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Clean Air Acts 1955-1990

Air Pollution Control Act 1955 (Public Law 84-159)
  • Allocated $5 million in government funds annually to research the negative effects of air pollution on public health.
  • Did little to effectively limit air pollution, but officially acknowledged it as a potential danger and authorized Congress to respond to and control the problem.

Clean Air Act of 1963 (Public Law 88-206)
  • Sought to reduce air pollution from power plants, mills, and other stationary sources.
  • Allocated $95 million over a three year period to air pollution agencies as well as state and local governments for the purpose of conducting research and supporting control efforts.
  • Acknowledges motor vehicle exhaust as being hazardous to human health.
  • Orders government-mandated research, investigations, surveys, and experiments in interstate pollution from the use of high sulphur coal and oil.

Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act of 1965
  • Amendment to the Clean Air Act of 1963.
  • Recognized the transient nature of air pollution and its effects on trans-border communities.
  • Set emissions standards for automobiles, the first ever at the federal level (for 1968 automobile models, based on 1963 emissions levels).

Air Quality Acts of 1967
  • Additional amendments to the original Clean Air Act of 1963.
  • Divided United States into 247 Air Quality Control Regions (AQCRs) as a means to organize, analyze, implement, and enforce environmental policy.
  • Set first national emissions standards for stationary sources, as well as timelines and recommendations for State Implementation Plans (SIPs).

Clean Air Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-604)
  • Allowed citizens the right to take legal action in matters pertaining to environmental affairs and/or emissions standards.
  • Established mandatory “New Source Performance Standards” (NSPS) for emissions levels on newly constructed power plants, additions to power plants, etc.
  • Set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health.
  • Extremely significant in that, for the first time on a legislative level, standards set on six various types of pollutants; sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, and lead.

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