The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is celebrating its 49th birthday this week. Concurrently, officials announced plans to begin a year-long celebration that will lead up to the agency’s 50th anniversary on Dec. 2, 2020.
Over the coming year, the EPA said it will commemorate the agency’s many achievements and continued progress, culminating in a 50th Anniversary celebration on Dec. 2, 2020.
Born in the wake of elevated concern about environmental pollution, EPA was established on Dec. 2, 1970 by President Richard Nixon. The move consolidated into one agency a variety of federal environmental responsibilities.
Those included conducting environmental research, setting standards, monitoring public and private projects, and enforcing regulatory compliance, with the promise of ensuring environmental protection while simultaneously safeguarding human health.
The agency’s first administrator, William Ruckelshaus, took the oath of office on Dec. 4, 1970.
“Since the agency’s inception under the leadership of the late Administrator, William Ruckelshaus, EPA staff have worked tirelessly to clean up our air, water, and land for the American people,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Together, we have achieved significant milestones in support of our mission to protect human health and the environment. I look forward to celebrating EPA’s accomplishments over the coming year and continuing to build on our progress for future generations.”
Over the last 50 years, the agency has worked to fulfill its mission of protecting human health and the environment by improving the nation’s air, cleaning up land and water resources, and providing a cleaner, healthier environment for all people. Some of the agency’s accomplishments include cleaning up the air.
For instance, from 1970 to 2018, the combined emissions of the six criteria pollutants dropped by 74 percent, while the U.S. economy grew by 275 percent. Meanwhile, Americans drove more miles, and population and energy use increased.
Editor’s Note: Follow EPA’s 50th Anniversary celebration on social media using #EPAat50.