Progress in Communities

Commemorating 43 years of making communities healthier and cleaner

Environmental challenges must be confronted at their local roots. At EPA, our work has always come back to local communities. Progress in communities is more than an aspiration – it’s a practice. From addressing conventional environmental harms to the contemporary fight against climate change—at EPA, the focus of our work has always been community-driven. And this work has produced astounding gains, including:

  • Drastically reducing harmful levels of lead from our environment;
  • Lowering noxious tailpipe emissions from cars;
  • Decreasing health hazards like skin cancer through international treaties that protect the atmospheric ozone layer;
  • Safeguarding groundwater supplies by cleaning up toxic wastes;
  • Improving the quality of our drinking water and our surface waters;
  • Reducing deadly health threats from risks like second-hand tobacco smoke and exposure to asbestos;
  • Increasing fuel efficiency for our cars and trucks to historic levels – which cleans up our air, saves us money at the pump, and helps achieve American energy independence.

In policy development and on-the-ground work, EPA’s mission still demands a local focus.

The centerpiece of our success remains our commitment to listening to, supporting, and working alongside local communities and stakeholders.

There are some communities that are still underserved and under-protected, frequently because they are poorer and too often find themselves to be left out of the decision making process. But they are still on our radar, and through efforts like the Environmental Justice movement and the Indian Environmental General Assistance Program we hope to continue making gains for all of our citizens. Ensuring clean air, water, and healthy lands for families relies on it.

Protecting our environment and health bolsters sustainable economic growth.

Americans know that they don’t have to choose between their health and a strong economy. They can – and should – have both. 

No matter the environmental and public health challenges we face, the underlying motive is always the same: there has always been a bond between the actions of the EPA and the communities throughout the country to whom we listen and to whom we serve.

Climate change is a global problem with local impacts.

To protect public health and the environment, we have to be serious about combating climate change.

Reducing the harmful carbon pollution that fuels our changing climate and preparing cities to be more resilient in the face of climate impacts is imperative. Climate change impacts vary city to city – but they all demand local attention and local action, and EPA is committed to continuing to provide that support.

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