Air pollution has long been one of the most significant negative impacts of industrial society. Smoggy cities lead to increased asthma rates and carbon emissions currently threaten the global environment. Under the Clean Air Act, and its various amendments, the Environmental Protection Agency is empowered to regulate American industry to minimize or eliminate the dangers posed by airborne contaminants. In 1990, Congress set up a cap-and-trade program to deal with emissions that caused acid rain and ozone depletion. It is a striking success.
Cry Wolf Quotes
Additional money spent on secondary cleanup standards is not going to make that much difference in air quality, but it will hurt the American steel industry….In short, if it did not have to meet environmental requirements, the steel industry would have the capital to increase its annual shipments from 92 million tons in 1981 to 105 million tons in 1990….The need to meet future environmental requirements will reduce this expansion to 96 million tons.
While the states signing on the dotted line will trumpet this proposal, the economic reality ... ought to be a bucket of icy cold New England water. [Now consumers will be] paying even higher prices.
Unfortunately, the atmosphere we’re now in prohibits objective scientists from coming forward. And why should they, when they would be crucified by the press, the E.P.A. and the environmentalists? . . . Our stance has been that lead from gasoline does not and has not caused health problems, and I have not seen any data that convinces me differently.
Clean air, land and water are vital to all of us. But so are jobs, food, clothing and housing. We have to weigh the total impact on the environment along with the economic and social costs in order to clean up.
Related Laws and Rules
EPA: “Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act: Second Prospective Study—1990-2020”
Clean Air Act benefits total more than $2 trillion.
Industry Opposition to Government Regulation
The real costs of specific regulations, in chart form.
The Going-Out-Of-Business Myth
OMB Watch debunks the cry wolf claims made against specific regulations, in chart form.
Jobs vs. The Environment: An Industry-Level Study
Four industries that operate under intense environmental regulatory scrutiny, but haven't lost jobs as a result.
Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act - 1990 to 2010
The monetizable benefits of the Clean Air Act are four times greater than the costs.
Backgrounders & Briefs
Demos looks at ten laws and rules that we take for granted.
This immense article is an intricately detailed history of leaded gasoline, from the industry's early cover-ups to their attempts to defeat EPA regulations.
First-person historical analysis of the leaded gasoline fight.
Political Economy Research Institute is a think tank focused on a variety of subjects such as diverse financial regulation, living wages and environmental protection.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the agency that oversees auto and highway safety regulations, auto recalls, and CAFE standards.
Blue Green Alliance is an alliance of labor and environmental organizations.
Green for All is a leading environmental oranization focused on creating green jobs for low-income communities and people of color.