Clear Air Act

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Legislation Overview

Legislation name
Clear Air Act
Applicable to
United States
Comprehensive federal law aimed at regulating air emissions from both stationary and mobile sources to protect public health and welfare. It authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants.
The CAA covers the entire United States and applies to a wide range of pollutants that affect air quality. It requires the setting of NAAQS for pollutants to protect public health and public welfare.
Key requirements
Mandates that states develop State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to achieve National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), regulates emissions of hazardous air pollutants from "major" and "area" sources through technology-based standards, and ensures compliance through monitoring, investigations, and inspections.
Varies based on offense
Certain sources or activities may be exempt from specific requirements of the Act, often based on size, type, or the potential for negligible impact. The Act and its amendments detail specific exemptions.
The EPA's Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) and Office of Emergency Management (OEM) administer national programs, policies, and regulations for air pollution control and emergency management, respectively.