The history of the Ministry of Environment, the environmental authority of the Republic of Korea, stems from Pollution Section of the Ministry of Health and Society established in 1967, which was expanded to Pollution Division, in charge of environmental administration, in 1973. After several reform and expansion of environmental authority, Environment Administration was launched as a subsidiary of the Ministry of Health and Society in 1980. In January. 1990, Environment Administration was promoted to the Ministry of Environment under the Office of Prime Minister, in order to efficiently integrate and coordinate environmental issues. In December, 1994, the Ministry of Environment was given greater authority to establish and implement its own policies.
With an aim to reinforce chemicals control and strengthen prevention and response to chemicals accidents, Chemicals Management Division of the head office was reorganized as Chemicals Policy Division and Chemical Safety Division. Chemicals Management Division of six regional environmental offices (except Wonju Regional Environmental office) was reorganized as Chemicals Safety Management Team to reinforce on-site management of chemicals.
Climate Change Mitigation Division was newly established for implementation of the Emissions Trading Scheme.
Air Quality Forecasting Center was newly established in the National Institute of Environmental Research to enhance accuracy of air quality forecast.
Task Force for Environmental Industry Test-bed Complex was newly established with a temporary period to March 2017 to support technological R&D and export of environmental companies.
"Institute of Chemical Safety" was launched as an affiliated agency under ME for prevention of and response to chemical accidents. Chemical management divisions were newly established in Wonju and Daegu Regional Environmental Office.
Natural Resources Division at the ME head office was separated and reorganized to Biodiversity Division and Park Ecosystem Division in accordance with the launch of National Institute of Ecology.
Water Quality Division was newly established in Daegu Regional Environmental Office for reinforced water quality management of Nakdong River
The 4th grade and 5th grade teams of the head office such as Public Relations Team, Environmental Inspection and Investigation Team and Greenhouse Gas Management Team were dissolved and Environmental Industry Team and Waste-to-Energy Team were converted to Environmental Industry Division and Waste-to-Energy division.
ater Quality Management Division was newly established at the ME head office for reinforced water quality management and monitoring in the four major rivers.
The name of Jeongju Regional Environmental Office was changed into Saemangeum Regional Environmental Office for reinforced environmental management for the Saemangeum development project sites, and the rank of the head position was upgraded from 4th grade official to senior executive level.
"Task Force for the Construction of National Institute of Ecology" was dissolved with the end of its temporary period.
A total of 5 personnel were reduced from the head office in accordance with the government wide restructuring plan. (one person from 5th grade, two from 6th grade, one from 7th grade and one from 8th grade)
Environmental Health Management Division and Greenhouse Gas Team at the head office were newly established. National Wetland Center at National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) was newly established.
Construction Committee of the National Institute of Nakdong River Biological Resources was newly established.
NIBR was reorganized as an executive agency.
Greenhouse Gas Inventory & Research Center was established.
Korea Environment Corporation (KECO) was established.
Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) was established.
Restructuring of organizations through consolidation and separation were carried out.
Korea Meteorological Administration became a subsidiary of the Ministry.
Established National Institute of Biological Resources.
In accordance with the amendment of Toxic Chemicals Control Act, tasks to handle new chemicals and manage restricted and prohibited substances were added. Environmental Assessment Policy Division and Emergency Planning Office were established. Separated Department of Environmental Training under National Institute of Environmental Research and established National Institute of Environmental Human Resources Development.
Unified Innovation & Personnel and Environmental Data & Information to Planning & Management Office for more enhanced policy management functional system.
Modified its name, Waste Management & Recycling Bureau to Resource Recirculation Bureau.
Established Total Water Pollution Load Management System and Metropolitan Air Quality Management Office.
Established Total Air Pollution Load Management System.
Established National Environmental Conservation to strengthen the efficiency of promoting environmentally friendly National development policy and to protect environmental damages.
The Office of Forestry transferred the operation on protecting wild birds and hunting regulation to National Institute of Environmental Research.
Natural Parks Division of the Ministry of Domestic Affairs was transferred to the ME.
Marine Environment Division was transferred to newly established Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.
The Environmental Investigation Division of the Water Quality Management Bureau and the Incheon Regional Environmental Management Office were established.
Water Supply and Sewage Treatment Bureau of the Ministry of Construction, Potable Water Management Division of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, and Water Quality Inspection Department of the National Health Institute were transferred to the ME. Regional Environmental Management Offices were re-organized as four offices, each responsible for one of the four major rivers, and three Regional Environmental Management Offices.
Environmental Officers Training Institute (EOTI) was established.
EA was upgraded to the ME. Six Regional Environmental Management Offices were established.
Environmental Management Corporation (EMC) was established.
The Regional Environmental Monitoring Offices were enlarged and re-organized as Environmental Branch Offices.
Korea Resources Recovery & Reutilization Corporation (KRRRC) was established.
Six Regional Environmental Monitoring Offices were set up.
Environment Administration (EA) was established.