EPA celebrates its 50th anniversary today as the agency readies for a coming year of stark change and new leadership.
William Ruckelshaus was unanimously confirmed by the Senate as EPA's first administrator on Dec. 2, 1970, considered the agency's birthday.
Rebecca Hanmer was not happy when a new environmental agency was created in 1970.
Hanmer was at the Federal Water Quality Administration, tucked into the Department of the Interior, when President Nixon mashed together 15 different bureaus and offices to form the Environmental Protection Agency. Her agency was going to be part of it.
Fifty years don't go by without at least a hiccup or two — and even high-profile resignations — at a federal agency.
EPA has seen its share of congressional scrutiny and national headlines since its creation in 1970. The agency, holding enforcement and scientific research functions, teamed with Cabinet-level power, has attracted attention for the wrong reasons at times.
President Trump's environmental and public health rollbacks eclipse those of his predecessors in size and scope, several experts said.
Unlike past presidents, whose environmental blows have been more targeted, Trump has taken a sustained, wholesale approach, heeding free-market ideologues, at times even in spite of corporate agendas.
In recognition of EPA's upcoming 50th anniversary, E&E News asked nine agency administrators the same four questions. Their answers show how the challenges facing the agency have evolved and what it might encounter in the future.