Talk about an organization that's gone green. The US
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) develops and enforces
environmental policy and regulations throughout the country. It
is responsible for administering all or part of a
multitude of laws, such as the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking
Water Act, and the ubiquitous National Environmental Policy Act.
Besides working to ensure compliance with federal environmental
rules, the agency provides support for state environmental
protection programs. The agency was established in 1970, the same
year as the first Earth Day, in response to growing concerns over
air, water, and soil pollution. It is led by an administrator
appointed by the president.
The EPS's strategic plan, which it develops every five
years, centers on seven key priorities: climate change, improving
air quality, chemical safety, community clean up, clean water,
compliance and environmental stewardship, and land
preservation. The nearly half of the EPA's annual budget (it
totaled $10 billion in 2011) is used for clean and safe
water initiatives and enforcement.
The agency operates 10 regional offices and some two dozen
R&D and regional laboratories around the country. Its labs --
each specializing in a particular area of research -- include the
National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory, the National Center
for Environmental Assessment, Environmental Chemistry Laboratory,
and the National Center for Computational Toxicology.