Our Mission and What We Do
The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment.
- Americans have clean air, land and water;
- National efforts to reduce environmental risks are based on the best available scientific information;
- Federal laws protecting human health and the environment are administered and enforced fairly, effectively and as Congress intended;
- Environmental stewardship is integral to U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy;
- All parts of society--communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments--have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks;
- Contaminated lands and toxic sites are cleaned up by potentially responsible parties and revitalized; and
- Chemicals in the marketplace are reviewed for safety.
To accomplish this mission, we:
Develop and enforce regulations
When Congress writes an environmental law, we implement it by writing regulations. Often, we set national standards that states and tribes enforce through their own regulations. If they fail to meet the national standards, we can help them. We also enforce our regulations, and help companies understand the requirements.
Nearly half of our budget goes into grants to state environmental programs, non-profits, educational institutions, and others. They use the money for a wide variety of projects, from scientific studies that help us make decisions to community cleanups. Overall, grants help us achieve our overall mission: protect human health and the environment.
Study environmental issues
At laboratories located throughout the nation, we identify and try to solve environmental problems. To learn even more, we share information with other countries, private sector organizations, academic institutions, and other agencies.
We don't protect the environment on our own. We work with businesses, non-profit organizations, and state and local governments through dozens of partnerships. A few examples include conserving water and energy, minimizing greenhouse gases, re-using solid waste, and getting a handle on pesticide risks. In return, we share information and publicly recognize our partners.
Teach people about the environment
Protecting the environment is everyone's responsibility, and starts with understanding the issues. The basics include reducing how much energy and materials you use, reusing what you can and recycling the rest. There's a lot more about that to learn!
Through written materials and this website, EPA informs the public about our activities.
What we don't do
- The Endangered Species Act is primarily managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- The Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management addresses the problem of nuclear waste.
Read more about environmental concerns we don't handle, and suggestions for who might be able to help
EPA's Strategic Plan identifies the measurable environmental and human health outcomes the public can expect from EPA and describes how we intend to achieve those results. Learn more about the Strategic Plan.
How do I...?
Find someone who works at EPA?
- Buildings at Federal Triangle (Washington, DC Headquarters)
- Other Washington, DC (Headquarters) locations
- EPA's Regional offices around the nation
- Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina campus