Clean Air Act

What could be more vital than the air you breathe?

"Forty years ago...

we wore bell bottoms and trouser suits, were infatuated with lava lamps … and breathed dirty air. Thankfully, more than our tastes have changed. Because of the Clean Air Act of 1970, the air is cleaner, and we are healthier" ("Earth justice" 2013).
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So one day in 1970, President Richard Nixon realized the dire situation and signed the Clean Air Act.

This national act gives the EPA the responsibility of setting limits and enforcing rules regarding air pollution. This includes mobile sources such as cars, ambient air quality standards such as smog, hazardous air pollutant discharges from factories, standards for any new pollutant sources that may arise, as well as protection from acid rain and protection of our ozone layer. Amendments were made in 1990 to create this Clean Air Act (CAA) that we abide by today. ("The clean air act" 2013)

The Clean Air Act has made incredible progress over the past 40 years.

The CAA put into place immediate regulations for factories, which made instant progress for factory emissions. Earth states that more than 200,000 premature deaths and 18 million cases of respiratory illness in children were prevented in the first twenty years ("Earth justice", 2013). The EPA also estimates that in 2005, forty percent fewer toxic emissions from factories and facilities across the country were emitted than in 1990 ("How the clean air act is working", 2013).

You can't always get what you want...

There are, of course, problems with the CAA as well. The regulations set on cars and trucks will take many years to have an effect. An article from NPR claims that "the system Congress set up 21 years ago to clean up toxic air pollution still leaves many communities exposed to risky concentrations of benzene, formaldehyde, mercury, and many other hazardous chemicals." The article states that there were at least 1,600 plants with pollution violations across the country, and that 25 percent of these are being hidden by the EPA. (Shroegen, 2013)

This would obviously be a problem for the EPA and the CAA, and it may be time for some new amendments. There would need to be stricter regulations and higher fines for such pollution, and more immediate regulations placed on all new vehicles produced in the country.