Chermayeff & Geismar, the New York-based branding agency that designed the EPA logo back in the 1970's, experienced no such confusion, which explains why the EPA mark—a stylized flower juxtaposed with the EPA's initials—and the comprehensive visual communication system it created for the EPA, remains part of an exalted Chermayeff & Geismar portfolio, along with logos for NBC News, Chase Bank, and Mobil Oil. Interestingly, Chermayeff & Geismar didn't start from scratch.
Their logo had its inception in the official EPA Seal, established by Presidential Executive Order in 1971, and, until 1977, the only identifying symbol of the EPA. Designed by an Indianapolis advertising agency, the EPA Seal was anchored by a blue and green four-leafed flower, meant to symbolize earth, sky, and water. Chermayeff & Geismar simplified the flower to a monochromatic, three-leafed mark, and placed it to the left of the EPA initials, creating a clean, horizontal scheme that retained its distinct identity no matter the color in which it was rendered.
All these details are lost on the current EPA Administrator, however. According to the New York Times, Scott Pruitt voiced his objection to the 4-leafed flower on the EPA seal because it resembled a marijuana leaf, and because he wanted a more personal statement. To that end, Pruitt proposed that the EPA's 'souvenir medallion,' a coin bearing the agency's insignia, which is sometimes gifted to employees or guests, be reworked to include one or more of the following: a buffalo (symbol of his home state of Oklahoma), Bible verse (symbol of his faith), and HIS name, not the name of the EPA.