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Clean Air Act Overview

1990 Clean Air Act Amendment Summary: Title VII

Provisions Relating to Enforcement

The Clean Air Act of 1990 contains a broad array of authorities to make the law more readily enforceable, thus bringing it up to date with the other major environmental statutes.

EPA has new authorities to issue administrative penalty orders up to $200,000, and field citations up to $5000 for lesser infractions. Civil judicial penalties are enhanced. Criminal penalties for knowing violations are upgraded from misdemeanors to felonies, and new criminal authorities for knowing and negligent endangerment will be established.

In addition, sources must certify their compliance, and EPA has authority to issue administrative subpoenas for compliance data. EPA will also be authorized to issue compliance orders with compliance schedules of up to one year.

The citizen suit provisions have also been revised to allow citizens to seek penalties against violators, with the penalties going to a U.S. Treasury fund for use by EPA for compliance and enforcement activities. The government's right to intervene is clarified and citizen plaintiffs will be required to provide the U.S. with copies of pleadings and draft settlements.

Full text, Title VII - Enforcement Exit(Library of Congress, Thomas website)