The Clean Air Act (CAA) of 1970, and its subsequent amendments, is a complex, comprehensive law that recognizes the existence of serious air pollution, establishes standards to protect public health and the environment, and authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set binding national standards for common and widespread outdoor air pollutants (also called criteria pollutants).
The goal of the Act was to set and achieve National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in every state by 1975. The setting of maximum pollutant standards was coupled with directing the states to develop state implementation plans (SIP’s) applicable to appropriate industrial sources in the state.
The Act was amended in 1977 primarily to set new goals (dates) for achieving attainment of NAAQS since many areas of the country had failed to meet the deadlines. The 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act in large part were intended to meet unaddressed or insufficiently addressed problems, such as air toxics, acid rain, ground-level ozone, and stratospheric ozone depletion.
The 1990 amendments tightened pollution control requirements in cities that had not reached attainment, mandated a schedule for control technology for all major toxic air emitters, and listed 189 substances (hazardous air pollutants [HAP’s] — also called air toxics) subject to special controls. The EPA can add other pollutants that may present a threat of adverse health effects or environmental effects, but they cannot be listed as hazardous unless they meet certain conditions.
The 1990 amendments also required reductions in acid rain emissions, tighter auto emissions standards, mandated cleaner gasoline and clean-fueled vehicles in the nation’s most polluted cities, and phased out production of chemicals that contribute to depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.
1) Microbeads and other plastic pollutants can linger in the environment for over 50 years, slowly accumulating toxins and working up the food chain.
2) The Great Lakes account for 20% of the world’s freshwater, yet host an average of 17,000 pieces of microbeads per square kilometer. (NPR)
3) More than 11,000 pounds of microbeads are annually added to Wisconsin waterways alone. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
4) Companies like L’Oreal and Johnson & Johnson recently announced plans to phase out microbeads, but it’s unclear whether they will use sustainable alternatives or other plastics.
- 78 percent of Americans say the government should limit greenhouse gasses, while 66 percent say they are more likely to vote for a candidate that advocates action to reduce GHGs. — New York Times/Standard poll, 2015
69 percent of adults consider climate change “serious,” an increase since 2008. — New York Times, 2015
70 percent of Hispanics and 56 percent of African-Americans believe the earth is getting warmer because of human activity. — Pew Research Center, 2015
Read more polling results here.
In a 9-0 vote the Ann Arbor, MI City Council passed a resolution in support of a plan for a national carbon fee and dividend program developed by the Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL). The resolution also calls on federal lawmakers to take action in adopting the CCL proposal, with copies of the resolution being sent to […]
A new op-ed by John Abrams, founder and CEO of South Mountain Co., lays out the business case for a carbon price. Mr. Abrams emphasizes that businesses suffer from the impacts of climate change such as flood damage, polluted water, and power outages, and that a market based approach like a carbon fee will help […]
A new paper in Environmental Politics challenges the long-standing assumption that public opinion on the importance of environmental issues decreases in response to economic downturns. U.S. public beliefs and attitudes about the importance of global warming notably declined during the years often called the “Great Recession,” with one study showing a decrease from about 71% […]
On August 4th, 2017, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) recognized two state lawmakers for outstanding accomplishments on environmental issues. NCEL staff presented Nevada Assemblymember Chris Brooks with its “Rising Environmental Leader” award, and former California Senator Fran Pavley received the “Leon G. Billings Lifetime Achievement Award.” The awards were announced at NCEL’s fourth […]
A new budget provision in New York will provide $50,000 to study incentives for climate-smart farming practices, including tax credits, grants, and other programs. Assemblywoman Didi Barrett originally introduced the proposal as a standalone Carbon Farming Act (A3281) but was able to incorporate it into the state budget where she can help implement the study […]