For all the good it’s done in helping us breathe easier, you’d think by now the Clean Air Act would get more respect.
Enacted in 1970, and updated to its present form in the 1990’s, the act has taken the lead out of gasoline, tackled destructive acid rain, and reduced crippling smog.
Yet, the Clean Air Act is once again under attack, spurred by the EPA’s recent efforts to protect downwind states from neighboring states’ pollution, and new regulations to deal with hazardous air pollutants such as mercury, arsenic, lead, cyanide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Stronger air quality standards should have been implemented long ago, but powerful interest groups have resisted every step of the way, especially energy companies who have failed to install pollution control equipment at their coal-fired power plants, despite having decades of advanced notice that such requirements were coming.
New proposals in Congress threaten to preempt, delay, or weaken Clean Air Act standards for hazardous air pollutants. Comprehensive implementation of the Clean Air Act seems to have become a bargaining chit in the ongoing ... Read more