The environment is all around us: from the air we breathe, to the water we drink, to the ecosystems that we’re a part of. But these natural resources weren’t always protected in the United States – until modern-day environmental policies entered the scene.

What is the Environmental Protection Agency?

The Environmental Protection Agency, commonly known as the EPA, helps keep our country’s air, water and land healthy and clean. It’s a “regulatory agency,” which means that Congress gives it authority to specify details of implemented environmental laws. These details, called “regulations,” make laws applicable to individuals, businesses, governments and more.

Over the last 50 years, the U.S. legislators have passed dozens of laws that the EPA must oversee. Watch our video to learn more about the history of environmental policy in the U.S. and what it aims to protect.

Let’s review.

Too many important environmental laws to keep track of? We’re here to help. Click on the links below for more information about the policies covered in the video:

Looking for more?

To learn about more environmental laws and orders in the U.S., find the current list of national legislation on the EPA’s website.