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Gina McCarthy testifies before a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on her nomination to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on Capitol Hill in Washington April 11, 2013.

Everything You Need to Know About the EPA

Background

What is the EPA?

The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, is a federal agency charged with monitoring and  maintaining a healthy environment in America.  Many credit U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson with spurring interest in the environmental movement, he created Earth Day in the spring of 1970 which led to the creation of the EPA in December of that year.
The EPA monitors a huge array of environmental issues in America. The agency scrutinizes everything from the fuel standards to mercury levels in lakes and landfill regulations.

Clean Air Act

The EPA monitors air quality under the Clean Air Act, this includes ambient air as well as emissions from cars, factories and power plants.  Everyday the EPA releases air quality standards for the entire United States. A major focus of the EPA’s fight against air pollution is the reduction of greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases.  Tackling greenhouse gas emissions

Clean Water Act

Under the Clean Water Act of 1972, the EPA monitors the quality of American surface waters and pollution of both fresh and saltwater resources. The Clean Water Act is a revised and improved form of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948. The EPA announced it will give $10 million for beach cleanups around the nation, according to the EPA’s website.

Climate Change and the EPA

Through regulation of pollutants the EPA hopes to slow climate change, which the EPA defines as, “any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer),” according to the agency’s website.  The EPA monitors weather patterns, sea level changes and greenhouse gas levels in the air.

Waste, Toxic Chemicals, Disposal and the EPA

Waste reduction and proper disposal of toxic materials is a major focus of the EPA. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, passed in 1976, was a landmark piece of legislation in terms of allowing the EPA to regulate disposal of waste. Subtitle-D legislation, passed in 1976, regulates the methods of disposal of non-hazardous solid waste.

Latest Posts

Texas Grid Operator Says Clean Energy Plan Could Raise Bills and Lead to Blackouts

The clean energy plan put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency aims to combat climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by power plants.  But it may come at a price, according to a report released Monday by theElectric Reliability Council of Texas, the group that manages much of Texas electric grid. The report says electricity [...]

New Federal Regulation Coming For Oil and Gas Well Pollution

The federal government says the oil & gas industry is the largest industrial source of pollution that creates smog. In coming months, Texas drillers could learn what the government plans to do about it. New pollution rules could mean that thousands of oil & gas wells in Texas will have to have their leaks fixed. “It’s an [...]

Will Texas Even Bother Trying to Comply With EPA’s Clean Power Plan?

As greenhouse gases reach their highest concentrations in human history, the Obama administration has pledged to take action on climate change, unveiling a Clean Power Plan this summer to go after a prime target of those emissions: coal power plants. And true to form, that plan is running into opposition from lawmakers and regulators in [...]

Texas Officials Blast New Pollution Rules For Power Plants

In Austin, business leaders and politicians blasted new federal rules aimed at reducing air pollution from power plants. At a hearing held by the Texas Public Utility Commission, there were dire predictions of a ruined Texas economy and higher electricity costs for residents. Hour-after-hour, the three members of the Texas Public Utility Commission heard why the state’s [...]

Environmental Group Says Illegal Diesel Fracking Used in Texas

An environmental group says it’s found over a hundred oil or gas wells being drilled in Texas using techniques that the group says are illegal. At issue is “fracking” which injects huge quantities of water and chemicals deep underground. Fracking is what’s revolutionized drilling in Texas. The technique uses all sorts of chemicals including acids [...]

Residents Tell EPA: We’re Not Secondary To Refinery Profits

People who live near refineries along the Gulf Coast are calling for tougher, federal rules to curb air pollution. The pleas were made at a Federal Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), public hearing held Tuesday in Galena Park. The community is on Houston’s east side is in the heart of the oil-refining complex along the Ship Channel. The industry [...]

EPA Showdown: Who in Texas Wants Tighter Refinery Regulation?

Dr. Brian Tison: "I do think that there’s much more that needs to be done to minimize emissions."

Do Hydrogen Cyanide Leaks Show Weakness of Current Regs? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will set up its microphones for an all day hearing Tuesday in Galena Park, a community on Houston’s east side in the heart of the enormous Houston Ship Channel refinery complex. It’s the second of two such hearings with the [...]

4 Ways Texas Could Win Big Under New Climate Change Rules

Earlier this year, the earth hit a frightening milestone: carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached its highest level since humans have inhabited the earth. The last time there was this much carbon on the planet was nearly a million years ago. As the heat-trapping gas proliferates, the world warms, and the climate effects domino: droughts [...]

You May Want to Slow Your Coal Roll in Texas

The world is warming, and there’s heated debate over what to do about it, or if it’s even warming at all. (Hint: It is.) Amidst this debate, some opponents of government regulations and environmental policy have taken up protest by retrofitting their diesel trucks to spew billowing clouds of black, noxious smoke. When the soot gets [...]

Winners and Losers in Texas from Greenhouse Gas Ruling

New EPA regulations would place new restrictions on coal-burning power plants, a major source in Texas for greenhouse gases

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week on a lawsuit over how much latitude the federal government has to regulate facilities that emit greenhouse gases, victory was claimed both by environmentalists who want more regulation and by Texas state officials who wants less. Texas and 16 other states brought the action. The Texas Attorney [...]

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