The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created in 1970 during President Nixon’s administration. EPA consolidatesfederal research programs, the development of environmental standards , and monitoring as well as enforcement efforts. How does the EPA protect the public?
The EPA divides our country into 10 regions. Each region has an EPA office. The EPA headquarters are in Washington D. C.
Congress passes environmental safety laws and regulations. Each state is responsible for following the laws and implementing practices to protect the public from environmental hazards. The EPA oversees state efforts. If the state fails to protect the public, the EPA can declare an emergency and take control from the state. When the EPA does not provide adequate oversight, states may take cost saving measures that create environmental hazards. This is what happened in Flint, Michigan.
The strength of the EPA is vulnerable every time a new president is elected. The EPA is lead by an administrator appointed by the president and approved by congress.
Even when the president and congress support the work of the EPA, if EPA employees are not adequately trained to enforce the law and are not held accountable for failure to enforce the law, the public remains vulnerable. In October 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General management alert that the EPA officials in Michigan did not know they had the authority to issue an emergency order and take over responsibility of providing Flint residents with safte drinking water.