Clean Air Act

Vol. 26 No. 4

Reviewed by


Roy S. Belden, Clean Air Act, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, 2011, Second Edition.

Since its enactment in 1970, the Clean Air Act “has spawned over 13,500 pages of regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations [and] new regulations are continuing to be developed” according to the author. He notes that practicing in the area “often requires added vigilance due to its complexity and the fact that many of the applicable statutory and regulatory provisions typically are subject to numerous [EPA], state, and local regulatory guidance interpretations, which may or may not be readily available.” As a result, the goal of this practice guide is to provide an overview and a starting point for addressing Clean Air Act concerns.

More than a decade of activity has transpired since the first edition was published in 2001. According to the author,

[T]here have been many important regulatory developments and numerous case law decisions that have helped to clarify certain aspects of the Clean Air Act, including a Supreme Court case that held that greenhouse gas emissions fall within the broad definition of “air pollutants” under the Act. [This edition] includes a new chapter on the emerging regulations of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The author continues, “[w]hile EPA is still very much in the formative stages of regulating greenhouse gas emissions, the chapter on greenhouse gas emissions provides an overview of the regulatory roadmap that the agency has embarked upon.”

This volume of the ABA’s Basic Practice Series is devoted to the illumination of the Clean Air Act, which as the author describes in the Preface can be “a mysterious force operating behind the scenes.” Commencing with an Executive Summary and a history of the Clean Air Act in Chapters 1 and 2, the practice guide then describes the programmatic aspects, such as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), including procedures for establishing NAAQS, their development, and NAAQS implementation discussed in Chapter 3, and state implementation plans addressed in Chapter 4. Prevention of significant deterioration (PSD), new source review, and new source performance standards are covered in Chapters 5 and 6. Ensuing chapters address control of hazardous air pollutants (Chapter 7), visibility protection (Chapter 8), acid rain control (Chapter 9), and Title V Operating Permits (Chapter 10).

Global concerns such as greenhouse gas emissions and stratospheric ozone are covered in Chapters 11 and 13. The complexities of mobile sources and regulation of fuels are addressed in Chapter 12, which covers topics such as tailpipe and evaporative standards, clean fuel vehicles, regulation of fuels and fuel additives, assessment of public health impacts, and reformulated gasoline. The guide concludes with enforcement and judicial review (Chapter 14).

A list of germane acronyms and abbreviations is helpfully located at the front of the book. Appendices include frequently asked questions and answers, key cases, the Clean Air Act, an index to Code of Federal Regulations Air Programs, and PSD source categories with 100 tons-per-year major source threshold. A glossary, additional resources, and a table of cases are also included.

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