The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, or sometimes USEPA) is an agency of the US federal government, which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress. EPA was proposed by President Richard Nixon and began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order. The order establishing EPA was ratified by committee hearings in the House and Senate. The agency is led by its Administrator, who is appointed by the President and approved by Congress. The current administrator is Gina McCarthy. EPA is not a Cabinet department, but the administrator is normally given cabinet rank.