americans will have drinking water that is clean and safe to drink. Effective protection of America's rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, and coastal and ocean waters will sustain fish, plants, and wildlife, as well as recreational, subsistence, and economic activities. Watersheds and their aquatic ecosystems will be restored and protected to improve public health, enhance water quality, reduce flooding, and provide habitat for wildlife.
SAFE FOOD: The foods Americans eat will be free from unsafe pesticide residues. Children especially will be protected from the health threats posed by pesticide residues, because they are among the most vulnerable groups in our society.
PREVENTING POLLUTION AND REDUCING RISK IN COMMUNITIES, HOMES, WORKPLACES AND ECOSYSTEMS: Pollution prevention and risk management strategies aimed at cost-effectively eliminating, reducing, or minimizing emissions and contamination will result in cleaner and safer environments in which all Americans can reside, work, and enjoy life. EPA will safeguard ecosystems and promote the health of natural communities that are integral to the quality of life in this nation.
REDUCTION OF GLOBAL AND CROSS-BORDER ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS: The United States will lead other nations in successful, multilateral efforts to reduce significant risks to human health and ecosystems from climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, and other hazards of international concern.
EXPANSION OF AMERICANS' RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR ENVIRONMENT: Easy access to a wealth of information about the state of their local environment will expand citizen involvement and give people tools to protect their families and their communities as they see fit. Increased information exchange between scientists, public health officials, businesses, citizens, and all levels of government will foster greater knowledge about the environment and what can be done to protect it.
SOUND SCIENCE, IMPROVED UNDERSTANDING OF ENVIRONMENTAL RISK, AND GREATER INNOVATION TO ADDRESS ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS: EPA will develop and apply the best available science for addressing current and future environmental hazards, as well as new approaches toward improving environmental protection.
A CREDIBLE DETERRENT TO POLLUTION AND GREATER COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW: EPA will ensure full compliance with laws intended to protect human health and the environment.
EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT: EPA will establish a management infrastructure that will set and implement the highest quality standards for effective internal management and fiscal responsibility.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implements the Federal laws designed to promote public health by protecting our Nation's air, water, and soil from harmful pollution. EPA endeavors to accomplish its mission systematically by proper integration of a variety of research, monitoring, standard-setting, and enforcement activities. As a complement to its other activities, EPA coordinates and supports research and anti-pollution activities of State and local governments, private and public groups, individuals, and educational institutions. EPA also monitors the operations of other Federal agencies with respect to their impact on the environment.
EPA was created through Reorganization Plan #3 of 1970, which was devised to consolidate the Federal Government's environmental regulatory activities into a single agency. The plan was sent by the President to Congress on July 9, 1970, and the Agency began operation on December 2, 1970.
EPA was formed by bringing together 15 components from 5 executive departments and independent agencies. Air pollution control, solid waste management, radiation control, and the drinking water program were transferred from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services). The Federal water pollution control program was taken from the Department of the Interior, as was part of a pesticide research program. From the Department of Agriculture, EPA acquired authority to register pesticides and to regulate their use, and from the Food and Drug Administration inherited the responsibility to set tolerance levels for pesticides in food. EPA was assigned some responsibility for setting environmental radiation protection standards from the Atomic Energy Commission, and absorbed the duties of the Federal Radiation Council.
The enactment of major new environmental laws and important amendments to older laws in the 1970s and 80s greatly expanded EPA's responsibilities. The Agency now administers ten comprehensive environmental protection laws: The Clean Air Act (CAA); the Clean Water Act (CWA); the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA); the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or "Superfund"); the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA); the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA); Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA); and the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA).
(Source: ACCESS EPA , EPA/220-B-93-008, 1993 Edition)