Special interests have spent millions of dollars making the case that we must choose the economy or the environment, attacking everything from removing lead in gasoline to cleaning up acid rain. They have consistently exaggerated the cost and scope of EPA actions, and in 40 years their predictions have not come true.” ~Lisa P. Jackson, Head Administrator of the EPA, wsj.com
On December 2nd the Environmental Protection Agency celebrated their 40 year anniversary.
The EPA is responsible for everything “from regulating auto emissions to banning the use of DDT; from cleaning up toxic waste to protecting the ozone layer; from increasing recycling to revitalizing inner-city brownfields, EPA’s achievements have resulted in cleaner air, purer water, and better protected land.” ~epa.gov/history
Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring is credited with being the major catalyst for the birth of the EPA. Read more about what led to the EPA’s formation in The Birth of EPA
Visit epa.gov/40th to learn more about what the EPA has done in that 40 years.
They’ve tooted their own horn so here’s some of the accomplishments they listed:
We’re recycling more: American families and businesses went from recycling about 10 percent of trash in 1980 to more than 33 percent in 2008. We \recycle 83 million tons of trash annually – that’s like cutting green house gas emissions from more than 33 million automobiles.
And we’re cleaning up communities: EPA has cleaned 67 percent of contaminated Superfund sites nationwide, and has helped create jobs for more than 3,300 Americans – with average starting hourly wage at $14.26 – to help clean and transform contaminated Brownfield sites into bustling neighborhoods and business centers.
More pollution is being treated: Sixty-percent more Americans were served by publicly-owned wastewater treatment facilities from 1968 to 2008.
Waterways are clearer: In a study of lakes from the 1970’s to 2007, water quality improved. Half the lakes saw less nutrient concentrations (forming green sludge) and a quarter saw improved trophic status.
Today, more than 2,000 water bodies identified as impaired in 2002 now meet water quality standards.
Public drinking water is cleaner: The number of Americans receiving water that met health standards went from 79 percent, in 1993, to 92 percent, in 2008.
Americans are saving money: WaterSense-labeled products help consumers save 9.3 billion gallons of water and 1 billion kWh annually, and helped consumers save more than $55 million in water and sewer bills in 2008.
For the full list visit 40 Years of Achievements, 1970-2010
DOWNLOAD President Obama’s Presidential Proclamation regarding the anniversary (PDF) 2010epa
Taking Square Aim at Critics, E.P.A. Marks Its 40th via nytimesgreen