An Overview of the 1970 us Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act of 1970 was originally an amendment to the Clean Air Act of 1963. Due to extensive changes and stricter regulations being implemented, it was later designated as an Act in its own right. It took over where the previous Clean Air Acts had left off.

To take up the slack of previous legislation, the Clean Air Act of 1970 was completely rewritten to implement higher standards and regulations that covered areas that were not mentioned before. With this new structure in place, the National Ambiant Air Quality Standards or NAAQS was created. It was the job of the NAAQS to monitor air quality and protect the public at large from pollution and emissions that were released into the air.

The Act of 1970 put in place several layers of standards to protect ambient air quality. It established the guidelines for the amount of emissions that could be released into the atmosphere by both automobiles and manufacturing companies. One of the main components of the 1970 Act was that it gave citizens the right to take legal actions against companies that violated the new standards. Companies were held accountable for any damage caused to the air or the environment because of their emissions or waste.

An increase in the amount of federal money spent on researching air pollutants and their affects was also mandated. Over $30 million was set aside to pay for research and the enforcement of newly placed regulations. State and federal agencies also received funding to make sure they were able to enforce new regulations and restrictions that were being put into play.

With the sweeping changes that were made to the previous Clean Air Acts, the Environmental Protection Agency put in place a timeline for auto manufacturers and other corporations to follow. The goals were unrealistic and left the auto industry struggling to meet deadlines without the proper technology. Over the next few years, the Act was amended and more time was given to the corporations to become compliant with the new laws and restrictions. 

An amendment to the Clean Air Act of 1970 was attached in 1977. This new amendment once again extended the time limit for auto manufacturers to become compliant. The amendment was also one of the first to take action to curb the destruction of the ozone layer of the atmosphere.

The changes made to the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the amendments that followed it are still being realized today. Even though stricter standards are now in place, the 1970 piece of legislation opened the door, for the public sector to become involved in the protection of the country’s natural resources as well as the nation’s communities.