On This Day: The Creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

On December 2nd, 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency officially began operation. Proposed by President Richard Nixon, the agency is the primary regulatory agency involving environmental protection in the United States. After several decades of increased public concern of the impact of human activity on the environment, Nixon issued Reorganization Plan No. 3 to reorganize and combine similar agencies tasked with protecting the environment. The new agency was tasked with enforcing environmental protection standards, conducting environmental research and collaborating with other entities to curb environmental pollution.

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.

Additional Resources

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

    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

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

    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.