Sample History Paper on History of the Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act was ratified to protect the environment and human health from pollution. In particular, the Act addresses issues pertinent to emissions that pollute the air and outdoors. According to the Clean Air Act, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs to establish minimum air quality standards, ensuring that all companies comply. Therefore, areas that fail to meet the standards, also known as “nonattainment areas,” have to make sure they implement measures that help control air pollution. The Act, therefore, established federal standards that dictate operations related to air pollution from hazardous sources. Similar to other programs by EPA, Clean Air Act has also undergone several phases of adjustment with the intention of improvement (Davidson & Norbeck, 2012). In particular, the Clean Air Act was first passed in 1955, and since then, it has been subjected to the process of information collection, research, as well as technical assistance for guaranteed strengthening of federal standards and enforcement strategies.

Main Phases of the Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act has undergone several phases of changes, and each one of them is focused on addressing several environmental issues. The adjustment phases have continuously addressed issues that constantly seem to broaden with time. For instance, since the ratification of this Act in 1955, human life has also changed significantly due to development and population growth, and the Clean Air Act ought to match this development (McCarthy, 2011). In exploring the Clean Air Act phases, it is clear that its history and background are defined by the endorsement of several acts, the most notable ones being between 1955 and 1990.

The Air Pollution Control Act (1955)

The Air Pollution Control Act was the first phase of the Clean Air Act, and it was passed in 1955. The ratification of this Act followed the U.S. federal legislation regulations, which were concerned about continued air pollution due to the industrialization process. Apparently, the 1955 act was primarily focused on sensitizing the public on environmental pollution issues, specifically creating knowledge in relation to this area and increasing research into the matter.

Clean Air Act (1963)

The 1963 act was a hybrid of 1955, and it focused on more specific issues, which entailed an increased focus on the issue of controlled air pollution. The endorsement of this federal program was crucial in that it called different sectors, such as the U.S. Public Health Services, to focus on ways to help society address the issue of air pollution (United States. Department of Health; Education; and Welfare, 1965). For instance, the relevant regulatory authorities needed to set standards that would control and monitor air pollution. Though the Act was considerably more comprehensive compared to that of 1955, its shortcomings were apparent in that it failed to consider mobile sources of air pollution.

Air Quality Act (1967)

The Air Quality Act of 1967 was a better version of the 1963 act since it amended regulations that addressed ambient air. For a comprehensive address of the issues, the 1967 act was divided into several segments that focused on setting national air pollution control standards. The standard control was significant since it advocated for the assimilation of technology control process that aligned to the state implantation plans (SIPs)

Clean Air Act (1970)

 

Image 1: A representation of the main amendment phases of the Clean Air Act. Retrieved from https://www.ladco.org/public-issues/

The endorsement of the Clean Air Act of 1970 was noteworthy since it saw the legalization of this law by being placed in the country’s regulations. Besides, the 1970 act resulted in increased decentralization of processes as the U.S. air control anticipated increasing air pollution control (United States. Government Accountability Office, 2005). Different state and federal agencies embraced this Act by ensuring that it was in the frontline to help preserve air quality following the standard stipulated by EPA. This meant that the 1970 act was more about addressing demand standards that included pollution from mobile sources.

Clean Air Act (1977)

The growing issues of air pollution led to the certification of the Clean Air Act of 1977. The 1977 act was more detailed since it focused on addressing the increasingly earnest and complex air pollution issue (Wilson, 1993). The approach therein entailed passing more realistic goals. As a result, the Act was focused on increased air pollution prevention, more so to mitigate possible destruction to the ozone layer.

Clean Air Act (1990)

The Clean Air Act of 1990 was such a significant amendment as it was primarily designed to make sure that it facilitated the progress and strengthening of environmental regulations (Goklany, 1999). As an amendment to the 1970 Clean Air Act, this Act was more detailed, and it gave the federal government the powers to set national standards of reduced air pollution, which were focused on improving human health and welfare. Overall, 1990 was historical since it amended the previous Clean Air Act such that it amplified the chances to improve public health protection through the medication of the standards governing ambient air quality.

Goals and Objectives

First, the Clean Air Act phases are all about improvements to the original Act, which is to have better regulations. This understanding means that changes in society are sure to cause more devastating adverse effects on the environment. Therefore, there is the need to make sure that amendments are made to existing air pollution standards and regulations for guaranteed protection of the environment and people’s health. On this note, a review of the Clean Air Act’s legislation is undeniably significant since it gives a comprehensive understanding of the evolution of the air-pollution laws. Additionally, this will help understand the history of the legislation and the application to current laws and regulations. With this in mind, the one fact about knowing the legislation of the Clean Air Act is that it will give me the chance to explore general frameworks applicable to international air quality. For instance, this will inform me of what it means to have laws protecting humans from air pollution from stationary and mobile sources. Personally, this knowledge of the Clean Air Act’s legislation will help me explore the international context particular to state laws governing air protection, especially the prevention of air pollution. This knowledge will also be crucial in analyzing the Clean Air Act’s applicability to other nations such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), particularly what can be done to increase prevention strategies for reduced air pollution.

