During the 1970s Richard Nixon took office. His administration had many goals for the future. During these years people were ready to change the way our society was going by helping the environment. Before it could get any worse the government decided to form an environmental protection agency after chemical pesticides were used. They formed what is still today called the environmental protection Agency or EPA. The EPA combined with existing federal agencies concerned with air pollution as the nations watchdog against pollution. The EPA monitors and reduces air pollution and regulated the disposal of solid waste and the use of pesticides and toxic substances.
Creation of the agency brought under single management the functions of the 15 federal programs dealing with pollution. The EPA establishes and enforces environmental protection standards and conducts research on effects of pollution. It provides grants and technical assistance to states, cities, and other governmental units that seek to prevent pollution. In addition, the agency helps the Office on Environmental Policy develop environmental protection policies and recommend them to the President. The EPA administrators provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, and called the Superfund. The Act provided 1.6 billion dollars to clean up hazardous toxic waste sites and prosecute violators. Early in 1983, the EPA came under heavy criticism from public interest groups and Congress for its handling of the Superfund program.
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Critics accused the agency of trying to destroy or delay progress of cleaning up the environment. Congress began to investigate charges of wrongdoing. These accusations included manipulation of the Superfund program for political enforcement against polluters. The agencys problems led to the resignation of EPA administrator Anne Burford in March of 1983. President Ronald Reagan named William D. Ruckelshaus, the first EPA chief, to succeed Burford. He later ended much of the criticism that had plagued the program for such so long. Later in 1986, the act was reauthorized and provided an additional 9 billion dollars.