"The Clean Air Act is a law with a 40-year track record of cutting dangerous pollution to protect human health and the environment. Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this legislation has prevented more than 400,000 premature deaths and hundreds of millions of cases of respiratory and cardiovascular disease."
Blue Skies, High Anxiety / Schwartz
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"Still, if air pollution is not the threat most Americans think it is, don’t we have the Clean Air Act and aggressive regulatory authorities to thank? Not really.
Regulators and environmentalists have created the impression that air pollution was on an ever-rising trajectory before the federal government stepped in to protect Americans from unrestrained capitalism. In reality, air pollution had been dropping for decades before the 1970 adoption of the modern Clean Air Act.
Pittsburgh reduced particulate levels by more than 75 percent between the early 1900s and 1970. Chicago, Cincinnati, and New York all have records going back to the 1930s or 1940s showing large reductions in smoke levels. Nationwide monitoring data demonstrate that particulate levels declined nearly 20 percent between 1960 and 1970, while sulfur dioxide declined more than 30 percent. Los Angeles began reducing ozone smog in the 1950s, soon after skyrocketing population and driving created this new form of air pollution. Ozone levels in Los Angeles have been dropping ever since.
Air pollution is not unique in this respect. For decades before the federal government got involved, a range of environmental concerns was being mitigated by a combination of ad hoc local and state regulation, nuisance lawsuits, and market forces that pushed for better efficiency and technology."
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