EPA's timeline, a place to collect and share things from the 40 years of the agency's history.
Created by usepagov on Jan 23, 2010
Last updated: 03/18/13 at 05:25 PM
These standards will slash toxic air pollution, including mercury and particle pollution, avoiding up to 8,100 premature deaths, 5,100 heart attacks, and 52,000 asthma attacks.
With these standards in place, it is expected that by 2030, all standards that cut small particles, called PM2.5, from diesel vehicles and equipment alone will prevent up to 40,000 premature deaths, 32,000 hospital admissions and 4.7 million days of work lost due to illness.
States and communities will have the most up-to-date science and information they can use to determine whether water quality is safe for the public, and when to issue an advisory or a beach closure.
The app will help people find information on the condition of thousands of lakes, rivers and streams across the United States from their smart phone, tablet or desktop computer.
Rachel Carson helped show many Americans that, though they may not think of themselves as environmentalists, environmental issues invariably play a role in their health and in the future of the nation.
The final rules are expected to yield a nearly 95 percent reduction in emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from more than 11,000 new hydraulically fractured gas wells each year. This significant reduction would be accomplished primarily through capturing natural gas that currently escapes into the air, and making that gas available for sale. The rules also will reduce air toxics, which are known or suspected of causing cancer and other serious health effects, and emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
The rule creates a path forward for new technologies to be deployed at future facilities that will allow companies to burn coal, while emitting less carbon pollution.
Over the past 20 years, with help from Energy Star partners, American families and businesses have saved about $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution.
The strategy builds on EPA's current approach to enhance its chemical management program, which is aimed at getting more and better information on chemical risks, increasing transparency and public access to chemical information, and taking actions to manage chemical risks.
EPA issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, the first national standards to protect American families from power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution like arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, and cyanide.
The proposed standards, focusing on high-polluting boilers typically operating at refineries, chemical plants and other industrial facilities, will avoid up to 8,100 premature deaths, prevent 5,100 heart attacks and avert 52,000 asthma attacks per year in 2015.
Under the comprehensive new national program, trucks and buses built in 2014 through 2018 will reduce oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by approximately 270 million metric tons.
The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will protect communities that are home to 240 million Americans from smog and soot pollution, preventing up to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis, 400,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and 1.8 million sick days a year beginning in 2014 – achieving up to $280 billion in annual health benefits.
The new fuel economy labels will help consumers take advantage of the increased efficiency standards that will save families money at the pump starting in 2011.
The diet, formally known as the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), identifies the necessary reductions of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment from DE, MD, NY, PA, VA, WV and DC. The diet is driven primarily by these jurisdictions’ plans to put all needed pollution controls in place by 2025. EPA will hold jurisdictions accountable for results along the way.
Aspen looks back at the path blazed by the Agency during its first forty years and recognizes the important achievements that have made it a leading model for environmental regulatory agencies worldwide.
EPA finalized a rule on the greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting requirements for facilities that carry out geologic sequestration. Sequestration allows large emitters of carbon dioxide to significantly reduce the GHGs they emit. Information gathered under the rule will enable EPA to track the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered by these facilities.
EPA has identified a list of 134 chemicals that will be screened for their potential to disrupt the endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interact with and possibly disrupt the hormones produced or secreted by the human or animal endocrine system, which regulates growth, metabolism and reproduction.
The program is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 250 million metric tons and save 500 million barrels of oil over the lives of the vehicles produced within the program’s first five years.
The task force will coordinate efforts to implement restoration programs and projects in the gulf coast region. It also will coordinate with the Department of Health and Human Services on public health issues and with other federal agencies on ways to enhance the economic benefits that ecosystem restoration will bring to the region.
Image Caption: President Obama is briefed about the situation along the Gulf Coast following the BP oil spill, at the Coast Guard Venice Center in La.
The public-private alliance addresses one of the greatest threats facing developing countries and their populations — extraordinarily high exposures to toxic smoke from indoor fires and inefficient cookstoves that lead to nearly two million deaths each year, primarily in young children and women.
EPA announces that renovations and repairs of pre-1978 housing must now be conducted using safe practices to protect children and pregnant women from exposure to lead-based paint. Almost a million children have elevated blood lead levels as a result of exposure to lead hazards, which can lead to lower intelligence, learning disabilities, and behavior issues.
The BP-operated Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico explodes, killing eleven workers. The resulting release is the largest oil spill in American history. President Obama, EPA Administrator Jackson and hundreds of other federal, state and local officials step up to address the challenge.
EPA proposes the strictest health standards to date for smog. Smog, also known as ground-level ozone, is linked to a number of serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Ozone can even harm healthy people who work and play outdoors.
After a thorough examination of the science and careful consideration of public comments, EPA announces that greenhouse gases threaten the health and welfare of the American people. As a result, greenhouse gases that lead to climate change can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.
