The Clean Air Acts
The 1970 Clean Air Act defined two principal types of air pollutants for regulation: criteria air pollutants and hazardous air pollutants. These pollutants culminate from numerous as well as diverse mobile and stationary sources. The criteria pollutants are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), lead and particulate matter. There are approximately 188 identified, hazardous air pollutants which can cause serious health and environmental effects. The goal of the 1970 Clean Air Act was to establish national ambient air quality standards for the air pollutants. By substantially reducing air emissions from these stationary and mobile sources, an ample margin of safety was provided to protect the public's health and the environment.
The 1990 Clean Air Act was a revision of the original 1963 Act, which was amended in 1970 and again in 1977. The new 1990 Clean Air Act was designed as a technology based program rather than a health based program like the earlier acts. The new act placed the burden of permitting and compliance on the U.S. EPA and state agencies.
The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments
Title I Attainment and Maintenance of Air Quality Standards
Title II Mobile Sources
Title III Hazardous Air Pollutants
Title IV Acid Deposition Control
Title V Operating Permits
Title VI Stratospheric Ozone Protection
Title VII Enforcement
On July 16, 1997, the EPA issued new air quality health standards for fine particulates (soot) and ozone (smog). They are now being implemented by the states and tribes throughout the country. However, the new standards will not be fully implemented until at least the year 2003. The new standards are the result of a class action lawsuit against the EPA and brought about by the American Lung Association. The American Lung Association sued the EPA for its failure to review the existing standards. Under provisions of the Clean Air Act, the EPA had been required to review the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) every five years.
As part of the new standard and the EPA's national initiative, ITEC collaborated with the EPA Region VI Office and various tribes to develop a tribal fine particulate (PM2.5) network in Oklahoma. As a result, PM2.5 monitoring sites were set-up for the Cherokee Nation, Cheyenne-Arapaho, Delaware in Western Oklahoma, Pawnee, Ponca, Quapaw, Sac & Fox Nation and Seminole tribes. Site selections were based on the state's existing monitors (avoiding redundancy) and the tribes' willingness to participate. Four of these tribes have assumed the management and operation of their own monitoring sites.
On January 24, 1983, President Reagan published a federal Indian policy that affected American Indian reservations and tribal governments. It also defined the federal government's primary role in regards to them. That policy stressed two related themes: 1) the federal government will pursue the principle of Indian "self-governance" and 2) will work directly with tribal governments on a "government to government" basis.
In 1994, the U.S. EPA Office became the first federal agency to adopt a formal Indian policy. The core principle of this policy were a commitment to working with federally recognized tribes on a government-to-government basis and enhance environmental protection. As a result, several statutes were either amended or developed to address Indian environmental issues and provide tribal funding. One, the Tribal Air Rule (TAR), "Indian Tribes: Air Quality Planning and Management," was published in the Federal Register on Thursday, February 12, 1998. This rule allowed tribes to develop Clean Air Projects and Programs.