Opinion, Berkeley Blogs

What do you know about EPA? Test your knowledge

By Dan Farber

Much of what most people think they know about the Environmental Protection Agency is wrong. This test involves a few basics about the EPA. See how much you know:

1.  Which President established the EPA?

A.  Kennedy,   B. Johnson,   C. Nixon,   D. Clinton

2.  When is cost a factor in issuing EPA regulations?

A.  Whenever allowed by law.

B.   Under Republican Presidents.

C.   Only for minor regulations.

D.   Never.

3.   Why did EPA decide to regulate greenhouse gases?

A.  Because new scientific breakthroughs forced to do so?.

B.  Because the White House forced it to do so.

C.   Because the Supreme Court forced it to do so.

D.   Because Congressional Democrats forced it to do so.

4.   What were the political parties of the two Presidents who are responsible for the current content of the Clean Air Act, the basis for EPA’s most controversial regulations?

A.   They were both Democrats.

B.   The earlier one was a Democrat and the later one was a Republican.

C.    The earlier one was a Republican and the later one was a Democrat.

D.   They were both Republicans.

5.    Who came up with the idea of cap-and-trade?

A.    Environmentalists.

B.     Liberals.

C.     Lawyers.

D.    Economists.


1.  C.  The EPA was created by Richard Nixon through executive order.

2.  A.   Under a series of executive orders by every President from Reagan through Obama, EPA must consider cost whenever the law allows it to do so. Environmentalists constantly accuse the agency of under-regulating due to the use of cost-benefit analysis.

3.   C.    The Supreme Court’s opinion in Massachusetts v. EPA required it to regulate greenhouse gases if the scientific evidence showed they caused climate change. That essentially left EPA with no choice, since the scientific evidence had been clear for years.

4.    D.   The original Clean Air Act was passed under Nixon, and the most important amendments (including a cap-and-trade system) were passed under George H.W. Bush. Bush also signed a treaty requiring the U.S. and other developing countries to address climate change.

5.     D.   Cap-and-trade was the brainchild of economists, who favored using a market mechanism to control pollution. The idea was initially anathema to most environmentalists, liberals, and environmental lawyers.

Cross-posted from the environmental law and policy blog Legal Planet.