NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

My, How That Agency Grew!

November 12, 1999

If the Environmental Protection Agency had been a stock, it would have been a pretty good investment when it was established in 1970.

  • With an initial budget of only $1 billion, it will exceed $7 billion next year.
  • The number of the agency's employees has grown from 4,000 to over 18,000.
  • Its first major action was to ban the use of DDT in 1972 -- followed in 1973 by the phase-out of leaded gasoline.
  • Then in 1975, it required catalytic converters to be installed in cars to meet air quality standards.

It went through lean years in 1974-76 when Congress slashed its budget well below the $1 billion start-up level. But that didn't stop the number of employees from rising during that period.

In the years 1981 through 1986, its budget was again cut and held in check during the Reagan administration. Early in that period, the number of employees dipped -- then resumed an almost steady upward climb beginning in 1984.

Source: Chart, "The EPA's Three Decades," Washington Post, November 10, 1999.


Browse more articles on Environment Issues