America Before The Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, is an agency part of the Federal government of the United States and which aims at protecting human health, as well as the environment, by writing down and then enforcing regulations to that end.
But as you can imagine, the Environmental Protection Agency didn’t exist since the time of the Founding Fathers. In fact, people only relatively recently began caring about the environment, and it was an uphill battle and one that still goes on. To be fair, though, the small number of people back in the day and the huge size of the world, never made the environment seem like it needed protection in the first place. Things have changed since then, however.
The first incident that eventually led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency was the Donora Smog Disaster that took place in October 1948. Here, a somewhat rare meteorological phenomenon, coupled with the toxic fumes coming from the many factories in the town of Donora, Pensylvania, resulted in the death of 20 people, as well as 6,000 people becoming seriously ill. In the wake of the disaster, the government enacted the Clean Air Act, which was the first step towards the EPA.
But as it is with politics and people, things are slow to change in a meaningful way, and only in 1970 under president Richard Nixon, did the Environmental Protection Agency did come into existence. By this time, and because of the lack of any regulation, many rivers, streams and lakes in the country became unsafe for swimming or fishing. Air pollution was also rampant, and one couldn’t even see New York’s iconic landmarks.
Today, in the light of the current government looking at dismantling the EPA, or at least cutting its budget by two-thirds, we will show you how the US looked like in the first half of the 1970’s when it was okay to leave “a little bit” of the environment, but not at the expense of businesses.