The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the new Clean Air Act will remove 56 billion pounds of pollution from the air each year. In human terms, these measures will significantly reduce lung disease, cancer, and other serious health problems caused by air pollution.

Air quality improvements mandated by the Clean Air Act Amendments include:

  • Greatly reduced emissions of toxic air pollution and acid rain-causing pollutants
  • Attainment of air quality standards nationwide by the year 2010
  • Cleaner cars, fuels, factories, and power plants
  • Less damage to lakes, streams, parks, and forests
  • Reduced emissions of greenhouse gases
  • Less damage to the stratospheric ozone layer.

The regulatory requirements of the CAAA will exact profound changes in many U.S. Industries. For example, the amendments significantly affect the electric utility industry and, consequently, the coal industry. Sulfur emissions controls in the CAAA are divided into two phases. Phase I controls set out specific 1995 sulfur dioxide emissions limits for power plants built before 1978 (about 110 power plants). Phase II controls, set for the year 2000, generally limit sulfur dioxide emissions to the same level as for post- 1978 power plants; 1.2 pounds of sulfur dioxide per million Btu. To achieve these emissions levels, utilities will retrofit scrubbers, switch to low-sulfur coal, blend low-sulfur with high-sulfur coal, co-fire with natural gas, re-power with advanced technology boilers, or perhaps even close the plant. Plants may also trade emission allowance credits issued to them by the EPA.

The potential global climate change caused by so-called greenhouse gases is yet another environmental issue important to the coal industry. Carbon dioxide, which absorbs solar radiation and traps the sun's heat has been steadily increasing in the earth's atmosphere. All fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide, but coal emits 80 percent more per unit of energy consumed than natural gas, and about 20 percent more carbon dioxide than fuel oil. Consequently, coal-fired power stations are prime candidates for controls on carbon dioxide emissions. While no actions affecting the coal industry are likely in the near future, the issue of global warming has far from disappeared.

Passage of the CAAA also had a significant impact on the U.S. Petroleum refining industry. The first oxygenated-gasoline season began in November of 1992, and mandates that motor gasoline sold during at least four winter months in 39 areas of the country classified as "moderate or serious carbon monoxide non-attainment areas" must have a minimum oxygen content of 2.7 percent by weight (2 percent in California). Beginning in January 1995, the nine worst ozone non-attainment areas with populations in excess of 250,000 had to begin using motor gasoline that meets mandated emissions and composition requirements. As a result of these and other mandates, U.S. Refiners have had to closely examine their operations relative to the CAAA, committing considerable resources to plant reformulations, and research and development to advance processing technologies.

The search for alternatives to CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) and HCFC (hydrofluorocarbon) refrigerants, as required by Title VI of the Clean Air Act, is one of the greatest challenges the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry has ever faced. On July 1, 1992, Section 608 of the Act prohibited intentional venting of CFCs and HCFCs during service, repair, or disposal of any air-conditioning or refrigeration equipment. There will be controls on the sale of refrigerants and the disposition of recovered refrigerants, as well as mandatory certification of recovery/recycling equipment, technicians, and the purity of refrigerant recovered, reclaimed, and resold. Section 612 (list of safe alternatives to CFCs and HCFCs) and Section 611 (labeling of products containing or manufactured with controlled substances) regulations are also under development.

Paper and pulp mills are affected, as the CAAA provides extensive changes to new and existing source-reduction requirements for ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. Paper companies will be required to demonstrate that they are in compliance with all existing air standards, or that the benefits of a mill outweigh the environmental and social costs of anti-pollution regulations.

Clean Air Act Amendments have created new markets in the United States for the general components industry, particularly valves and pipe fittings. Environmental and health concerns that are emerging abroad are also creating newly emerging markets for U.S. valve and pipe-fitting companies, which are global leaders in the pollution control and pollution abatement industry.

Industry Preparations

Large and small companies need to become aware of the many new clean air requirements and deadlines for compliance. Industry needs to know about flexible options, pollution prevention incentives, programs that encourage technological innovation, and market-based programs that clean the air at a much lower cost. These programs include:

  • Early Reductions Program: offers companies incentives to take early voluntary action to reduce emissions and, in so doing, receive a six-year deferral on new clean-air requirements.
  • Allowance Trading System: enables utilities to buy and sell emission credits among themselves, provided that total emissions reductions are achieved.
  • Fuel Averaging Program: enables oil companies to meet tight new reformulated fuel standards by averaging the oxygen content in different grades of gasoline.

