With President Donald Trump’s recent announcement of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s resignation came plenty of talk about perceived failures, possible replacements and the future of the agency.
“I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” Trump tweeted on July 5. “Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this.”
Pruitt’s tenure at the EPA, which lasted just over one year, saw no lack of criticism, particularly from environmental activists who felt Pruitt and the Trump administration were rolling back on protective measures previously put in place to conserve natural resources and stave off climate change. Others felt Pruitt and his team were “changing the culture of the agency and eliminating government regulations,” according to Michael McKenna, a Republican energy lobbyist who was quoted in a recent New York Times article.
More than anything, discussions of the agency’s future led to one undeniable conclusion: American citizens are uninformed as to the EPA’s history and current role.
NEW AGENCY CREATED
As listed on the EPA’s official website, the agency was created in 1970 under the Nixon administration after nearly a decade of increased concern over the environment. Earlier that year, Nixon had presented a 37-point message to Congress on the environment. Among these points included:
- A request for $4 billion to improve water-treatment facilities
- Asking for national air quality standards and guidelines to lower motor vehicle emissions
- Launching federally-funded research to reduce automobile pollution
- Approving a National Contingency Plan for the treatment of oil spills
In addition, Nixon had created a special council dedicated to creating federal organizations that would be dedicated to reducing pollution. Taking the recommendations from this council, Nixon announced his plans for a specialized agency to monitor these responsibilities: the Environmental Protection Agency. After Congress approved the proposal that summer, the Agency’s first administrator, William Ruckelshaus, was sworn in on Dec. 4, 1970.
EPA: AN ABRIDGED TIMELINE
Information courtesy of epa.gov
October 18, 1972
July 30, 1975
August 8, 1977
December 10, 1980
May 16, 1985
June 3, 1992
February 16, 1994
August 23, 2005
April 20, 2010
June 25, 2013
President Obama announces a climate change strategy focusing on preparing for the effects of climate change.
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