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Born in the wake of elevated concern about environmental pollution, EPA was established on December 2, 1970 to consolidate in one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection. Since its inception, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.
Origins of EPA. Learn about when and why the Agency began, how it was initially organized, and the origins of the EPA seal.
Historical Topics. Find resources about the history of environmental statutes and regulations; disasters and emergencies; and other environmental topics of historical interest, like DDT, Earth Day, and noise pollution.
Historical Photos and Images. View photos from EPA's Documerica Project (1971-1977) and from non-historical environmental photo collections.
- You can also read reports, speeches and articles about EPA's achievements and anniversary celebrations on the EPA accomplishments page.
- Can't view the slideshow below? Check out the list view of the Milestones Timeline.
Other Sources of Materials on EPA History
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) preserves EPA's permanent records at its Archives II facility in College Park, Maryland. For information on records and access policies, contact NARA's Textual Archives Services. The Guide to the EPA Records (Record Group 412), 1944-96, includes coverage of EPA's predecessor agencies (1944-71).
- The EPA Historical Document Collection is housed within the EPA Headquarters Repository and Library. The documents in the collection have not yet been organized. View a list of the collection contents and how they will be organized. To arrange a visit to the library for the use of materials in this collection, please email the EPA Headquarters Repository and Library reference staff.