Environmental Research

The EPA is considered a leader in confronting environmental problems and advancing risk assessment technologies and decision-making mechanisms. The EPA labs throughout the United States conduct basic scientific and groundbreaking research on current environmental issues. Together, with collaborations from business, academia, and industry, the EPA evaluates the environmental conditions of the United States and identifies, recognizes, and resolves present and future environmental problems.

The EPA has several offices and programs devoted to accomplishing the goals of environmental research. One is housed within the Office of Research and Development (ORD). This office focuses on producing basic peer-reviewed environmental research and engendering cost-effective new technologies. To further this goal, the office awards research grants and fellowships to universities. Another research program is designed to monitor and assess the nation's biological resources. The

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) tracks the current status of U.S. ecological conditions, and predicts future trends and risks associated with natural resources.

The Lake Michigan Mass Balance Study is another EPA project. From 1994 to 1999 the Great Lakes National Programs Office undertook this research effort. The goal of this project was to better understand the types and amounts of toxic substances in Lake Michigan, as well as how to manage the associated risks. Another research program administered by the EPA is the Microbiology Home Page. This is a comprehensive information clearinghouse that provides detailed information about methods relating to a variety of microorganisms. The website is maintained by Human Exposure Division of the National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL).

The EPA sponsors the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA). This center is a general information resource about the overall process of human health and ecological risk assessments. Also, the center works to integrate dose-response, hazard, and exposure data into accepted risk characterization models. The National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) explores the different relationships among the economy, environment, human health, and pollution control mechanisms. The NCEE also communicates and resolves multidisciplinary issues relating to the environment and economics.

Another research program managed by EPA is the National Center for Environmental Research (NCER). This organization mostly supports extraneous research through grants and fellowships. It is part of the ORD and oversees the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) funding program for universities. Next, the National Environmental Scientific Computing Center (NESC2) administers EPA's first supercomputing center. This provides High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) that allow EPA to undertake global-scale modeling and research, better science to create improved regulations, and educational environmental and computer science programs. This program is part of the Environmental Modeling and Visualization Laboratory. The final research program administered by EPA is the Office of Science and Technology (OST), Office of Water. The OST is charged with developing standards under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. This office also issues guidelines and advisories in conjunction with other water-related laws.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also administers several research offices across the United States. These include the following: National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory (NAREL), Montgomery, Alabama; National Enforcement Investigations Center Laboratory, Denver, Colorado; National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL), various locations; National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL), various locations; National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL), various locations; National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory (NVFEL), Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Radiation and Indoor Environments National Laboratory, Las Vegas, Nevada.

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