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Clean Air Act Overview

Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act

Section 812 of the 1990 Amendments (Public Law 101-549) requires EPA conduct scientifically reviewed studies of the impact of the Clean Air Act on the public health, economy and environment of the United States. These studies ask:

How do the overall health, welfare, ecological, and economic benefits of Clean Air Act programs compare to the costs of these programs?

More than forty years of experience with the Clean Air Act has shown that America can build its economy and create jobs while cutting pollution to protect the health of our citizens and our workforce.


The Studies:

  1. Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act, 1970 to 1990: Retrospective study - On October 15, 1997, EPA issued the first in this series of reports, entitled "The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act, 1970 to 1990," following completion of a six-year process of study development and outside expert review. The report shows that the public health protection and environmental benefits of the Clean Air Act exceeded the costs of its programs by a large margin.
     
  2. Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act, 1990 to 2010: First prospective study - On November 15, 1999, EPA issued the second in this series of reports, "The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act, 1990 to 2010" This second study, the first of an ongoing series of prospective analyses, was also issued after a six-year process of study development and outside expert review. This first prospective study also finds that the benefits of the programs and standards required by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments significantly exceed costs.
     
  3. Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act, 1990 to 2020: Second prospective study  - On March 1, 2011, EPA issued the third in this series of reports, "The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act, 1990 to 2020." This third study updates and expands the First Prospective Study by using new and better data and modeling tools. The new study also looks further out into the future by evaluating the costs and benefits of 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment programs through the year 2020. The second prospective study also finds that the benefits of the programs and standards required by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments significantly exceed costs.