You are on page 1of 5

Overview of the Clean Air Act

Cooperative federalism: Dynamic balance between federal standard setting and state implementation
Six Titles:
Title I: Programs and Activities
requires EPA to identify air pollutants
provide for the establishment of the national Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)
Direct each state to produce a state implementation plan (SIP) to achieve the NAAQS
New source performance standards for stationary sources of air pollution( NSPS) as well as
standards for hazardous air pollutants (HAPS)
Specifies the consequences of the failure to attain the NAAQS
Requires the prevention of significant deterioration(PSD) of air quality in areas where the
NAAWS are already satisfied CAA 101-193
Title II: Emission Standards for Moving Sources
regulation of air pollutants emitted from cars and other vehicles (usually called mobile sources)
targeting the permissible emissions from vehicles and the types of fuels that they use, while
encouraging alternatives to traditional vehicles and fuels CAA 202-259
Title III: General Provisions
Enforcement provisions appear in this title, including the citizen suit provision empowering any
affected party to sue to enforce the law and the provisions governing judicial review of EPA
decisions implementing the CAA. CAA 7601-7628
Title IV: Acid Deposition
Congress added this provision in 1990 to create a market-based approach to controlling emissions
from large electric utility plants. CAA 401-416
Title V: Permits
Congress added this provision in 1990, which establishes the first direct permit requirements for
air pollution sources in the CAA (as opposed to state plans) CAA 501-507
Title VI: Stratospheric Ozone Protections
This provision requires the phase-out of the production, use, and consumption of certain
substances that contribute to depletion of the earths stratospheric ozone layer. CAA 601-618

National ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) 108-109

CAA 108: requires EPA to identify those pollutants which are suitable for a national standard
CAA 109: requires EPA to issues those standards in the form of NAAQS
NAAQS are divided into two categories:
Primary: set at a level which is requisite to protect public health while allowing for an adequate margin
of safety
Secondary: set at a level which is requisite to protect public welfare from any known or anticipated
adverse effects associated with the presence of such air pollutant in the ambient air
Nitrogen Dioxide (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Lead (Pb), particulate matter (divided into two
categories), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and ozone (O3)
State Implementation Plans (SIPS) CAA 107 and 110
Each plan submitted must provide for implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of the NAAQS
within each air quality control region in the state.
- If state fails, then federal government must establish a Federal Implementation Plan within two
years for that particular state
New Source Review (NSP)
- Construction of a new source of air pollution or modification of an existing source may trigger
preconstruction review and permitting.
- permitting is based on whether the source is:
o attainment area : subject to psd a major source is one that has the potential to emit at
lease 25o tons per year of a regulated pollutant or at least 100 tpy of regulated pollutant if
the source is within one of 28 listed source categories
o non-attainment area: nonattainment permit program
Prevention of Significant Deteriorating Program CA 160-169B
Attempts to preserve existing good air quality as well as ensure that areas in attainment of NAAQS
remain in attainment
Required to implement the Best Available Control Technology which is set according to the most
effective technology already in use in the marketplace
Nonattainment Program CAA 171-189
New major stationary sources or major modification must receive a state nonattainment permit prior to
State permit program must include a requirement that major new or modified sources achieve the Lowest
Achievable Emission Rate as define d as the most stringent emission limitations contained in any sip or
that is achieved in practice
New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) CAA 111
New stationary sources such as power plants, refineries, and other categories of industrial activities are
required to meet new source performance standards established by the EPA. EPA also establishes
performance standards for new and existing sources under the NSR program.

