written by: Niki Fears•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 11/30/2008
In this brief over view, we will examine how the EPA got its start, what its purpose is and raise the question of whether or not it has lived up to the task of protecting our environment and the health of US citizens from the threats that arise out of the abuse of the environment.
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Controversy and the EPA:
At first glance, the history of the EPA seems like a simple one; however, it has been riddled with controversy, accusations of corruption, and it is believed by many that the EPA as a whole has failed to live up to its job.
Although the EPA is of vital importance to the safety and well being of American citizens, the agency has come under fire for its ineffectiveness, hints of corruption, and their rather lax approach to enforcing the laws regarding dangerous emissions and other pollutants. While some, such as the big polluters in the coal and gas industry, would prefer to see the EPA fade away into the night, most people are demanding a stronger and more active administration to aggressively pursue the protection of America's environment and her citizens by creating stricter regulations, enforcing existing ones in all cases without hesitation, and pursue issues when they arise with due diligence.
This has been a struggle that many small, rural communities have fought with when they have, without success, appealed to the EPA to help them take on the big business moguls that were polluting their communities. Many within the EPA who have spoken up about these issues within the agencies are now facing unemployment under the last minute moves from the Bush administration in an attempt to stack the deck in the favor of the oil industry.
One of the most controversial examples of this is Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo who has pushed to protect the rights and jobs of whistleblowers in the EPA who expose corruption or the favoring of big business and politics over the law and the safety the American people. Other recent cases that have raised the question about the nature of the EPA and the politics that drive it involve the forced resignation of the Director of EPA's Region Five's Office. She was forced into resigning after her unpopular choice to force Dow chemical to clean up the dioxins that had polluted her district. Although her actions were mandated by federal laws and was in accordance to the scope and purpose of the EPA, it was not a popular choice in political circles.
While certain strides have been made by the work of the EPA, there is still much work that still needs to be done. Whether this is through a restructuring of the EPA administration or an entire overhaul of the agency and the way environmental issues are handled will be a question that the next administration will have to deal with. When it comes to issues such as this, the environment and the safety and health of the American people must come before politics and big business.
In this brief over view, we will examine how the EPA got its start, what its purpose is and raise the question of whether or not it has lived up to the task of protecting our environment and the health of US citizens from the threats that arise out of the abuse of the environment