Clean Air Act

Clean Air Act

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A Clean Air Act is one of a number of pieces of legislation relating to the reduction of airborne contaminants
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

, smog
Smog is a type of air pollution; the word "smog" is a portmanteau of smoke and fog. Modern smog is a type of air pollution derived from vehicular emission from internal combustion engines and industrial fumes that react in the atmosphere with sunlight to form secondary pollutants that also combine...

 and air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

 in general. The use by governments to enforce clean air standards has contributed to an improvement in human health and longer life spans. Critics argue it has also sapped corporate profits and contributed to outsourcing
Outsourcing is the process of contracting a business function to someone else.-Overview:The term outsourcing is used inconsistently but usually involves the contracting out of a business function - commonly one previously performed in-house - to an external provider...

, while defenders counter that improved environmental air quality has generated more jobs than it has eliminated.

Additionally, air quality legislation has led to widespread use of atmospheric dispersion models, including point source
Air pollution dispersion terminology
Air pollution dispersion terminology includes the words and technical terms that have a special meaning to those who work in the field of air pollution dispersion modeling...

 models, roadway air dispersion models and aircraft air pollution models in order to analyze air quality impacts of proposed major actions.


There have been two acts proposed by the Canadian federal government with the name "Clean Air Act". The first, passed in 1970, sought to regulate the release of four specific air pollutants: asbestos, lead, mercury, and vinyl chloride. It has since been replaced by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act in the year 2000.

Former Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 Environment Minister
Minister of the Environment (Canada)
The Minister of the Environment is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who is responsible for overseeing the federal government's environment department, Environment Canada...

 Rona Ambrose
Rona Ambrose
Ronalee "Rona" Ambrose, PC, MP is the Minister of Public Works and Government Services for Canada, Vice-Chair of the Treasury Board Cabinet committee, Minister of State for Status of Women Canada and Minister of Western Economic Diversification.In the previous Parliament, she was Canada's Minister...

 introduced the second Clean Air Act in mid-October 2006, containing mostly measures to fight smog pollution and greenhouse gases. On October 19, 2006, Ambrose revealed details of the plan which would include reducing the 2003 emissions of greenhouse gases by about 45 to 65% for the year 2050. There are plans for regulations on vehicle fuel consumption for 2011 and targets for ozone
Ozone , or trioxygen, is a triatomic molecule, consisting of three oxygen atoms. It is an allotrope of oxygen that is much less stable than the diatomic allotrope...

 and smog levels for 2025. The effectiveness of this act has been challenged by the opposition parties, with Jack Layton
Jack Layton
John Gilbert "Jack" Layton, PC was a Canadian social democratic politician and the Leader of the Official Opposition. He was the leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011, and previously sat on Toronto City Council, serving at times during that period as acting mayor and deputy mayor of...

 of the New Democratic Party
New Democratic Party
The New Democratic Party , commonly referred to as the NDP, is a federal social-democratic political party in Canada. The interim leader of the NDP is Nycole Turmel who was appointed to the position due to the illness of Jack Layton, who died on August 22, 2011. The provincial wings of the NDP in...

 stating that the act does little to prevent climate change and that more must be done. After threatening to make this into an election issue the Conservative Party agreed to rework the act with the opposition parties.

New Zealand

New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 passed the Clean Air Act
Clean Air Act 1972
The Clean Air Act was an Act of Parliament passed in New Zealand in 1972. It was repealed by the Resource Management Act 1991.-External links:*...

 in 1972. It was repealed by the Resource Management Act 1991, a significant and wide ranging Act of Parliament.

United Kingdom

In response to the Great Smog of 1952
Great Smog of 1952
The Great Smog of '52 or Big Smoke was a severe air pollution event that affected London, England, during December 1952. A period of cold weather, combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions, collected airborne pollutants mostly from the use of coal to form a thick layer of smog over the...

, the British Parliament introduced the Clean Air Act 1956
Clean Air Act 1956
The Clean Air Act 1956 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed in response to London's Great Smog of 1952. It was in effect until 1964, and sponsored by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in England and the Department of Health for Scotland.The Act introduced a number of...

. This act legislated for zones where smokeless fuel
Smokeless fuel
Smokeless fuel means fuel which does not produce visible smoke when burned. The term is usually applied to solid fuels, such as:* Anthracite* Coke* Charcoal* Hexamine fuel tablets...

s had to be burnt and relocated power stations to rural areas. The
Clean Air Act 1968 introduced the use of tall chimneys to disperse air pollution
Atmospheric dispersion modeling
Atmospheric dispersion modeling is the mathematical simulation of how air pollutants disperse in the ambient atmosphere. It is performed with computer programs that solve the mathematical equations and algorithms which simulate the pollutant dispersion...

 for industries burning coal, liquid or gaseous fuels.
The Clean Air Act was updated in 1993 and can be reviewed online legislation Clean Air Act 1993. The biggest domestic impact comes from Part III, Smoke Control Areas, which are designated by local authorities and can vary by street in large towns.

United States

State and local governments have enacted similar legislation, either implementing federal programs or filling in locally important gaps in federal programs.

The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 proposed emissions trading
Emissions trading
Emissions trading is a market-based approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants....

, added provisions for addressing acid rain
Acid rain
Acid rain is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, meaning that it possesses elevated levels of hydrogen ions . It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Acid rain is caused by emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen...

, ozone depletion
Ozone depletion
Ozone depletion describes two distinct but related phenomena observed since the late 1970s: a steady decline of about 4% per decade in the total volume of ozone in Earth's stratosphere , and a much larger springtime decrease in stratospheric ozone over Earth's polar regions. The latter phenomenon...

, toxic air pollution, and established a national permits program. The amendments once approved also established new auto gasoline reformulation requirements, set Reid Vapor Pressure
Reid Vapor Pressure
Reid vapor pressure is a common measure of the volatility of gasoline. It is defined as theabsolute vapor pressure exerted by a liquid at 100 °F as determined by the test method ASTM-D-323...

(RVP) standards to control evaporative emissions from gasoline and mandated that the new gasoline formulations be sold from May–September in many states.

External links