Lisa P. Jackson is sworn in as EPA Administrator under President Barack Obama. She is the agency's first African-American Administrator.
The EPA gives California permission to set its own auto emissions standards beginning with 2009 models, while federal emissions standards will take effect in 2012. The EPA granted California a waiver because of its severe pollution problems.
President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order recognizing the Chesapeake Bay as a national treasure and calling on the federal government to lead a renewed effort to restore and protect the nation’s largest estuary and its watershed.
The Obama Administration joins with environmental advocates, members of the auto industry and state officials to formally announce a program that sets the nation’s first-ever greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars.
EPA and its state partners begin to monitor schools for more extensive air quality analysis, looking closely at schools located near large industries and in urban areas.
President Obama signs the Reinvestment and Recovery Act, which provides $7 billion for EPA projects and programs. The funding will protect and promote jobs that protect our health and environment, like efforts to reduce diesel emissions and cleanup of hazardous waste sites and leaking underground storage tanks.
A containment pond rupture at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County, Tennessee releases 1.1 billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry on land and into waterways. The incident has since led the EPA to begin to review coal ash sites throughout the country.
The first new lead standards in 30 years require a tenfold decrease in lead levels. The new standard became .15 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air and was based on new research and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Council recommendations. Lead can affect multiple organ systems and some studies link it to developmental problems in children.
EPA sets standards to protect people and the environment at the proposed Yucca Mountain storage site for highly radioactive wastes. EPA requires that the Yucca Mountain meet the standards for one million years.
When fully implemented, these new standards will reduce soot or particulate matter (PM) by 90 percent or 27,000 tons and reduce nitrogen oxides emissions (NOx) by 80 percent or nearly 800,000 tons.
BP Products North America agrees to pay a $62 million criminal fine, plus $400 million on safety upgrades. The penalty was for the 2005 refinery explosion that killed 15 and the 2006 oil spill on the Alaskan tundra. BP violated the Clean Air and Water Acts.
Thirty EPA employees share the Nobel Peace Prize for their work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
EPA Issues the Ground Water Rule to reduce risk of contaminations in public water systems that use ground water. Ground water had historically been considered free from contamination, but 1996 data from the Center for Disease Control showed 318 waterborne disease outbreaks over the previous two decades at systems using ground water. The new rule protects consumers regardless of their system’s water source.
EPA issues the strongest national air quality standards for particle pollution in our country’s history. The new standards protect public health and our nation’s ecosystems and national treasures from dangerous soot and smog.
EPA signs its first blanket green power contract, investing in wind energy to offset 100% of its electricity use. The EPA was the first federal agency to do so.
EPA and industry partners join to create the WaterSense Program, which seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by offering practical ways to use less water. Through the use of water-efficient products and services, WaterSense has helped consumers save 46 billion gallons of water and $343 million on their water and sewer bills since its launch.
Refiners and fuel importers are required to start producing Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel, which contains 97% less sulfur than fuel used previously. This cleaner-burning fuel and was expected to reduce air pollution from diesel engines by more than 90 percent,. That amounts to 2.6 million tons of nitrogen oxides and over 100,000 tons of particulate matter.
EPA restores air quality monitoring networks destroyed by the storm and assesses air quality in the hurricane-affected area to ensure public safety.
Stephen L. Johnson becomes EPA Administrator under President George W. Bush. Johnson first began working at the EPA in 1979. A 27-year veteran of the Agency, he was the first career employee to hold the position of Administrator and the first scientist to head the Agency.
EPA Launches Methane to Markets International Partnership, an initiative that advances cost-effective methane recovery to use as a clean energy source. The goal of the Partnership is to reduce global methane emissions to enhance economic growth, strengthen energy security, ensure industrial safety, and improve air quality.
Image Caption: Cows and other cud-chewing livestock produce 80 million metric tons of methane annually.
This program encourages policies and practices to eliminate unnecessary public school bus idling; upgrades buses that will remain in the fleet with better emission-control technologies and/or fueling them with cleaner fuels; and replaces the oldest buses in the fleet with new, less-polluting buses.
Michael O. Leavitt becomes EPA Administrator under President George W. Bush. As Administrator he implemented higher standards for ozone, diesel fuels and other air pollutants. He also organized and managed a collaboration to develop a federal plan to clean up the Great Lakes.
Virginia Electric Power Co. (VEPCo) agrees to spend $1.2 billion to reduce its annual 237, 000 tons of emissions. The company's 10 electrical power plants release sulfor dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which are acid rain ingredients. VEPCo also spent five million dolllars on projects in states affected by the coal-fired plants' pollution. For example, the company paid for schoolbus engine retrofitting to reduce diesel exposure and solar panels on municipal buildings.
EPA officially moves to clean up Hudson River PCB contamination by removing approximately 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the river.
EPA sets up monitors to collect air quality data in and around Ground Zero, protecting the health of emergency workers and citizens.