U.S. Clean Air Programs

Goals

To obtain details on clean air programs in the U.S. at the federal, state, and city levels.

Early Findings

Federal

  • The Clean Air Act was passed in 1970 and there were major revisions to the law in 1977 and 1990.
  • The Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPS) to establish air quality standards based on the latest science, Currently, six pollutants have air quality standards: "particulate matter (also known as particle pollution), ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead."
  • States are required to create plans that indicate how they will meet and maintain the quality standards set by the EPA.

State

  • California has adopted emission standards that are more stringent than the federal standards, and has received a waiver from the federal government to do this. Fourteen states, plus DC have adopted California's standards rather than the federal regulations. One of the regulations in the federal Clean Air Act is that states can choose to implement the federal standards or those imposed in California.
  • In September, President Trump announced that California's waiver was being revoked. Shortly after, California and 22 other states sued the EPA to block the decision. According to the California Air Resources Board, the Clean Air Act does not have a process for revoking a waiver, and there is no example of a waiver being revoked, because it has never happened.

Local

  • In February 2019, the city of Baltimore passed the Baltimore Clean Air Act.
  • Lincoln, Nebraska, has also has local laws and regulations surrounding clean air.
  • In the middle of 2019, the Pittsburgh City Council pledged "support for the Allegheny County Health Department’s efforts to uphold clean air standards..."

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