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Priority Areas

In the past seven years, EPA has been called upon to respond to five major disasters and incidents of national significance, including response actions to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the anthrax terrorist incidents, the Columbia Shuttle disaster and recovery efforts, the Ricin incident on Capitol Hill, and the Gulf Coast hurricanes Katrina and Rita. These responses, coupled with the issuance of Homeland Security Presidential Directives (HSPDs) and other laws, regulations and mandates have required EPA to heighten its preparedness stance.

EPA is focusing its homeland security attention and efforts on four homeland security priority areas:

EPA expanded existing programs and developed new programs and initiatives to support the four homeland security priority areas. For more information on EPA's homeland security programs and activities, visit the Homeland Security Programs section of this website.


Water Security

Improving the security of our nation's drinking water and wastewater infrastructures has become a top priority since the events of 9/11. Two key mandates direct EPA's Water Security efforts:

In response to these mandates, EPA is working to assess and reduce vulnerabilities to potential terrorist attacks; planning for and practicing responses to emergencies and incidents; and developing new security technologies to detect and monitor contaminants and prevent security breaches.

Read more about EPA’s Water Security programs and activities.


Homeland Security Presidential Directives (HSPD) 9 and 10 require EPA to lead decontamination and remediation activities to respond to radiological and biological attacks, respectively.

In response to these mandates, EPA is:

Read more about EPA's decontamination activities and programs.

Emergency Response

Homeland Security Presidential Directives 5 and 8 require EPA to…

EPA’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, anthrax incidents, and most recently Hurricane Katrina make it evident that EPA must be prepared for the very real possibility of multiple nationally significant incidents including chemical, biological or radiological emergencies and natural disasters. Under the National Response Framework (NRF) EPA is the lead agency along with the U.S. Coast Guard for hazardous materials and oil. EPA is also a support agency on a number of other emergency support functions.

To increase our emergency preparedness and response capabilities, EPA is:

Read more about EPA’s Emergency Preparedness and Response program and activities.

Internal Preparedness

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 requires EPA to adopt the Federal standard for secure, reliable identification for employees and contractors in order to control access to EPA facilities and information systems.

Protection of personnel, assets and infrastructure is a critical homeland security priority for EPA. Over the last several years, EPA has reduced its overall security risks to employees, facilities, and national IT Infrastructures through an aggressive program to adopt federal standards for secure, reliable identification for employees/contractors to control access to EPA facilities and information systems, mitigate against unauthorized infrastructure access and cyber attacks, and improve our continuity programs to address all-hazards.

For more information, visit the Office of Acquisitions and Resource Management’s Personnel Access and Security System (EPASS) website.


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