Air Pollution: Building on the Successes
Breaking the Logjam: Environmental Reform for the New Congress and Administration Paper
41 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2009
This article examines the evidence from thirty-eight years of experience under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 (and later amendments) and concludes that federal air pollution regulation has achieved the greatest pollution reductions when requirements were aimed directly at pollution sources rather than at requiring states to comply with federal planning procedures. The authors propose that Congress stop regulating the states and focus on regulating the largest sources of pollution. By directly regulating just a few thousand such major sources, as well as continuing to regulate new vehicles directly, and certain other nationally marketed goods (mainly fuels, paints, and solvents), the federal government would itself control the lion's share of interstate pollution. Congress should leave all remaining sources -- the overwhelming majority in terms of the number of facilities -- to regulation by the states.
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