During the just concluded U.S. Presidential Election, we heard many politicians wanting to limit or even abolish the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Proposed by President Richard Nixon, the EPA was established on December 2, 1970 and headquartered in Washington D.C. It was established to protect the human health and environment and charged with the power to establish regulations to that effect. It is empowered under variety of legislations on water, air, land, endangered species, and hazardous waste; and conducts environmental assessment, research and education. With over 17,000 employees, the EPA runs ten regions and 27 laboratories.
Since the creation, the agency is the subject of many political controversies. The on-going issues are related to air quality standards, fuel economy, and global warming that may curtail economic recovery. Its March 2008 declaration of poor air quality in many U.S. cities and counties and new standards to combat smog could cost multi-billion dollars for cleanup. Since the auto industry bailout in 2008-2009, the EPA has increased the fuel economy standards for automobiles that go into effect in the future. Global warming is a subject that many criticize the agency for over regulation as well as lack of action.