3. What is the Environmental Protection Agency?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a federal agency created to protect the environment by policing activities that have a negative impact upon the environment. Specifically, the EPA is charged with enforcement of the various federal environmental statutes, writing regulations, conducting environmental assessments, conducting environmental research, and educating the public on environmental standards. In carrying out its functions, the EPA works closely with state and local governments, as the environmental regulatory regimes are closely integrated. Particularly, much of the responsibility for enforcing environmental laws rests with the states. As part of its enforcement function, the EPA has administrative authority to levy fines, sanctions, and other punitive measures for failure to adhere to environmental law.
• Discussion: How do you feel about the role of the EPA? Is the role overly broad? Does the integration with state and local regulatory agencies and regime affect your opinion? Why or why not?