On December 2, 1970, the federal government, under notorious conservative Richard Nixon, established the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency’s creation famously followed Rachel Carson’s 1962 book about the harmful effects of pesticides, Silent Spring. The agency came about eight months after the celebration of the first Earth Day. The EPA has had a mixed record since: While the Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act have done good, an EPA officer was the bad guy in Ghostbusters.
Elsewhere on December 2nds past: In 2001, energy giant Enron filed for bankruptcy, bringing down a house of cards built on corruption and fraudulent accounting practices. Also, it’s Britney Spears’ birthday!
Find out more about Dec. 2 and watch more Today in History videos on Timeline.