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Enviornmental law - Coursework Example

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Environmental Law Course: Instructor: The Clean Air Act The Clean Air Act (1970) is the comprehensive American federal law that was constituted in order to regulate emissions from both stationary and mobile sources of pollution…
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Enviornmental law
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Download file to see previous pages The Earth Day 1970 marked a turning point in the Americans’ awareness about the environmental problems. The Congressional enactment of the Clean Air Act that year, just a few months after the Earth Day was a great landmark. These amendments moved the environmental protection concerns to a prominent position on Capitol Hill where it remained to date (Paul, 1990). The fact that the Earth Day and the 1970 amendments took place almost at the same time was no accident. The amendments of this law actually took place as a result of Congress’s response to the long time public concern about the environmental pollution which was symbolized by the Earth Day demonstrations. Through the public pressure, the Congress then went through a rush to come up with the legislation that would ensure protection against pollution. The original version of this Act which was passed by the U.S Congress in 1970 was fairly straightforward. This placed the EPA in charge of monitoring and improving the nation’s air quality. Under this Act, the EPA had the power to establish research programs, set clean air standards, enforce regulations, and provide technical and financial assistance to state and local government efforts towards reducing air pollution. This Act also directed the EPA to establish the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) that could be useful in controlling emissions of a number of substances that threatened air quality. The NAAQS then divided pollutants into 2 categories, with the first category consisting of those that directly affect human health, and the second category included those that affected human welfare. This Act underwent significant changes and amendments in 1990. The revisions specifically targeted acid rain, with the aim of reducing emissions sulfur dioxide and Nitrogen Oxides by half. There were also new limits to ozone which is the main contributor to smog in urban areas. Some of the benefits associated with this Act include, but not limited to; 160,000 premature deaths avoided, 130,000 heart attack cases avoided, millions of acute respiratory cases avoided and also avoided 86,000 hospital admissions. It prevented 13 million lost workdays, kept kids healthy and in school avoiding 3.2 million lost school days. Between 1970 and 2011, the aggregate emissions of common air pollutants dropped by 68% while at the same time, the U.S gross domestic product grew by 212% (EPA, Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act, 2012). This Act has over the years, since it was passed, created a lot of economic impact in the Americans’ society. To begin with, there has been a dramatic reduction in air pollution rates that has protected the health of many American workers and their families. This is evident by fewer premature deaths and illness which shows that Americans experience longer lives, better quality of life, lower medical expenses, reduced school absences, and better work productivity. This means that the Act has been a good investment for Americans. It is evident that since 1970, cleaner air and growing of the economy has gone hand in hand. The pollution has since reduced by up to -72% while the economy has grown up to +219% as shown by the EPA. The data show the tremendous change that has resulted due to the implementation of the Act up to 2012 (EPA, 2012). The graphs were retrieved from the United States Environmental Protection Agency site at http://www.epa.gov/air/caa/ From the data above, one can easily deduce that the Act has greatly ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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