“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is using the Clean Air Act to transform our economy rather than to provide meaningful protection of human health, its reason for existence,” said Kathleen Hartnett White, Distinguished Senior Fellow and Director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment. “Air quality has improved dramatically over the last 20 years, although EPA rarely acknowledges this successful record of improvement. And while the elections create a less favorable climate for restraining the EPA’s regulatory excess, unelected regulators at the EPA continue to promulgate rules of major consequence to the nation’s economy—without the vote of Congress.”
The first paper, The Clean Air Act: The Case for Reform, provides context and background for how the CAA has evolved over the past 40 years, and where we need to head in the future. The second paper, The Clean Air Act: Reform Proposals, focuses on five basic areas where the CAA needs to be modernized.
In addition to including Congress in major regulatory decisions, other CAA reform proposals include: restoration of state authority as originally established in the CAA; increased use of performance standards with measurable results in lieu of command and control dictates; application of rigorous, peer-reviewed science; and the institution of programs that apply to multiple pollutants at once to reduce administrative cost and increase regulatory efficiency.
“The Clean Air Act became law more than four decades ago,” said energy and the environment policy analyst Josiah Neeley, “A law of such importance and impact on the nation should be periodically updated, but it has been 20 years since lawmakers last seriously amended it.”
“We don’t expect commonsense reforms of this magnitude to happen quickly in the current political environment, but they are still urgently needed,” White added. “We must continue to push regulatory modernization both on Capitol Hill and among interested states and private sector groups—our economy and competitiveness demand it.”
Kathleen Hartnett White is a Distinguished Senior Fellow-in-Residence and Director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment. White served a six-year term as Chairman and Commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the second largest environmental regulatory agency in the world after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Josiah Neeley is a policy analyst at the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment. Prior to joining TPPF, he worked as an Associate for the firm of Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom in Terre Haute, Indiana, specializing in constitutional litigation, and clerked for The Honorable Roger Vinson, a federal district court judge in Pensacola, Florida.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.
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