Articles on US Environmental Protection Agency

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Bottled water distribution in Glenwood, Iowa, where massive spring flooding along the Missouri River disrupted drinking water treatment, April 3, 2019. AP Photo/Nati Harnik

The US drinking water supply is mostly safe, but that’s not good enough

A grade of 92 is an A at most schools, but for tap water it means that millions of Americans drink water that fails to met federal standards.
Oil refineries and other industrial sources in and around Houston create some of the highest ozone levels in the nation. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

As air pollution increases in some US cities, the Trump administration is weakening clean air regulations

Air quality in the US has improved greatly since 1990, but a new report finds progress stalling in some cities. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is rolling back air pollution controls.
Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., speaks about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the state of the EPA during a protest on April 25, 2018, in Washington. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

What next for the EPA? Here’s what Reagan did

After two years of turmoil at the EPA in the 1980s, President Reagan hit the reset button, choosing a Republican who supported environmental protection to head the agency.
Tighter emissions standards create costs for truck manufacturers yet provide health benefits for society. How should they be weighed? Lesterman

Why a minor change to how EPA makes rules could radically reduce environmental protection

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has proposed steps that would reduce economic benefits to society from new regulations. An economist who worked for Presidents Clinton and Obama calls this a strategy to justify deregulation.
Protesters at a rally on the state of the EPA organized by the American Federation of Government Employees union, April 25, 2018, in Washington, D.C. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

EPA staff say the Trump administration is changing their mission from protecting human health and the environment to protecting industry

Government agencies are supposed to listen to the industries they regulate, but what if they tune out everyone else? Scholars call this regulatory capture, and some staffers see it happening at EPA.
Healthy aquatic vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay. Cassie Gurbisz/University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Cutting pollution in the Chesapeake Bay has helped underwater grasses rebound

An ambitious plan to cut the flow of nutrients into the Chesapeake Bay has produced historic regrowth of underwater seagrasses. These results offer hope for other polluted water bodies.
Fracking has led to an increase in truck traffic, one of the reasons for worsening trends on air quality in areas with oil and gas drilling. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

How has the US fracking boom affected air pollution in shale areas?

The fracking boom has led to a large increase of hydrocarbon emissions in rural areas, reversing some regional air toxics trends.
To comply with air pollution laws, midwest energy companies built tall smokestacks to displace pollutants. This one at Indiana’s Rockport Generating Station is 1,038 feet high, just 25 feet shorter than the Eiffel Tower. Don Sniegowski

Why shifting regulatory power to the states won’t improve the environment

Trump administration officials argue that states can regulate more effectively than the federal government. But without leadership from the top, federalism may allow red states to avoid acting.
Scientists provide key input to government agencies on issues such as improving oil spill prevention and response after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. U.S. Coast Guard

History shows that stacking federal science advisory committees doesn’t work

Can federal agencies stack advisory panels with friendly members? Some have tried, but a scientist who has advised many administrations says they will produce bad policies that lack broad support.
Snow geese settle on a wetland in North Dakota. If the Trump administration successfully rescinds the Clean Water Rule, many wetlands might lose federal protection. Krista Lundgren USFWS/Flickr

Does Scott Pruitt have a solid case for repealing the Clean Water Rule?

The Clean Water Rule spells out which streams, wetlands and other water bodies receive federal protection. The Trump administration wants to repeal it, but will face high hurdles in court.

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