Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas


Everything You Need to Know About the EPA


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

New Carbon Rules Could Have Big Impact on Texas

Big changes could be coming for Texas power plants. The Obama administration is announcing new rules today aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants – the chief culprit behind global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants in the U.S. by 30 percent (from […]

Harris County Urges EPA To Order Cleanup Of Dioxin Pits

From Houston Public Media:  The Harris County Attorney is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to order the cleanup of a local Superfund site. Tuesday, Vince Ryan formally made the request for the agency to force the companies responsible for pulling the San Jacinto River to remove the worst-contaminated soil. If you’ve ever driven across the San […]

Texas Pollution Worsens as Budget Shrinks for Regulators

With budgets already reduced and with more cuts on the way, federal environmental regulators are expected to be doing fewer inspections of industries that pollute. And if state environmental regulators were expected to take up the slack, many of them — including those in Texas —- are dealing with budget cuts of their own. “There […]

Report: EPA Followed Rules in North Texas Drilling Case

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was legally justified in issuing — and later withdrawing — an emergency order against a Fort Worth-based driller following a 2010 complaint of groundwater contamination in North Texas, the agency’s internal watchdog said in a report released Tuesday. But questions linger the about the source of the contamination, it added. The […]

How Hurricanes that Hit the Texas Coast Can Float Giant Tanks

Research engineers say they’re finding that giant storage tanks for petrochemicals and petroleum are vulnerable to damage from tropical storms despite the tanks’ massive size and steel construction. The researchers found multiple cases of flood waters and high winds causing the tanks to float, buckle and rupture. What the scientists say they didn’t find were […]

A Changing Market and Dim Future for Coal in Texas

Amid the continued decline in coal power in the state, Texas’ largest power generator is asking the state for permission to idle another of its coal power units this winter. And new federal regulations proposed today make it unlikely that many new coal power plants will be built in the foreseeable future. Luminant, a division of the […]

New Chemical Safety Guidelines Issued In Wake of West Fertilizer Explosion

VIDEO: The First Festival in West, Texas Since the Explosion After a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas this April that killed 15, the federal government issued updated recommendations for the safe storage of ammonium nitrate Friday. The recommendations, known as a chemical advisory, had not been updated since […]

Obama Signs Order for Increased Safety and Oversight at Chemical Plants

A few months after a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas, President Barack Obama signed an executive order today that aimed at increasing safety and oversight of chemical plants across the country. In a series of measures, various federal, state and local agencies would share more information and look […]

With New Head of EPA, Battles With Texas Likely to Continue

The Environmental Protection Agency’s recently confirmed administrator, Gina McCarthy, gave her first public address at Harvard Law School today. As the head of the EPA’s air and radiation office since 2009, McCarthy has helped write some of the agency’s toughest air pollution regulations. Today she announced her intentions to make a serious effort to combat climate […]

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