Factory smokestacks belching black air that turned blue skies gray were a normal part of American life until the 1950’s. In 1955, the first legislation to regulate air pollution (The Air Pollution Control Act) was passed; it has since been repeatedly amended, and is now entitled The Clean Air Act. Higher standards, more areas to regulate, and better enforcement procedures have resulted from the amendments of 1963, 1967, 1970, and 1990, all of which passed with huge majorities in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The Clean Air Act was the first federal law designed to control air pollution in the United States.
The Clean Air Act establishes federal air quality standards that have to be met, regulates the acceptable level of emissions of stationary (factories, etc.) and mobile (motor vehicles) sources, prevents the significant deterioration of air quality in areas that had previously met the standards, and increases the level of authority and responsibility of the federal government to monitor and enforce these standards. The Clean Air Act has provisions for protecting stratospheric ozone levels, controlling hazardous air pollutants, and expanding research programs designed to monitor and control air pollution.
The success of the Clean Air Act in cleaning up our skies has been nothing short of inspirational. Acid rain, a big problem arising from the unregulated burning of coal and fossil fuels in the 1970’s, is nearly nonexistent. Levels of six common pollutants (particles, ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide) have been reduced by 70 per cent, which has produced a dramatic improvement in air quality. And better air quality has decreased the risk of premature death and other serious health issues in the U.S.
What are the consequences of waiving The Clean Air Act to expedite the building of a border wall? Toxic emissions produced during construction would not be measured, monitored, or regulated. This means that individuals who reside close to proposed wall construction are at higher risk of inhaling hazardous air pollutants. We cannot not rule out the possibility that health risks will increase for those individuals residing in the vicinity of the border. Click here for a list of all 48 federal laws that have been waived for construction of a border wall.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members) and let them know that you oppose waiving The Clean Air Act to expedite construction of a border wall. Click here if you would like to make a donation to help us fight the border wall.