Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.

Steven J. Campbell

In: Encyclopedia of Politics of the American West

Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.

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  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a federal watchdog agency whose mission is to protect human health and the environment. The EPA came about under President Richard Nixon, after he provided a reorganization plan to Congress that was subsequently ratified (prior to the EPA, the federal government was not set up to comprehensively monitor environmental pollutants). An administrator that is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate heads the agency, which began operating in December 1970. While not a cabinet department, the EPA's administrator is commonly granted cabinet rank. Employing some 18,000 people at its headquarters offices, ten regional offices, and twenty-seven laboratories across the country, over half the employees are scientists, engineers, and environmental experts.

    Created in the wake of heightened public ...

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