Air Pollution Law

Air pollution is a problem for all Americans. The average adult breathes
over 3,000 gallons of air on a daily basis (Spellman, 1999). Children
breathe even more air per pound of body weight and are more susceptible to
air pollution. Air pollution threatens the health of human beings and all
Even though we cannot see all of them, pollutants in the air create smog
and acid rain, cause cancer or other serious health effects, diminish the
protective ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, and contribute to the
potential for global climate change. For this reason, it is important to
have air pollution laws, which are strict and enforceable. This paper will
describe existing air pollution laws in the United States.
The Clean Air Act, initially enacted in 1963 and significantly amended in
1970 and 1990, is the primary federal law under which the EPA operates
(Rothbard, 1990). The Clean Air Act was thefirst comprehensive
Due to the 1990 Clean Air Act, the role of the state and federal
governments is stronger than it has been in the past. While the 1990 Clean
Air Act is a federal law covering the entire United States, the states
actually carry out the act. For example, a state air pollution agency holds
a hearing on a permit application by a power plant or penalizes a company
for violation of air pollution limits.
Under this law, the Environmental Protection Agency PA limits exactly how
much of a pollutant can be in the air anywhere in the country. By doing
this, all Americans are granted the same basic health and environmental
protections. The law enables individual states to have stronger pollution
controls, but states are not allowed to have weaker pollution controls than
Each state must develop state implementation plans (SIPs) that describe how
each state will do its job under the Clean Air Act. A state implementation
plan consists of a collection of the regulations a state will employ to

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