Bell Ringers

Bell Ringer: The Role of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The Role of the Environmental Protection Agency

Sen. Tom Carper from Delaware discussed the role of the EPA and some of its actions during the confirmation hearing of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created by Richard Nixon in 1970. It oversees the environment by enforcing regulations passed by Congress. The agency conducts research and it has responsibility for enforcing national environmental standards. This Bell Ringer includes two clips of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate. The first clip includes an overview of the EPA by Senator Tom Carper from Delaware and the second clip includes Scott Pruitt's opening statement to the committee.

Bell Ringer Assignment

  • What is the responsibility of the EPA?
  • Before the EPA, who had the responsibility of regulating the environment?
  • According to Senator Carper, why is the EPA necessary?
  • According to Senator Carper, why is it important for the role of protecting the environment to be a federal responsibility?
  • During the confirmation hearing, what does Mr. Pruitt mean by "pro-energy" and "pro-environment?" Why do these concepts seem at odds sometimes?
  • Explain the role of regulators. Explain how the EPA is a regulatory agency.
  • How does Mr. Pruitt plan on working with the states as the EPA administrator?
  • How can the regulations enforced by the EPA impact the economy?
  • Explain Mr. Regan's experience as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
  • Describe Mr. Regan's approach to leading the EPA.

Additional Resources

  • Lesson Plan: The Role of Bureaucracy in Policy-Making

    Description Executive agencies and regulatory commissions have vast policy-making power, yet they are an unelected part of the federal government. This lesson examines bureaucratic rule-making in four agencies (EPA, IRS, FCC and Department of Education). The lesson also focuses on how other branches of the federal government can check this power through Congressional oversight and judicial review.

  • Bell Ringer: Costs and Benefits of Regulations

    In the first video clip, Todd Gaziano from the Pacific Legal Fund responded to Donald Trump



  • Clean Air Act
  • Clean Water Act
  • Climate Change
  • Confirmation Hearing
  • E.p.a.
  • Economy
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Executive Branch
  • Federalism
  • Natural Resources
  • Pollution
  • Regulation
  • Regulatory Agency
  • Rule Of Law


AP U.S. Government Key TermsBureaucracy & RegulationEnvironmental Policy & Land Use


Middle SchoolHigh School