Analysis

Reasons and Objectives

The ratification of the Clean Air Act in the United States was vital since it helped the nation address the prevalent environmental problems, specifically increased air pollution. The U.S.’s decision to endorse the Clean Air Act was influenced by the idea that continued air pollution resulted in devastating environmental problems, such as ozone layer depletion, increased levels of greenhouse gases, and acid rain. Therefore, it was vital for the government to pass the Clean Air Act to ensure that the pollution levels were reduced accordingly. Moreover, the different phases since the establishment of the Air Pollution Control Act in 1955 were all focused on improved focus on the issue and guaranteed mitigation (United States & United States. Congress. House. Committee on Commerce. Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, 1996). First, the endorsement of the 1955 act marked the start of the journey of reduced air pollution. This phase’s milestone was that it was the first federal air pollution legislation, and it focused on funding the research for sources and scope of air pollution.

The second phase was the Clean Air Act of 1963. The reason and objective for its endorsement were that it authorized establishing a national program that focused on air pollution and other related environmental problems. Besides, the objective of this was to strengthen, improve, and accelerate applicable programs related to prevention and reduction of air pollution, specifically setting standards that governed emission rates in factories and power plants. Thus, the amendments particular to the 1963 act were influenced by the authorization of research techniques that would help mitigate air pollution. With the Air Quality Act of 1967, the primary objective was to enforce procedures that would help with the air pollution problems, which included interstate transportation as a pollutant (United States. Congress. House. Committee on Armed Services. Environmental Restoration Panel, 1990). Therefore, this Act was enacted to expand authorized research into the pollution problem by including mobile sources of pollution.

Further adjustments in the Clean Air Act led to amendments in 1970. The Clean Air Act of 1970 was significant since it authorized the foundation of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) (United States & United States. Congress. House. Committee on Commerce. Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, 1995). Unlike past air pollution act, the Clean Air Act of 1970 was extensive since it was also associated with the authorization of New Source Performance Standards for stationery sources, both new and modified. The bigger picture of this endorsement was that it resulted in increased enforcement authority. For example, through the 1977 act, there was a growing concern on authorized requirements that focused on controlling motor vehicle emissions (Martinea & Novello, 2004). The 1977 act was an amendment to the Clean Air Act of 1970. Therefore, the specific regulations endorsed therein focused on improved functions of the previous Act. In particular, the 1977 act is notable for authorized provisions which applied to the Prevent of Significant Deterioration. An almost similar approach was replicated in the authorization of provisions that relate to areas categorized as nonattainment regions, which were in line with the National Ambient Air Quality standards.

The 1970 amendments to the Clean Air Act of 1970 were not considerable since they failed to meet realistic goals in maintaining the ambient air standards. As a result, there was the need for further modification of the 1977 amendments, with the primary objective of maintaining the standards of NAAQS, which resulted in the 1990 act (Carlson & Burtraw, 2019). The first notable objective of the 1990 and the reason for this amendment was that it led to the authorization of Acid Deposition Control programs. Therefore, this meant that there were authorized programs that controlled the release of toxic pollutants in the environment. For instance, the legislation focused on previously regulated emission by the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutant. This allowed the Clean Air Act to focus on the establishment of permit program requirements. With such an approach, the 1990 act expanded modification of provisions related to the attainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Successful maintenance of these standards meant that there was a need for expansion and modification of enforcement authority. Another significant amendment particular to the 1990 act was establishing a program that would phase out the use of chemicals that were notorious in the depletion of the ozone layer.

Successful amendments of the Clean Air Act have played significant roles in society, particular reduced levels of emission. Statistical evidence shows that the years 1990 and 2018 were significant since the Clean Air Act managed to protect the public health by imposing stringent measures that helps reduce the level of emission by companies. For example, when the Clean Air Act was embraced, the primary objective was to reduce the levels of pollution. Therefore, as shown in the image below, the assimilation of stringent measures on air pollution, the levels of carbon monoxide, lead, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide emissions have reduced to almost zero (Currie & Walker, 2019). The decline in emission levels could be attributed to the fact that the policies of the Clean Air Act gave the local government powers to effectively implement the standards of environmental protection agency and in ways that they collaborate with all involved parties. Improvements in air quality have followed the authorization pattern, which requires the U.S. community to make sure that the levels of emissions are reduced significantly, precisely by ensuring that they use alternative energy sources.

