“So long as the human species inhabits the Earth, proper management of its resources will be the most fundamental issue we face. Our very survival will depend upon whether or not we are able to preserve, protect and defend our environment….That was the great lesson of Earth Day. It must never be forgotten.”
The first Earth Day was held in San Francisco in 1970 after Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin called for teach-ins on college campuses nationwide to raise awareness of environmental issues. The initial focus was on the United States and the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development. Earth Day 1970 led to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and it also indicated the beginning of new environmental laws to start the environmental legislative agenda, including passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and the Endangered Species Acts.
In 1990, Earth Day became a global event coordinated by the Earth Day Network , the official Earth Day site. The Earth Day Network’s mission is to diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide. This year’s theme “Invest in Our Planet,” is focused on changing the business climate, the political climate, and how we take action on climate, to preserve and protect our health, families and livelihood.
Clean Air Act and Amendments
Clean Air Act*
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977*
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990*
77 Stat. 392 - Clean Air Act - December 17, 1963
81 Stat. 485 - Air Quality Act of 1967 - November 21, 1967
84 Stat. 1676 - Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 – December 31, 1970
91 Stat. 685 - Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 - August 7, 1977
104 Stat. 2399 - Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 - November 15, 1990
42 U.S.C. 7401 - Clean Air Act
Clean Water Act and Amendments
Safe Drinking Water Act*
Clean Water Act (Federal Water Pollution Control Act)*
86 Stat. 816 - An Act to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act - October 18, 1972
91 Stat.1566 - Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments - December 27, 1977
101 Stat. 7 - Water Quality Act of 1987 - February 4, 1987
33 U.S.C. 26 - Water Pollution Prevention and Control
Endangered Species Act of 1973*
Toxic Substances Control Act - October 11, 1976*
83 Stat. 852 - National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 - January 1, 1970
87 Stat. 884 - Endangered Species Act - December 28, 1973
94 Stat. 2767 - Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) - December 11, 1980
102 Stat. 2779 - Plastic Pollution Control Act of 1987 - October, 28, 1988
*This links to a Statute Compilation, which is a compilation of the public law, as amended, and is an unofficial document and should not be cited as legal evidence of the law. Learn more.
- EPA Summary of the Clean Air Act - 42 U.S.C. s7401 et seq. (1970)
- EPA Summary of the Clean Water Act - 33 U.S.C. s1251 et seq. (1972)
- EPA History: Earth Day
- EPA resources for, lesson ideas for teachers , for homework resources for students , and community service project ideas.
- To support the celebration of Earth Day, The U.S. Government Publishing Office offers for sale new and classic official environmental publications that present both scientific and practical information to protect and improve the nation's air, foster the protection of plant and animal species and their habitats, help protect human health, and promote a cleaner and healthier environment for the American people.