The act was approved by Congress in 1963, since then it has been amended four times with significant amendments in 1970 and 1990. The act aimed at reducing air pollutants and their sources. A series of air pollution episodes led to the formation of the act. In 1952, the London Fog disaster led to the loss of over 3000 lives as a result of temperature inversion in the city which prevented London’s sulfurous coal smoke from escaping to the atmosphere and turned out to be a health hazard. There was a need to take immediate action to reverse the incidents of catastrophes due to air pollution. Due to the industrial revolution, the United States was equally in danger of health hazards because of the existence of multiple sources of air pollution. The main objective of the act was to address hazardous air pollutants to protect public health and welfare risks associated with widespread pollutants. Significant amendments have been done to incorporate the use of technology-based standards in specific areas. The last modification was done in 1990.
In the act, the Environmental Protection Agency has been mandated to regulate the emission of pollutants that may endanger public health and welfare (Gonzalez 87). The regulation also requires the state and local authorities to monitor and enforce regulations that reduce air pollutants. The number of various air pollutants has been limited to specific levels through the act, and thus standards for air quality have been defined.
The air pollution regulation has been helpful to the US economy. There has been a proportional growth in the economy since 1970. The regulation has inspired research and innovation to adopt cleaner technologies in which the U.S is now the global market leader. According to an EPA 2011 study, it was found that there were more direct benefits to the economy which exceeded the compliance costs thus improving the economic welfare of an American household. The study also states that clean air meant less money was spent in terms of medical treatment, and there were lower cases of absenteeism among workers thus the regulation has beneficial benefits (“Summary of the Clean Air Act”). Therefore, more jobs could be created by cutting pollution to protect the public.
While the regulation for clean air has been successful in addressing the various environmental challenges, the act can be improved to address upcoming issues. The regulation can be improved by considering the financial implications in some cases. For instance, insignificant increments in the quality of air should not be accompanied by unreasonable costs. The move will be essential to ensure a sustainable business environment where businesses will be cautious but not necessarily incur very high costs to provide a competitive environment. Additionally, there should be active collaboration between the state, local, and other agencies to monitor the impact of the regulation. The partnership will ensure that accurate data is obtained during evaluation so that the risks associated with the rule are addressed.
Governmental regulation is key to any nation. There are key industries in the U.S which are controlled by the government. However, in 2018, the US was 76.8% economically free. Since most sectors in the U.S economy are controlled by the private sectors, the US economy can function as a free market where the law of demand and supply determines labour and production.
The Clean Air Act is an essential regulations in the U, S history. The regulation seeks to protect public health, and it has influenced the economy by putting in place measures to monitor harmful gases emission especially from manufacturing industries. The regulation has proved too valuable not only in protecting the health of people but also improving the economy through widespread innovation and job creation. The improvement of the law by considering the implications in the marketplace can help resolve emerging issues.
“Summary of the Clean Air Act.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 24 Aug. 2017, www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-clean-air-act.
Gonzalez, George A. Corporate Power and the Environment: The Political Economy of U.s. Environmental Policy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011. Print.