Clean Air Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements Page: 2 of 27
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Clean Air Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
This report summarizes the Clean Air Act and its major regulatory requirements. It excerpts, with
minor modifications, the Clean Air Act chapter of CRS Report RL30798, Environmental Laws:
Summaries of Major Statutes Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which
summarizes a dozen environmental statutes that form the basis for the programs of the
Environmental Protection Agency. This report will be updated at the end of each Congress, or
sooner if Congress enacts a law that substantively changes the statute.
The principal statute addressing air quality concerns, the Clean Air Act was first enacted in 1955,
with major revisions in 1970, 1977, and 1990. The Act requires EPA to set health-based standards
for ambient air quality, sets deadlines for the achievement of those standards by state and local
governments, and requires EPA to set national emission standards for large or ubiquitous sources
of air pollution, including motor vehicles, power plants, and other industrial sources. In addition,
the Act mandates emission controls for sources of 187 hazardous air pollutants, establishes a cap-
and-trade program to limit acid rain, requires the prevention of significant deterioration of air
quality in areas with clean air, requires a program to restore visibility impaired by regional haze
in national parks and wilderness areas, and implements the Montreal Protocol to phase out most
This report describes the Act's major provisions and provides tables listing all major amendments,
with the year of enactment and Public Law number, and cross-referencing sections of the Act
with the major U.S. Code sections of the codified statute.
Congressional Research Service
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Clean Air Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements, report, January 6, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc811048/m1/2/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.