The Clean Air Act

TheClean Air Act

TheClean Air Act

Theclean air act is an environmental law in the United States, whichmainly controls air quality. The act has been serving as the keyfactor behind emission standards adjustments in the utility, airlineand auto industries. The primary goal of this law concerns humanhealth and non-health issues such as agriculture and aesthetics. InDecember 1963, President Lyndon Johnson signed the act into law andsince then, the act has seen adjustments in 1966, 1970, 1977 and1990.

TheAct is an inclusive national law that regulates air emission fromportable and static sources. The law enables the EPA (EnvironmentalProtection Agency) to come up with (NAAQS) National Ambient AirQuality Standards, which safeguard the health and the welfare of thepublic as well as regulate air emissions. Upon its creation, theact’s main goal encompassed the establishment of NAAQS in every USAstate by the year 1975 so that it could address public welfare andhealth risks generated by particular widespread air pollutants (Howe,2016). The 1977 and 1990 amendments sufficed to establish newobjectives for realizing NAAQS goals since several states hadunsuccessfully tried to attain the targets. Section 122 of the actcovers emissions of dangerous air pollutant. The 1990 amendments tothis act changed section 122 to require the issuance of technologybased values to area and major sources. Under this act, Major sourcesare defined as a group of static sources that have the capacity toemit 10 tons or more per year. An area source is a stationaryresource that is not classified as a major source. In the case ofmajor sources, this section requires that EPA develops emissionsguidelines that need the maximum percentage of reduction in therelease of dangerous air pollutants (Howe, 2016).

Environmentallaws in most scenarios give health and economic benefits thatoutweigh the costs involved in compliance hence, contributing to thecreation of job opportunities. From 1970 up to 2014 total nationalrelease of the main six major pollutants particles which include,lead, sulfur oxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and nitrogen have droppedan average of 69% while gross domestic product improved by 238%(UnitedStates Geological Survey).Hence, the establishment of this depicts that guarding public health,and the growth of economy go hand in hand. On the other hand,Environmental Protection Agency (2015) notes that the act has reduceddamage to timber yields and crops, which has increased the supply offood thus, a stronger economy. It is worth noting that the act hasled to fewer illnesses and deaths, which have contributed greatly tobetter productivity, decreased medical expenses, and better qualityof life. In addition, the act has contributed to the economyregarding investments as it has inspired inventions and innovationsin cleaner processes and technologies. Environmental ProtectionAgency (2015) notes that in 2010 because of the act, America avoidedmillions of respiratory problems’ cases, 13 million lost workdays,and around 160,000 premature deaths, which enhanced productivity andcontributed to a stronger economy.

Sincethe establishment of Clean Air Act, United State has cut airpollution. This act has enabled several areas of the nation toaccomplish national air quality guidelines. For instance, all areasthat experienced unhealthy degrees of carbon monoxide back in 1991now meet air quality standards. A national widespread concern ofairborne lead pollution before the EPA dealt with lead found in motorvehicle gasoline in line with CAA, currently meets air qualitystandards. The country has experienced cleaner and greenerenvironment coupled with fewer damages. In addition, the reduction ofcases relating to respiratory problems as asserted in EnvironmentalProtection Agency (2015) supports the positive implication of the actto the environment.

Soundscientists have apparently proven that global warming is a globalthreat with real consequences for every person. It is changing thewhole world. Gases that are emitted to the atmosphere can trap heatleading to steadily increasing temperatures. Rise in temperatureswill lead to air quality problems causing health issues such asasthma and many others (Howe, 2016). Scientist have also proven thatglobal warming affects trees, wildlife and changes in climates, whichis one of the main disasters the world is facing today. Avoiding thethreats posed by climate change will need cuts in global greenhousegas emissions. Human beings contribute to greenhouse gases throughburning of oil, natural gases and coal to produce energy for power.

EPAshould develop new standards concerning greenhouse gas emissionsstarting from stationary sources to mobile sources under the CleanAir Act. EPA has evaluated that greenhouse gas emission threatensAmerican people health and welfare. Carbon dioxide is the maingreenhouse gas toxin covering almost three-quarter of worldwidegreenhouse gas release and 84 percent of United States greenhouse gasemissions. Electric power industries contributed to 32% of UnitedStates aggregate greenhouse gas released in 2012. This was anincrease of 11% since 1990. The year 2014 was the hottest periodrecorded in history. Also, fourteen of the fifteen warmest years onrecord have all emerged in the first 15 years of this century (Howe,2016).

Roughly,75% of global emissions are contributed by 15-20 countries UnitedState being one of them. United State is the key player incontrolling greenhouse gas emission. United State has the largesteconomy and responsible for the highest degree of gas emission.Therefore, needs to come up with broad multilateral cooperation inextenuating climate change.


EnvironmentalProtection Agency. (2015). and the Economy.Retrieved March 09, 2016, from

Howe,J. P. (2016). Behindthe curve: Science and the politics of global warming.University of Washington Press.

Lipton,J. P. (2006). CleanAir Act: Interpretation and analysis.New York: Nova Sciences

UnitedStates Geological Survey (n.d.). USGS Guide to Federal EnvironmentalLaws and Regulations. (n.d.). Retrieved 9 March, 2016, from