The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or sometimes USEPA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress. President Richard Nixon proposed the establishment of EPA and it began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order. The order establishing the EPA was ratified by committee hearings in the House and Senate. The agency is led by its Administrator, who is appointed by the President and approved by Congress. The current Administrator is Scott Pruitt. The EPA is not a Cabinet department, but the Administrator is normally given cabinet rank.
The EPA has its headquarters in Washington, D.C., regional offices for each of the agency''''s ten regions, and 27 laboratories. The agency conducts environmental assessment, research, and education. It has the responsibility of maintaining and enforcing national standards under a variety of environmental laws, in consultation with state, tribal, and local governments. It delegates some permitting, monitoring, and enforcement responsibility to U.S. states and the federally recognized tribes. EPA enforcement powers include fines, sanctions, and other measures. The agency also works with industries and all levels of government in a wide variety of voluntary pollution prevention programs and energy conservation efforts.