A well regarded resource for further information is The Clean Air Act Amendments from the National Association of Manufacturers, Publications Coordinator, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 1500, North Tower, Washington, DC 20004. Phone: (800) 637-3005. In addition, the following government and state agencies can be contacted:

Government Agencies

Stratospheric Ozone Information Hotline
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(800) 296-1996
Clean Air Advisory Committee
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(202) 260-6379

State Air Quality Agencies

Department of Environmental Management
Air Division
(205) 271-7861
Department of Environmental Conservation
Air Quality Management Section
(907) 465-5100
Department of Environmental Conservation
Office of Air Quality
(602) 207-2300
Department of Pollution Control and Ecology
Air Division
(501) 570-2161
Environmental Protection Agency
Air Resources Board
(916) 445-4383
Department of Health
Air Pollution Control Division
(303) 692-3100
Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Air Management/Planning and Standards
(203) 424-3027
Division of Air and Hazardous Waste Management
Air Quality Management
(302) 739- 4791
District of Columbia
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Environmental Control Division
Air Quality Control and Monitoring Branch
(202) 404-1180
Department of Environmental Protection
Air Resources Management
(904) 488-0114
Department of Natural Resources
Environmental Protection Division
Air Protection Division
(404) 363-7000
Department of Health
Clean Air Branch
(808) 586-4200
Division of Environmental Quality
Air Quality Bureau
(208) 334-5898
Environmental Protection Agency
Division of Air Pollution
(217) 782-7326
Department of Environmental Management
Office of Air Pollution
(317) 232-8384
Department of Natural Resources
Air Quality Section
(515) 281-8852
Department of Health and Environment
Bureau of Air and Waste Management
(913) 296-1593
Department of Environmental Protection
Division for Air Quality
(502) 564-3382
Department of Environmental Quality
Office of Air Quality and Radiation Protection
Air Quality Division
Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Air Quality Control
(207) 287-2437
Department of the Environment
Air and Radiation Management Administration
(410) 631-3255
Department of the Environment
Division of Air Quality Control
(617) 292-5630
Department of Natural Resources
Air Quality Division
(517) 373-7023
Pollution Control Agency
Air Quality Division
(612) 296-7331
Department of Environmental Quality
Office of Pollution Control, Air Division
(601) 961-5171
Department of Natural Resources
Division of Environmental Quality
Air Pollution Control Program
(314) 751-4817
Department of Health and Environmental Sciences
Division of Air Quality
(406) 444-3454
Department of Environmental Quality
Air Quality
(402) 471-2189
Division of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Air Quality
(702) 687-5065
New Hampshire
Air Resources Division
(603) 271-1370
New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Environmental Quality/Air Quality Management
(609) 292-6710
New Mexico
Environmental Department
Air Quality Bureau
(505) 827-0070
New York
Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Air Resources
(518) 457-7230
North Carolina
Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources
Air Quality Section
(919) 733-3340
North Dakota
Department of Health
Division of Environmental Engineering
Air Quality Program
(701) 221-5188
Environmental Protection Agency
Division of Air Pollution Control
(614) 644-2270
State Department of Health
Air Quality Service
(405) 271-5220
Department of Environmental Quality
Air Quality Control Division
(503) 229-5359
Department of Environmental Resources
Bureau of Air Quality Control
(717) 787-9702
Rhode Island
Department of Environmental Management
Division of Air Resources
(401) 277-2808
South Carolina
Department of Health and Environmental Control
Bureau of Air Quality Control
(803) 734-4750
South Dakota
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Point Source Control Program
(605) 773-3351
Department of Environment and Conservation
Division of Air Pollution Control
(615) 532-0554
Natural Resource Conservation Commission
Air Quality Office
(512) 239-1000
Department of Environmental Quality
Division of Air Quality
(801) 536-4000
Agency of Natural Resources
Air Pollution Control Division
(802) 241-3840
Office of Environmental Quality
Air Division
(804) 786-2378
Department of Ecology
Air Quality Program
(206) 407-6800
West Virginia
Division of Environmental Protection
Office of Air Quality
(304) 558-4022
Department of Natural Resources
Bureau of Air Management
(608) 266-7718
Department of Environmental Quality
Air Quality Division
(307) 777-7391