Website Review: Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA was formed in 1970 and was one of the first agencies of the federal government to have its own Web site.

By Erik J. Heels

First published 12/24/1997; LegalResearcher.com; publisher: New York Law Publishing Company

The home page of the EPA’s Web site (http://www.epa.gov/) proclaims its mission: “to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment.” At the top of the page is a banner that announces that the 500th Superfund site cleanup has been completed. (In 1980, Congress to established the Superfund Program – which is administered by the EPA – to eliminate the health and environmental threats posed by hazardous waste sites.) With that many Superfund sites, it’s no wonder there are so many Web sites with environmental information.

The EPA was formed in 1970 and was one of the first agencies of the federal government to have its own Web site. Their Web site remains the best place to go for official government information on environmental law. Environmental law professionals should bookmark the “What’s New” page (http://www.epa.gov/epahome/WhatsNew.html) which is updated almost every day.

Also, the organization of their site is among the best we’ve seen from a federal agency. The navigation bar at the bottom of the page includes four guessable choices: home, browse, search, comments, and what’s new. For example, you can get to the Superfund home page by selecting Superfund from the main Browse page. Or you can guess the very simple URL: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/. (This is, by the way, the same model that Microsoft uses on its Web site. For example, the FrontPage home page is http://www.microsoft.com/frontpage/).

Laws and regulations are also online (http://www.epa.gov/epahome/rules.html), and links that take you away from the EPA Web site are clearly identified as such. This site is so well designed that it makes finding information a breeze. We wish more government sites would follow the EPA’s lead.

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