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A New East Asian Import: Ozone Pollution

April 26, 2012

New York Times Article: “A New East Asian Import: Ozone Pollution

How does the current Clean Air Act respond to this foreign pollution? The Clean Air Act places the ultimate responsibility for addressing this foreign pollution on the States–who do not have the power to directly address the problem:

  • “The Congress finds [. . .] that air pollution prevention [. . .] is the primary responsibility of States and local governments;” (42 U.S.C. §§ 7401(a)(3)).
  •  “Each State shall have the primary responsibility for assuring air quality within the entire geographic area comprising such state by submitting an implementation plan for such State which will specify the manner in which national primary and secondary ambient air quality standards will be achieved and maintained . . .” (42 U.S.C. § 7407(a)).
  • It is the States who face potential sanctions if the air above their State does not meet the NAAQS (42 U.S.C. §7509).
  • States do not have the power to enter into emission treaties with foreign nations (see Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution).

States should no longer be held ultimately responsible for addressing foreign pollution.  Responsibility for achieving the NAAQS must be aligned with the authority to achieve the NAAQS.

The world is changing.  We must change with it.  Time to transform the SIP process.  We can make it happen.

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