The Environmental Protection Agency is the primary agency tasked by the federal government to lead the country’s research, education and protection efforts insofar as the environment in the Unites States is concerned. Presently, it is deeply involved in the country’s growing concern over global warming. Since its establishment by Congress in 1970, the mission and mandate of the EPA has always been clear – to protect human health and environment.
The EPA is imbued with numerous painstaking tasks, chief of which is the implementation of environment-related statutes and regulation. It is the federal government’s main watchdog in enforcing its laws on the environment, in which the EPA can motu propio impose sanctions if national standards on environmental safety are not met by states, tribes and even juridical entities. Another successful function of the EPA is its massive grants for researches and development initiatives, partnering with a broad spectrum of institutions such as states, non-governmental organizations, states, academic institutions, among many other grant-beneficiaries.
It is important to note that the establishment of the EPA in 1970 came at a very important historic moment when the American people were relentlessly demanding substantial reforms in government, some of which included the demand for cleaner water, air and land. As a result, the EPA was also tasked since then to embark on a revolutionary task of undoing decades of neglect on the importance of ensuring sustainable development for future generations of Americans.
Insofar as its existing offices are concerned, the EPA’s headquarters is in Washington, D.C. while there are ten regional offices across the US to serve the different demands, needs and prospects of particular states on the quality of their environment. These regional offices are very strategically placed as not all areas in the US possess the same levels of environmental degradation nor do they possess the same topography, among many other factors.
The EPA organizational structure seems a very efficient bureaucracy with thirteen top-level executives leading the agency and headed by the EPA Administrator, a post currently held by Stephen L. Johnson. Meanwhile, the EPA effectively employs more than 17,000 persons, most of which are scientists and engineers which provide the technical and scientific backbone of the agency.
The EPA receives its funding from the federal government, by submitting budget proposals to the Executive Branch subject to the approval of the Congress for each fiscal year. According to the EPA’s Budget-in-Brief for 2008, the EPA budget for Fiscal Year 2008 amounts to $7.2 Billion, all of which shall be expended for the many functions of the EPA, such as those stated above.
Lastly, it is proper to constitute the EPA both as an agency established for regulation and social welfare. In pursuit of its former function, the EPA may impose sanctions on states and other juridical entities that may be found in violation of existing regulations. In pursuit of its latter function, the researches and development initiatives it pursues ultimately redound to the general well-being of the American people insofar as the improvement of their air, land and water is concerned.
1. About EPA. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Website. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/epahome/aboutepa.htm on March 16, 2008.