August/September Business View Magazine

166 167 The United States An interview with Jay Benforado, Chief Innovation Officer THE UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY B usiness ViewMagazine: Can you tell us a little about the history of the EPA? What was in the minds of its founders? What was the need that the EPA felt had to be filled? Did the mission change over the years? What is the current mandate of the EPA? Benforado: “Concern about environmental pollution was increasing in the 1960s, and fed- eral responsibility for environmental protection was spread across multiple agencies. Uncon- trolled air pollution was a widespread problem in American cities.Water pollution caused fish die offs, contaminated drinking water, and some rivers were so polluted they caught on fire. Disposal of hazardous waste was not regulated and industrial byproducts were typically sent to unlined landfills. “In response to this concern, the U.S. Envi- AT A GLANCE THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY WHAT: An agency of the U.S. government WHERE: Headquarters in Washington, D.C. WEBSITE: ronmental Protection Agency (EPA) was es- tablished on December 2, 1970 to consolidate in one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting, and enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection. A series of laws were passed by Congress that formally established today’s environmental programs. The new legislation provided a clear Congressional direction to the Agency. EPA’s