WASHINGTON — Dec. 2, 2010, marks the 40th anniversary of the Environmental Protection Agency’s work to provide a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.

“Forty years ago, Americans across the nation took up a call for cleaner air, safer water and unpolluted land. They saw that to keep our families healthy, to build clean communities, and to make America stronger for the future, we needed to protect and preserve our environment. That grassroots movement led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a statement.

“As we look to the past, we are also focused on the future. The EPA is strongly committed to protecting and preserving our country's environment through taking action on climate change; improving air quality; ensuring chemical safety; cleaning up our communities; protecting America's waters; working for environmental justice; and building strong state and tribal partnerships.”

A recent report by the non-profit group The Aspen Institute lists “10 ways EPA has strengthened America.” They include:
• Banning the widespread use of DDT
• Removing the acid from rain
• Rethinking waste as materials (The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976)
• Removing lead from gasoline — and from the air
• Clearing secondhand smoke
• Improving vehicle efficiency and emissions controls
• Providing a cleaner environment for all: leading to the development of the Office of Environmental Justice
• Controlling toxic substances (Toxic Substances Control Act)
• Achieving cleaner water (The Clean Water Act)
• Enforcing the public’s right-to-know for information (Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act)

In a release by the Sierra Club, Executive Director Michael Brune said: “The EPA has shown how even big environmental problems, such as acid rain and the ozone depletion, can be tackled and solved through responsible regulations. As we face the environmental challenges of the next century – from curbing CO2 emissions to ending our dependence on dirty fuels – we are counting on the engineers, scientists, and specialists of the EPA to continue protecting not just the environment but also the American people.

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