Happy 40th Anniversary EPA!

12/02/2010 04:52 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

This week the Environmental Protection Agency celebrates its 40th anniversary and we commend the agency for four decades of tremendous work protecting the air we breathe, water we drink and the health of all Americans.

The EPA was born from enormous environmental tragedy -- the burning of the Cuyahoga River, the Santa Barbara oil spill and dangerous levels of pollution throughout the U.S. -- yet after forty years the impacts of the agency's work could not be clearer. The Clean Air and Clear Water Acts have effectively safeguarded public health for decades with the EPA's strict oversight. EPA regulations have successfully addressed the dangers of acid rain, ozone depletion, DDT, lead and secondhand smoke. The agency has also sought pollution reductions through improvements to the lives of every American. And time after time, the EPA has demonstrated that safeguarding our environment goes hand-in-hand with economic prosperity as all of these actions have spurred innovations that have created countless jobs and saved consumers money.

While much has been accomplished in the EPA's forty year history, there is still much more work to be done.

As we face the greatest environmental threat in history, global warming, many want to challenge the EPA's current authority to hold corporate polluters accountable for their contribution to the carbon pollution causing the climate crisis. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the likely incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, has said that "we're not going to let EPA regulate what they've been unable to legislate."

It is paramount that the EPA be allowed to continue to do its job, especially with regards to its authority to regulate greenhouse gases and conventional pollutants. Global warming threatens our economy, our environment and public health and in the absence of comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation, the ball is now in the EPA's court. And an election night poll commissioned by LCV showed voters across the country support EPA regulation of carbon pollution to reduce global warming by a 22 point margin.

Progress must continue to be made in order to transition to a clean energy economy that creates jobs and protects the planet from harmful pollution. And to those who believe this is not the EPA's job, we would encourage them to look back on the agency's undeniable successes in the past four decades accomplishing many of those same goals.

In the face of great environmental crises the EPA has stepped up to the plate, while averting countless other disasters. After four decades the agency has more than earned our trust and should continue to be trusted to do what it does best: using the best available science to protect the environment and public health, while spurring innovation and holding corporate polluters accountable.

Happy anniversary EPA! We thank you for all your great work and look forward to working with you on the many challenges that lie ahead.