Mobile Sources CAA 202-259

Regulations preempt all states except California from adopting standards that differ from the federal
standards unless they adopt the standards set by the federal government, unless they adopt Californias
Acid Rain Emission Trading CAA 401-416
Establishment of the marketable emission permits trading scheme for SO 2 and NOx which were identified
as the cause of acid rain

National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)

Lead Industries Association v. EPA(1980): allowed the agency to err on the side of caution in demining an
adequate margin of safety. NAAQS levels must be based solely on health consideration and the agency
may not consider economic or technical feasibility
NAAQS approach stifles potential of interstate competition for industry
A. Establishing NAAQS
Natural Resources Defense Council v. Train: publication of a list of pollutants adverse to public health or
welfare, derived from numerous or diverse sources, the promulgation of nation ambient air quality
standards for listed pollutants, and subsequent implementation of these standards by the states
Once a pollutant has been listin under 108(a)(1) and 109 and 110 of the act are automatically invoked.
These sections require that for any pollutant for which air quality criteria are issued under 108(a)(1)(c)
after the date of enactment of the CCA of 1970m the administration must simultaneously issue air quality
- within nine months, states are required to submit an implementation plan to the administrator

Whitman v. American Trucking Associations (2001): The court found that 109(b)(1) of the CAA, which
required the EPA to set air quality standards at a level to protect the public health with an adequate margin

of safety, fit comfortably within the scope of discretion permitted by its precedent. Also, the court
affirmed the court of appeal's holding that 109(b) of the CAA unambiguously barred cost considerations
from the NAAQS-setting process. Further, the court found that the court of appeals had jurisdiction to
review the EPA's interpretation of the part of the CAA relating to the implementation of the revised ozone
NAAQS, since its implementation policy was a final agency action that was ripe for review. However, the
court remanded the action, since it held that the EPA's implementation policy for nonattainment areas was
unlawful. Whatever effect could be accorded gaps in the section addressing ozone specifically (subpart 2),
as implying some limited applicability of the section containing general nonattainment regulations that
pertained to every pollutant, they could not be thought to render subpart 2's carefully designed restrictions
on EPA discretion utterly nugatory once a new standard had been promulgated.
CONCLUSION: The CAA properly delegated legislative power to the EPA, but the EPA could not
consider implementation costs in setting primary and secondary NAAQS. Also, the court of appeals had
jurisdiction to review the EPA's interpretation of the part of the CAA relating to the implementation of the
revised ozone NAAQS; however, the EPA's interpretation of that part was unreasonable.

IV. State Implementation Plans (SIPs)

A. Overview

How the state will monitor, control, and enforce the standards
Addresses all emissions sources

For transportation, sets the limit on emissions for on-road vehicles

Addresses the time period up until attainment date (e.g., 2018)
How to meet the standard by the attainment deadline
Collection of documents planning, regulatory, and procedural

B. EPA Review and Approval of SIPS

EPA has a consultation role on conformity determinations and determines if SIP budgets are adequate

EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA( 2012):

The Clean Air Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish national ambient air quality
standards (NAAQS) for pollutants at levels that will protect public health. Once EPA settles on a NAAQS, the
Agency must designate "nonattainment" areas, i.e., locations where the concentration of a regulated pollutant
exceeds the NAAQS, and each state must submit a State Implementation Plan, or SIP, to EPA within three years of
any new or revised NAAQS. From the date EPA determines that a State SIP is inadequate, EPA has two years to
promulgate a Federal Implementation Plan, or FIP. Among other things, the CAA mandates SIP compliance with the
Good Neighbor Provision, which requires SIPs to "contain adequate provisions . . . prohibiting . . . any source or
other type of emissions activity within the State from emitting any air pollutant in amounts which will . . . contribute
significantly to nonattainment in, or interfere with maintenance by, any other State with respect to any NAAQS.
The CAA does not require that states be given a second opportunity to file a SIP after EPA has quantified the state's
interstate pollution obligations. Nor does the Good Neighbor Provision require EPA to disregard costs and consider
exclusively each upwind state's physically proportionate responsibility for each downwind air quality problem.
EPA's cost-effective allocation of emission reductions among upwind states is a permissible, workable, and equitable
interpretation of the Good Neighbor Provision.
C. Nonattainment of NAAQS and the SIP Process
punishments and loss of benefits for non-attainment