Image 2: A representation of the decline in levels of emission. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/clean-air-act-overview

Recommendations and Conclusions

Conclusion

Apparently, the Clean Air Act’s endorsement in 1955 was such a significant move in the United States as it marked the journey to reduced air pollution. According to the Clean Air Act Legislation, the U.S. government was responsible for ensuring that it protected its citizens from air pollution, thus improving their well-being and conserving the environment. The history of the Clean Air Act, such as its ratification and amendment, all show that improved environmental conservation strategies are progressive. In fact, legislation laws need to be progressive, thus ensuring that the protection laws focus on ensuring all possible causes of emission are mitigated accordingly. Overall, the Clean Air Act is notable for the various amendments, which have helped make sure that the issue of air pollution is addressed accordingly. In fact, the Clean Air Act was primarily focused on reducing the levels of pollution by enacting stringent measures that would deter organizations and society from continued pollution. Apparently, the Clean Air Act has been successful in its journey as it has managed to reduce the levels of emission significantly. Particularly, through the assimilation of strict measures on air pollution, the levels of carbon monoxide, lead, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide emissions have reduced to almost zero.

Lesson Learned

The lessons from an analysis of the Clean Air Act’s legislations are that the different phases of this Act are attributable to the fact that the world continues to progress and the same magnitude needs to be replicated in environmental conservation efforts. For instance, the 1955 act was focused on initiating research into the area of environmental conservation. With this, other acts and amendments were focused on improving the initiative of reduced air pollution (Belden, 2001). The conveyed message is that all responsible authorities need to make sure that they focus all their efforts on reduced air pollution. This should be apparent in their decision-making process and ratification of pertinent laws and regulations. This entails having strict laws on reduced air pollution if firms and industries are to abide by them.

Recommendations

An overall analysis of the Clean Air Act shows that the laws have been significant in the United States’ efforts to fight air pollution. Like the U.S. context, the Clean Air Act’s laws and regulations can be replicated in other countries, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A country like the UAE can benefit from the U.S.’s Clean Air Act by ensuring that they observe specific details contained therein to help them address loopholes in requirements and make stricter laws that penalize organizations for violating the environmental laws. On this note, the UAE can develop environmental laws related to the United States Clean Air Act by using technology-forced elements to improve air quality, have stricter laws on air pollution, pass laws and legislation that require industries to comply with environmental protection, and have relevant authorities work hand-in-hand with stakeholders in the assimilation of programs that reduces air. First, UAE can address air pollution issues by embracing technology-forced elements to improve air quality. This approach will help UAE to ensure that air quality improvement strategies that align to the modern-day levels of emission. The second step by the UAE is to make sure that it embraces stricter laws on air pollution. Stringent laws are sure to help this nation to force all involved parties to ensure their operations meet the stipulated standards. Apparently, strict laws are part of the process that guarantees that industrial operations comply with environmental protection measures. Finally, the UAE government can address air pollution issues by ensuing that relevant authorities work hand-in-hand with stakeholders in the assimilation of programs that reduces air.

References

Belden, R. S. (2001). Clean Air Act. American Bar Association.

Carlson, A., & Burtraw, D. (2019). Lessons from the Clean Air Act: Building durability and adaptability into US climate and energy policy. Cambridge University Press.

Currie, J. and Walker, R. (2019). ‘What Do Economists Have to Say about the Clean Air Act 50       Years after the Establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency?’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 33(4), pp. 3–26. doi: 10.1257/jep.33.4.3.

Davidson, J., & Norbeck, J. M. (2012). An interactive history of the Clean Air Act: Scientific and policy perspectives. Elsevier.

Goklany, I. M. (1999). Clearing the air: The real story of the war on air pollution. Cato Institute.

Martineau, R. J., & Novello, D. P. (2004). The Clean Air Act handbook. American Bar      Association.

McCarthy, J. E. (2011). Clean Air Act: A summary of the act and its major requirements. DIANE Publishing.

United States, & United States. Congress. House. Committee on Commerce. Subcommittee on        Oversight and Investigations. (1995). Clean Air Act amendments: Hearing before the       subcommittee on oversight and investigations of the committee on commerce, House of           Representatives, one hundred fourth Congress, first session, on title V permits, May 18,   1995.

United States, & United States. Congress. House. Committee on Commerce. Subcommittee on        Oversight and Investigations. (1996). Clean Air Act amendments: Hearings before the      subcommittee on oversight and investigations of the committee on commerce, House of           Representatives, one hundred fourth Congress, first session, on title iii–hazardous air     pollutants, June 29 and July 21, 1995.

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Armed Services. Environmental Restoration      Panel. (1990). Review of the Clean Air Act: Hearing before the environmental restoration      panel of the committee on armed services, House of Representatives, one hundred first     Congress, second session, hearing held March 6, 1990.

United States. Department of Health; Education; and Welfare. (1965). The Clean Air Act       amendments and Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965.

United States. Government Accountability Office. (2005). Clean Air Act: EPA has completed        most of the actions required by the 1990 amendments, but many were completed late :          Report to congressional Requestors.

Wilson, R. (1993). Impact of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments on motor fuel-an             overview. The Impact of U.S. Environmental Regulations on Fuel Quality, 19-19-11. doi:10.1520/stp15920s