EPA History

EPA History

Born in the wake of elevated concern about environmental pollution, EPA was established on December 2, 1970 to consolidate in one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection. Since its inception, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.

Origins of EPA

Learn about:

  • when and why the Agency began,
  • how it was initially organized, and
  • the origins of the EPA seal.

Historical Topics

Find resources about:

  • the history of environmental statutes and regulations;
  • disasters and emergencies; and
  • other environmental topics of historical interest, like DDT, Earth Day, and noise pollution.

Historical Photos and Images

View photos from EPA’s Documerica Project (1971-1977) and from non-historical environmental photo collections.


Milestones in EPA and Environmental History

  • Note that the timeline below can be slow to load.
  • You can also read reports, speeches and articles about EPA’s achievements and anniversary celebrations on the EPA accomplishments page.

 EPA Administrators

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