EPA

Find EPA offices, labs, facilities and departmental locations of the US Environmental Protection Agency. EPA Offices provide information and educational resources on environmental policy and issues, science and regulation including asbestos and pollutant removal/disposal, air and water pollution, climate change, emissions testing.


What is the EPA?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a federal agency established in 1970. It protects human health and the environment by enforcing environmental regulations. After several serious toxic chemical incidents (Agent Orange, thalidomide, asbestos), and amid increasing pollution and deforestation, the federal government took action to create this national environmental watchdog agency. The EPA works with Congress to establish regulations, impose fines and bans, and monitor and research environmental concerns.

The EPA is responsible for

  1. Legislation. The EPA lobbies for legislation to promote responsible behavior, and it prosecutes hazardous and irresponsible behaviors that negatively impact the ecosystem. The EPA uses its legislative influence to protect the diversity and health of ecosystems, and to defend citizens' rights to clean water and air.
  2. Safety. The EPA works to establish safe workplaces, educational institutions and neighborhoods. The EPA alerts the public to impending disasters. It also provides education about the safe removal and disposal of asbestos, air and water pollution reduction, proper recycling, and emissions testing. The EPA also establishes pollution caps on industries that may contribute to climate change.
  3. Research. The EPA conducts scientific research on wildlife populations. It also researches man-made chemicals, conducts emissions testing, and monitors human health. It maps watersheds to see where polluted water re-enters the ocean. EPA scientists test for elevated carbon dioxide and methane levels in the air. The agency also examines the impact that invasive species continue to have on local populations and the general fragility of the ecosystem.
  4. Education. The EPA educates the public, highlighting the dangers of climate change and the importance of sustainability. The National Environmental Education Act of 1990 requires the EPA to provide proper scientific curricula and educational resources for schools.
  5. Enforcement. Environmental crimes such as dumping, pollution, deforestation and illegal hunting are widespread problems. The EPA investigates these crimes. The agency is capable of making arrests, imposing fines and otherwise discouraging criminal behavior related to the environment.

Are there different types of Environmental Protection Agencies?

In the United States, there is only one federal EPA. However, many states have similar agencies, and nonprofits seek to accomplish the same ends. Organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council and Nature Conservancy also monitor environmental issues. The EPA is distinct from the U.S. Department of Parks and Recreation, although both agencies have many similar goals.