Skip to main content

What do you know about EPA? Test your knowledge

Dan Farber, professor of law | October 26, 2015

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.

Comments to “What do you know about EPA? Test your knowledge

  1. Dan, in April President Napolitano “called on scientists to embrace the role of public intellectual.”

    How is her initiative working out relative to uniting UC scientists to inform and motivate the general public to demand that solutions be produced and implemented to prevent out of control California and global environmental destruction by the escalating consequences of global warming we are experiencing today?

  2. Dan, thank you for your tireless efforts, along with those of your LP colleagues, but current events keep proving we are losing the war to protect an acceptable quality of life for our newest and all future generations.

    The root cause failure mode is that intellectuals and politicians refuse to join together to cooperate and meet the challenges of climate change that are overwhelming us today. History keeps proving that this fact of life today is a civilization killer, as documented by historians like Will and Ariel Durant.

    It appears that we refuse to learn from the lessons of history because our brains are still wired for the age of hunting and gathering. We are not evolving nearly fast enough to overcome the challenges of climate changes we are experiencing today, as documented in a 2006 CALIFORNIA magazine “Global Warning” cover story “Can We Adapt in Time?”

    We do not seem to have any leaders like Winston Churchill and FDR around today who can motivate us to fight this war before we lose it.

Comments are closed.