The Long Reach of the EPA

I continue to be amazed at the things EPA gets involved in.  The Mission Statement of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment.  It further contains seven bullet points that expand on this statement and a list of six things  that the EPA does to accomplish this including regulation, grants, research and education.  To see exactly how long the EPA’s reach is, one only has to enter the EPA web site on the internet.

The EPA web site went through a major redesign in 2005 when it was changed from an office based organization to a subject based organization.  According to Rebecca Hedreen, who attended a workshop on the redesign and posted a blog on the subject; at that time the EPA web site contained over 1 million HTML and PDF files, all fully searchable.  I could not find current statistics but I would not be surprised to find that there are ten times that many files today.  It is also interesting to note that there are links on the EPA home page for versions in Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. Of course there are mobile apps and social media links as well.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has her own Facebook page and her own web site within the EPA website which detail her extensive travels.  She made a trip to China in October “to strengthen US-China relations and explore new avenues of cooperation in environmental protection. On Sunday, October 10, she met with the head of China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, Minister Zhou Shengxian. The meeting came as China and the U.S. celebrate 30 years of partnership under their first environmental protocol. During their meeting, Administrator Jackson and Minister Zhou signed a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming their historic alliance.”  See the EPA web page Strengthening US-China Relations to Better Protect the Global Environment for more information.

Another example of EPA’s long reach is the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves This public-private alliance was announced in September by EPA Administrator Jackson and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. It “addresses one of the greatest threats facing developing countries and their populations — extraordinarily high exposures to toxic smoke from indoor fires and inefficient cookstoves that lead to nearly 2 million deaths each year, primarily in young children and women. The U.S. government pledged $53.32 million over the next five years to support the initiative, with EPA contributing $6 million.  “The alliance’s goal is to create the market and distribution conditions necessary for 100 million households to adopt clean cookstoves by 2020.”  This is in countries where people rely on indoor fires and inefficient cookstoves to prepare daily meals, causing severe health, economic, and environmental consequences.

The last example I will give would be laughable if it were not developing into such a serious problem in the northeast region of the United States.  To help find solutions to the nation’s bed bug problem, the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup is convening a second national summit set for February 1-2, 2011, in Washington, D.C. The summit is open to the public and will focus on ways the federal government and others can continue to work together on management and control of these pests. The first federal bed bug summit was held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April 2009. Since then, EPA has helped organize the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup, which consists of EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and National Institutes of Health.  Information on how to prevent bedbugs can be found on EPA’s website.

If you would like to know more about the long reach of the EPA, start at the EPA Home Page and wind your way through the millions of files available for public perusal.  You will quickly see where a portion of your tax dollars are spent.  Please comment on what you find.