EPA Mission Tracker

EPA leadership under President Trump is removing, weakening, and delaying many rules that protect public health and the environment. As a result, the agency is on a “reverse mission.” Instead of working to deliver environmental and public health protections, the Trump EPA is allowing higher levels of pollution for longer periods of time. EPA leadership is also undertaking a larger and harder to repair project: dismantling the agency’s ability to do its job.

EPA leadership is undermining the agency’s capacity to develop, implement, and enforce effective programs that reduce pollution and serve vital public needs. These efforts will leave behind a regime that delivers fewer reductions in harmful pollutants and an agency that lacks the institutional tools to protect public health and the environment.

Can EPA maintain its mission? See below for our updated posts describing changes to critical processes that enable the agency to carry out its mission at the intersection between public health, science, and the environment. For more information on EPA’s rulemaking process, visit our overview page here.

Tracker Entries

Action
Overview
Details

ActionMisrepresenting EPA’s Actions – the 2018 Year in Review

OverviewUnder the Trump administration, EPA has subverted many of the agency's guiding principles and methods. This is abundantly clear in EPA’s 2018 Year in Review report where the agency presents a distorting snapshot of its "accomplishments." Despite EPA’s selective use of data points and actions, the report reveals how little it has done to advance the agency's public health mission and the extent to which it has worked to undermine it.

ActionDenying the Health Benefits of Pollution Reduction

OverviewThe agency has started to change the way that the benefits of pollution reduction are calculated and considered. These changes will shift cost-benefit analyses and can justify lowering standards and inaction.

ActionDisrupting the Process of Setting Health-Based Air Quality Standards

OverviewEPA is undermining the process for reviewing and potentially revising the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Ensuring these standards adequately protect public health is one of EPA's most important responsibilities under the Clean Air Act.

ActionMisleading on Climate Science

OverviewThe EPA distributed “talking points” to its regional offices instructing them to use language that casts doubt on the validity of climate change science.

ActionDiminishing Public Accountability

OverviewThe public’s ability to hold the agency accountable for meeting its obligation to implement the laws that protect public health and the environment from pollution has been diminished.

ActionCurtailing High Quality Science

OverviewThe agency’s capacity to elicit objective and disinterested advice from highly qualified scientists and other experts – advice that is critical to a host of EPA obligations, including, for example, setting standards for what levels of toxic chemicals are safe for children and pregnant women – has been curtailed.

ActionCurtailing High Quality Science – Air Pollution

OverviewEPA intends to change which scientific studies it will consider in a thinly veiled attempt to undermine settled conclusions about the health impacts of air pollution.

Details

See Changing What Science the EPA Will Consider: Part 1Part 2Part 3, and The Ruse of Results-Oriented Science

ActionStepping Back From Air Program Enforcement

OverviewEPA has effectively announced its retreat from a crucial enforcement step against regulated sources that increase their air pollution, thereby abandoning its responsibility to ensure that these sources are not increasing how much they pollute. This parallels other changes in EPA’s enforcement policies, including a recent initiative focusing on the oil and gas industry.

ActionImpairing Critical Information-Gathering

OverviewEPA’s nationwide network of regional and field offices can no longer move on their own authority to collect compliance information from polluting sources. Instead, they must seek approval from EPA headquarters before acting, a change almost certain to introduce delay even where the regions have reason to believe that sources are polluting at levels above their legal limits.

ActionPoliticizing Grants

OverviewCompetitive grant-making meant to provide resources to projects aimed at delivering public health education or reduction of environmental hazards that meet objective quality criteria are now, for the first time, subject to political review.