We take for granted access to clean water and clean air, but would it surprise you to know just 42 years ago there were no laws protecting our environment?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was implemented Dec. 2, 1970. The EPA was created during Richard Nixon’s presidency in an attempt to address environmental concerns of Americans.The success of the EPA led to the creation of other environmental laws. One such law was the Clean Air Act, which was approved in 1970.
The purpose of the Clean Air Act was to protect the air we breathe as well as protect the environment from pollution.
According to the EPA, “The Clean Air Act Amendments will prevent over 230,000 early deaths in 2020.”
Another law created in 1972 was the Clean Water Act. Its purpose was to protect bodies of water from toxic waste and pollution, which are harmful to the bodies of water. They are unhealthy for the animals who inhabit the water and also for humans who use the water for drinking.
According to the EPA, “Over the past 25 years, since enactment of the Clean Water Act, America has made significant strides in cleaning up our rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.”
For all the perceived good, the EPA has done for the United States, it is not without controversy.
During the Republican primaries, the presidential candidates took shots at the environmental organization, with some calling it "the job-killing EPA," according to Politico.com.
The current front-runner, Mitt Romney, said in October he was skeptical of climate change science and promised to reverse the Obama administration’s finding that carbon dioxide is a danger to public health, making it subject to Clean Air Act restrictions.
For a list of Earth Day-related activities and events, go here.