PESTLE: Legal

• Regulation Structure – ADEM and JCDPH controversy.
• State Level Legislation
o ADEM’s Air Pollution Control Program serves to protect public health and welfare through prevention, reduction, and environmentally conscious planning.
o Major legislation: Environmental Management Act, the Alabama Air Pollution Control Act, federal Clean Air Act.
o Major Responsibilities: Writing policy that sets emissions limits, monitoring local air quality, inspect facilities, and formulating State Implementation Programs (SIPs)
o Alabama’s SIP contains only two mandatory measures – no open burning during the summer and a public education program. Lacks defined limits and relies on the assumption that the Clean Air Act and the new fuel economy will clean up its air pollution.
• Examples of Effective Legislation
o North Carolina’s Clean Smokestacks Act as an example of effective state intervention, resulting in drastic SOx and NOx reductions.
o Legislation calling for retrofitting diesel powered engines with more efficient technology has been enacted by 20 states.
o Discussion with the EPA over pollution derived from upwind sources.
• Federal Initiatives – The Clean Air Act
o Established the EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six major air pollutants: CO, NO2, SO2, Suspended Particulate Matter, O3, and Pb.
• The limits depend on the primary standard, damage to human health, and the secondary standard, ecological and property damage
• Clean Air Act of 1990 established a system of trading “pollution credits.” This allows the most polluting plants in the nation to buy and sell the rights to pollute under the Emissions Trading Policy. Plants traded away their excess emission credits. Net reduction in emission would follow by decreasing annual emission credits, which has been ongoing since 2000
• There are several problems behind the research towards policy formation. Chemicals are considered harmless unless otherwise proven; lack of funds, personnel, facilities, and test animals to provide the necessary research; analyses on compounds being researched are difficult and expensive; effects of multiple compounds under various conditions.
• Many opponents of environmental reform are wealthy and hold influential relationships with legislators.
• BIG IDEAS
1. Environmental laws focus on prevention and reduction. Policy formation relies heavily on scientific research; without research there is no basis to regulation.
2. State-level legislation does not focus enough on concrete resolutions.
3. Federal-level legislation encounters several problems with its controversial programs, but overall makes steps in the right direction.

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