Keeping the Clean Air Act from having a mid-life crisis

If pop culture has taught us anything – and these days, it has probably taught us all too much – it is that as a person enters their fourth or fifth decade they experience something called a mid-life crisis. Sports cars, trophy spouses, and comically bad wardrobe and hairstyle choices have been known to follow.

Now the Environmental Protection Agency is entering its fourth decade, turning 40 years old this week, and is joined by a landmark piece of environmental legislation, the Clean Air Act.

The Clean Air Act has been instrumental in lowering the amount of toxic chemicals floating in the air – pollutants such as lead, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and other health hazards. Now it will face a bigger challenge: being used to curb climate-change-causing greenhouse gas pollution in the air.

The effects of climate change are being felt across the globe – heat waves, floods, failing crops, and other disasters. Thousands of walruses in Alaska have come ashore because the sea ice that they usually inhabit has melted.

However, some Members of Congress are fighting the EPA and the Clean Air Act, trying to protect the rights (and profits) of polluters over the American people. Already, a resolution in the Senate to strip the EPA’s ability to regulat carbon emissions has failed, but the idea keeps rising again from the legislative graveyard.

This idea is nothing short of a mid-life crisis for the Clean Air Act. What is the point of having a Clean Air Act if it cannot ensure clean air? Curbing emissions of greenhouse gases into the air is the first step

While a formal bill or amendment has not been introduced, but as the election nears and rhetoric, like planet, gets increasingly hotter, expect that we will see this dangerous line of thought reappear.

But for now, the Clean Air Act is showing no signs of succumbing to a mid-life crisis, unless Congress forces one on it.
 

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