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Radiation Emergencies
Emergency Response:

EPA and Executive Orders

Emergency Preparedness
and Response

EPA Orders are official documents through which the EPA Administrator manages the Environmental Protection Agency.

Executive Orders are official documents, numbered consecutively, through which the President of the United States manages the operations of the Federal Government. You can read more about Executive Orders on the Web site of the National Archives.

Several EPA and Executive Orders address emergency preparedness and response.

On this page:

Federal Emergency Management- EO 12148

President Carter issued this Executive Order on July 20, 1979, in response to the accident at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant. It assigned responsibility to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for developing a "national contingency plan"* for responding to accidents at nuclear power plants. FEMA published the first version of the "Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan" in 1985 and updated it in 1996.

*not to be confused with the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, also known as the "NCP".

Assignment of Emergency Preparedness Responsibilities - EO 12656

This Executive Order, issued by President Reagan in November 1988, spells out the roles and responsibilities of federal agencies in preparing for and responding to national security emergencies. These roles and responsibilities reflect the existing statutory authorities and capabilities of these organizations. EPA has lead responsibilities for certain health and environmental radiation protection activities. EPA's support responsibilities include helping federal agencies plan for environmental protection and advising them on complying with environmental standards and regulations.

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Establishing the Office of Homeland Security - EO 13228

President Bush issued this Executive Order in October of 2001, in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. It establishes the Office of Homeland Security and a Homeland Security Council. It also assigns the responsibility for developing and coordinating implementation of a national strategy for protecting the nation from terrorist threats or attacks to the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. In addition, it amends EO 12656, Assignment of Emergency Preparedness Responsibilities, to include the Homeland Security Council.

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