An Interactive History of the Clean Air Act

Scientific and Policy Perspectives


  • Jonathan Davidson, Environmental Research Institute, University of California, Riverside, USA
  • Joseph Norbeck, Environmental Research Institute, University of California, Riverside, USA

The Clean Air Act of 1970 set out for the United States a basic, yet ambitious, objective to reduce pollution to levels that protect health and welfare. The Act set out state and federal regulations to limit emissions and the Environmental Protection Agency was established to help enforce the regulations. The Act has since had several amendments, notably in 1977 and 1990, and has successfully helped to increase air quality. This book reviews the history of the Clean Air Act of 1970 including the political, business, and scientific elements that went into establishing the Act, emphasizing the importance that scientific evidence played in shaping policy. The analysis then extends to examine the effects of the Act over the past forty years including the Environmental Protection Agency’s evolving role and the role of states and industry in shaping and implementing policy. Finally, the book offers best practices to guide allocation of respective government and industry roles to guide sustainable development.

The history and analysis of the Clean Air Act presented in this book illustrates the centrality of scientific analysis and technological capacity in driving environmental policy development. It would be useful for policy makers, environmental scientists, and anyone interested in gaining a clearer understand of the interaction of science and policy.

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Political Scientists, Environmental Scientists, Legal Scholars, Government Agencies


Book information

  • Published: December 2011
  • Imprint: ELSEVIER
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-416035-4

Table of Contents

1: Introduction and Overview

2: An Expanding Federal Presence in Air Quality Controls

3: Federal Leadership in Clean Air Act Implementation: The Role of the Environmental Protection Agency

4: State Implementation Planning for Clean Air

5: Industry Responses to the Clean Air Act

6. Industry and Multi-State Association Roles

7: Lessons Learned