Resources 204 cover

May 2020  /  Magazine Issues

Issue 204: Looking Back at 50 Years of the Clean Air Act of 1970

This year marks 50 years of celebrating Earth Day; the existence of the US Environmental Protection Agency; and amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1970, which expanded the law’s federal mandate and enforcement.

In the year 2020—and recognizing that hindsight is 20/20—we’re looking back at our legislative and regulatory history and the important environmental accomplishments they have enabled. Retrospective analyses can give us the empirical data we need to make sound decisions moving forward—about how to modify current regulations so they work effectively and efficiently, prune policy elements that don’t justify their costs, and employ groundbreaking incentive mechanisms to maintain a thriving economy and a healthy environment at the same time.

This anniversary of the Clean Air Act is an excellent opportunity to showcase the value of empirical data in informing future policies and decisions. Two articles in this issue consider how the Clean Air Act has fared in practice:

The rest of this issue explores other topics related to air quality:

And some special additional highlights include the following: