Sun breaks through a line of clouds to a clear blue sky below.

Clean Air

Con­gress first passed the Clean Air Act in 1963 to ensure that all Amer­i­cans breathe clean, healthy air and are shield­ed from air­borne pol­lu­tants that pose a seri­ous threat to pub­lic health. Over the past 40 years, sig­nif­i­cant progress has been made in address­ing air pol­lu­tion, but major chal­lenges remain. A num­ber of com­mu­ni­ties around our nation – often pop­u­lat­ed by dis­ad­van­taged res­i­dents – con­tin­ue to be exposed to poor air qual­i­ty and suf­fer from unac­cept­ably high rates of can­cer, res­pi­ra­to­ry dis­eases and asth­ma. In addi­tion, EPA is only begin­ning to apply Clean Air Act oblig­a­tions to sources of green­house gas­es that are caus­ing the scourge of cli­mate change.

2017-2021

The Trump admin­is­tra­tion under­took a num­ber of ini­tia­tives that threat­ened to under­cut decades of progress under the Clean Air Act, to the detri­ment of pub­lic health and the envi­ron­ment. State attor­neys gen­er­al opposed efforts by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion to under­cut smog-form­ing ozone and tox­i­cs air qual­i­ty stan­dards, to ignore pub­lic health harms caused by expo­sure to pol­lu­tion from upwind states, and to weak­en new source review” stan­dards that apply when com­pa­nies invest in major expan­sions of exist­ing facilities.

State attor­neys gen­er­al also stepped in to stop EPA’s attempts to roll back legal­ly-required reduc­tions on cli­mate change-caus­ing green­house gas emis­sions for the elec­tric­i­ty sec­tor (the Clean Pow­er Plan), the auto­mo­bile indus­try (the Clean Car Stan­dards) and the oil and gas indus­try (restric­tions on methane emis­sions). Beyond their impact on efforts to com­bat cli­mate change, these fights also car­ry sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic health impli­ca­tions, includ­ing their effects on can­cer rates and rates of res­pi­ra­to­ry, neu­ro­log­i­cal and devel­op­men­tal ill­ness­es. More infor­ma­tion on these issues can be found with­in the Cli­mate Action section.