Role of the EPA
Aside from safeguarding human and environmental health, the EPA is also empowered to craft and enforce regulations under existing environmental laws. It is also responsible for researching various methods to protect the environment. Research results paved the way for institutionalizing national standards for various environmental programs in different states and tribes. If there is failure in meeting such standards, the EPA can assist the concerned state, as well as enlighten the companies affected by a particular EPA regulation.
Since its creation, the EPA took the lead in implementing changes to make the United States a better place to live in. Armed with existing and new laws like the amended Federal Water Pollution Control Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, the amended Clean Air Act, Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act, and other federal environmental statutes, the EPA set out to build a new and better horizon for the citizens of the US and the world as a whole.
This environmental protection agency is instrumental in the filing of the suit against Hooker Chemical Co. and Occidental Petroleum Corporation, by seeking more than $120 million dollars in clean up costs and reimbursements for emergency measures implemented by various federal agencies in Hooker’s Love Canal waste disposal site. The agency also pushed for the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, or the EPA superfund. The statute, which was passed in 1980, aims to provide the EPA with the funds necessary to clean up myriads of abandoned hazardous waste dumpsites all across the US.
The EPA Today
The EPA, in partnership with the US Department of Energy (DOE), expanded the coverage of the ENERGY STAR program in 1996 to promote the reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Through this program, the agency made it possible for people to save 180 billion kilowatt-hours in 2007 alone, or the equivalent of around 5% of the total electricity demand in the US.
The EPA has never been more active than in current times where the presence of environmental health hazards seems ominous. The agency also instituted new EPA air quality standards, and is presently pushing for the stronger implementation of the amended Clean Water Act.
You can help the EPA in your own little way by making sure that you minimize energy and water consumption. Bear in mind that the EPA can only do so much to protect the environment. The greater task of making this planet safe for everybody lies in each and every one who lives on it.
(2007) USGS Guide to Federal Environmental Laws and Regulations. Retrieved August 16, 2010 http://recreation.usgs.gov/env_guide/air_quality.html
(2007) ENERGY STAR® 2007 Annual Report. Retrieved August 16, 2010 http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/annualreports/annual_report_2007.pdf
(2009) The New EPA Regulations for Protecting Human Subjects: Haste Makes Waste. Retrieved August 16, 2010 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695594/
(2010) EPA Timeline. Retrieved August 16, 2010 http://www.epa.gov/history/timeline/index.htm
(2010) History of ENERGY STAR. Retrieved August 16, 2010 http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=about.ab_history
(2010) Love Canal Chronologies. Retrieved August 16, 2010 http://library.buffalo.edu/specialcollections/lovecanal/about/chronology.php