Clean Air Act (United States) - History - Legislation


Congress passed the first Clean Air Act in 1963, creating a research and regulatory program in the U.S. Public Health Service. The Act authorized development of emission standards for stationary sources, but not mobile sources. The 1967 Air Quality Act mandated enforcement of interstate air pollution standards and authorized ambient monitoring studies and stationary source inspections.

In the Clean Air Act Extension of 1970, Congress greatly expanded the federal mandate by requiring comprehensive federal and state regulations for both industrial and mobile sources. The law established four new regulatory programs:

  • National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). EPA was required to promulgate national standards for six criteria pollutants: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, hydrocarbons and photochemical oxidants. (Some of the criteria pollutants were revised in subsequent legislation.)
  • State Implementation Plans (SIPs)
  • New Source Performance Standards (NSPS); and
  • National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs).

The 1970 law is sometimes called the "Muskie Act" because of the central role Maine Senator Edmund Muskie played in drafting the bill. The EPA was also created under the National Environmental Policy Act about the same time as these additions were passed, which was important to help implement the programs listed above.

The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 required Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) of air quality for areas attaining the NAAQS, and added requirements for non-attainment areas.

The 1990 Clean Air Act added regulatory programs for control of acid deposition (acid rain) and stationary source operating permits. The amendments moved considerably beyond the original criteria pollutants, expanding the NESHAP program with a list of 189 hazardous air pollutants to be controlled within hundreds of source categories, according to a specific schedule. The NAAQS program was also expanded. Other new provisions covered stratospheric ozone protection, increased enforcement authority, and expanded research programs.

Read more about this topic:  Clean Air Act (United States), History

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Famous quotes containing the word legislation:

    But the wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand, which perishes in the twisting; that the State must follow, and not lead the character and progress of the citizen; the strongest usurper is quickly got rid of; and they only who build on Ideas, build for eternity; and that the form of government which prevails, is the expression of what cultivation exists in the population which permits it.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    There were two unpleasant surprises [about Washington]. One was the inertia of Congress, the length of time it takes to get a complicated piece of legislation through ... and the other was the irresponsibility of the press.
    Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.)

    Coming out, all the way out, is offered more and more as the political solution to our oppression. The argument goes that, if people could see just how many of us there are, some in very important places, the negative stereotype would vanish overnight. ...It is far more realistic to suppose that, if the tenth of the population that is gay became visible tomorrow, the panic of the majority of people would inspire repressive legislation of a sort that would shock even the pessimists among us.
    Jane Rule (b. 1931)