EPA faces major challenges in an era of rapid and profound change that is deeply affecting human health and the natural environment. It is time to look forward and reset the course of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address the most significant and pervasive threats to public health and our environment. 

The Environmental Protection Network (EPN), a bipartisan network of more than 500 former EPA career employees and political appointees across the country who served under multiple Democratic and Republican administrations, has compiled this report to help inform EPA leadership with specific and actionable recommendations. In addition to the high-level summaries of recommendations contained in this report, EPN has created more detailed papers that can be found at www.environmentalprotectionnetwork.org/reset. 

We strongly believe that EPA should recommit to its mission of protecting public health and the environment and set a course toward a new vision for the agency as it confronts pressing needs—from addressing environmental risks and inequities to vigorously confronting climate change. 

The following six priorities are critical to creating a renewed EPA: 

  1. EPA must reaffirm its commitment to fully protect public health and the environment. 
  2. EPA must conduct its scientific and economic analysis free from political interference. 
  3. EPA must incorporate environmental justice in every aspect of its work in order to address and resolve inequitable environmental conditions.
  4. EPA must focus on the most significant and pervasive public health and environmental risks, prioritizing actions that provide the greatest health benefit for the greatest number of people, including vulnerable populations. 
  5. EPA must innovate and collaborate with states, tribes, local governments, and federal agencies as co-regulators, as well as with stakeholders, including the private and non-profit sectors and community groups, to build an effective and resilient system of public health and environmental protections. 
  6. EPA must earn and maintain broad public trust by demonstrating the best ethical behavior, transparently considering all stakeholder viewpoints, and providing objective environmental information. 

Protecting public health in the 21st century also requires a forward-looking budget to give EPA, states, and tribes the resources they need to meet the needs of a growing population exposed to an expanding set of environmental risks. EPA’s budget has been eroding for many years (see chart on the following page). 

In real dollars, EPA’s budget was more than 50% higher under President Ronald Reagan than it is today. States, which depend on EPA for more than 25% of their environmental operating budgets, have likewise faced declining resources. Forty states reduced environmental staffing over the last decade. 

Click HERE to download the full report, “Resetting the Course of EPA Recommendations” from the Environmental Protection Network.