The Waxman Report:
1990 Clean Air Act Amendments
In 2009, United State, Democratic Congressmen Henry A. Waxman published a book called The Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works. The book recalls over three decades of Waxman’s experience in the United State’s House of Representatives. He discusses numerous different influences affecting Congress today, like special interests, party alignments, serving constituents, and making compromises. The Waxman Report specifically highlights key legislation Rep. Waxman had heavily advocated for regarding issues, such as abstinence, tobacco reform, and environmental pollution. This essay will examine the tactics used by both chambers of Congress to enact the 1990 Clear Air Act Amendments.
In 1963, the 88th Congress of the United States introduced the Clear Air Act. In this original form was the first law to implement the idea of pollution control. The statue established a federal program within the U.S. Public Health Service and authorized research into techniques for monitoring and controlling air pollution. These techniques were only presented to Congress for further assessment and were not implemented. Thus, Congress enacted the Clear Air Act of 1970 to help enforce imposed regulations. This legislation authorized the development of comprehensive federal and state regulations to limit emissions from both industrial and mobile sources. Moreover, a year later President Nixon gave an executive order establishing the EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency. The agency would provide means to help implement the four major requirements affecting these sources found within the legislation. Seven years later Congress amended the legislation pertaining to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The 1977 Amendments primarily concerned provisions for the Prevention of Significant Deterioration of air quality in areas attaining the N.A.A.Q.S. Furthermore, the 1977 Amendments established major permit review requirements to ensure attainment and maintenance of the N.A.A.Q.S.
Rep. John Dingell of Michigan purposed the final amendments that are found within the Clear Air Act of 1970 on July 27th, 1989. Rep. Dingell was a member of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, which made him an excellent candidate to champion the legislation. Moreover, Rep. Dingell had been a key member in prior amendments within the specific legislation being introduced. When Rep. Dingell presented the bill to the House he had over 150 sponsors varying from each side of the aisle. The main author of the legislation, Henry A. Waxman was one of those sponsors previously mentioned. The purpose of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments were designed to curb three major threats to the nation's environment and to the health of millions of Americans: acid rain, urban air pollution, and toxic air emissions. The proposal also called for establishing a national permits program to make the law more workable, and an improved enforcement program to help ensure better compliance with the Act. The bill was a comprehensive legislation comprised of seven titles, each pertaining to the three prior threats.
Title I provides provisions for attainment and maintenance of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (N.A.A.Q.S). This title establishes different qualifications and definitions dealing with attainment and non-attainment areas. It also creates varying classifications for the EPA to assign to each area. These classifications range from marginal (the closest area meeting required standards) to extreme (the furthest area meeting required standards). Lastly the title defines the two types of pollutants, “serious” or “moderate”, and how federal government can impose these sanctions on areas that have not met the defined standards.
Title II dealt with provisions relating to mobile sources. The initial legislation was created under the consideration of motor vehicle emissions in the 1960s....