Air

CSG South

This Southern Legislative Conference Regional Resource examines several key components of the Clean Air Act in relation to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. In particular, it focuses on state control strategies and compliance in the areas of ozone and particulate matter, as these have had the greatest impact on states’ ability to meet clean air requirements. Additional focus is on the transition between the 1-hour and 8-hour ozone and particulate matter standards. Recent federal actions significantly affecting ozone and particulate matter emissions also are highlighted.

From the lofty heights of Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., it may appear that the federal government makes all the important decisions about clean air policy. After all, US EPA  regulations and the detailed provisions of the 1990 Clean Air Act regulate pollutants that float in the air, pollutants released by industrial and mobile sources (cars and trucks), and the type

of fines and sanctions levied against violators. From the Capitol Hill perspective, all these  national standards and regulations are absolutely necessary. According to the cynics, if left to their own devices the states would adopt weaker and weaker environmental protection laws, creating a "race to the bottom" in which states compete for economic growth by enticing industry with less stringent - and less costly - regulations.

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