Environmental and Scientific Affairs, the Department formulates proposals and implements U.S. policy on international issues and significant global problems related to environment, oceans, fisheries, population, and space and other fields of advanced technology.
Department of Transportation—Environmental responsibilities include environmental impact assessments, and analyses of current and emerging transportation issues related to energy and the environment. It also enforces various laws related to transportation and discharge of oil and hazardous materials.
Environmental Protection Agency—The mission of this independent agency is to control and abate pollution in the areas of air, water, solid waste, pesticides, radiation, and toxic substances. Its mandate is to mount an integrated, coordinated attack on environmental pollution in cooperation with state and local governments.
Several independent commissions and government corporations also share some of the responsibility for our environment. Chief among these are the Federal Emergency Management Agency (emergency planning, preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery from natural disasters and human-caused emergencies); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (studies global climate change and integrated functioning of the earth as a system); National Science Foundation (supports research for improved understanding of the fundamental laws of nature); Nuclear Regulatory Commission (licenses and regulates civilian use of nuclear energy to protect public health and safety and the environment); Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (transmission and pricing of electricity and hydroelectric licensing); U.S. Information Agency (encourages international discussion and cooperation on fundamental concerns, including the global environment); Marine Mammal Commission (protection and conservation of marine mammals); Tennessee Valley Authority (in support of its mission to advance economic growth in the Tennessee Valley, conducts research and development programs in forestry, fish and game, and watershed protection).
The United States is entering a new phase in the evolution of environmental protection, one that recognizes that effective environmental protection and control involve more subtle and complex variables than have been considered under earlier, centralized, command-and-control approaches. It also one that emphasizes the positive relationship between a healthy environment and a prosperous economy. The following strategies embrace these concepts:
Public concern about the environment, together with new thinking by scientists and resource managers,