ENFORCING THE CLEAN AIR ACT OF 1970

THE CLEAN AIR ACT OF 1970 CALLS FOR SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION OF POLLUTANTS BY 1975. THE ACT ASSUMES THAT FOR MOST MAJOR POLLUTANTS THERE IS A CONCENTRATION BELOW WHICH THEY ARE NOT HARMFUL. THESE POLLUTANTS ARE TO BE REDUCED TO EITHER PRIMARY STANDARDS, NOT HARMFUL TO HUMAN HEALTH, OR SECONDARY STANDARDS, NOT HARMFUL TO PROPERTY, VEGETATION OR ANIMALS, AS DEFINED BY THE PARTICULAR STATE GOVERNMENTS. SOME POLLUTANTS ARE HARMFUL AT ANY LEVEL THEREFORE SPECIAL REGULATIONS ARE IMPOSED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTROLLING THESE. THE STATES ARE TO SUBMIT THEIR PLANS FOR CONTROLLING POLLUTION IN INDUSTRIES AND COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENTS FOR APPROVAL BY THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. THE CONGRESS ITSELF HAS SET LIMITS ON VEHICLE EMISSIONS. THE CLEAN AIR ACT IS GOING INTO EFFECT IN CONFLICT WITH THE CURRENT ENERGY SHORTAGE. OPPOSITION TO THE ACT, HOWEVER, BEGAN WITH ITS INCEPTION. THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE OPPOSES THE COST IT WILL INFLICT ON INDUSTRY, THE BUREAU OF MINES BECAUSE THEY REPRESENT MINING AND FUEL INDUSTRIES, AND THE OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BECAUSE OF THE HARM TO THE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY. THEY HAVE ALSO HAD OPPOSITION FROM THE COPPER SMELTING, ELECTRIC POWER AND CEMENT INDUSTRIES. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE, EPA HAS BEEN SUED BY CONSERVATIONISTS FOR NOT BEING STRINGENT ENOUGH. THE CASE WENT TO THE SUPREME COURT WHERE THE CONSERVATIONISTS WON, THUS RESTRICTING EPA'S CONTROL. OTHER PROBLEMS ARISE IN THE RELIABILITY OF MATHEMATICAL MODELS IN PREDICTING REAL POLLUTION PROBLEMS. THE AUTHOR CONCLUDES THAT THE PROBLEMS EPA IS HAVING ARE INHERENT IN ANY FOR REACHING LAW. CONSIDERING THE INADEQUATE INFORMATION ON POLLUTION, THE CLEAN AIR ACT'S AIR QUALITY STANDARDS ARE PROBABLY THE BEST APPROACH.

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Photos;
  • Pagination: p. 14-21
  • Serial:
    • Scientific American
    • Volume: 228
    • Issue Number: 6
    • Publisher: Scientific American Incorporated
    • ISSN: 0036-8733

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00240334
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 5 1974 12:00AM