Comparison between US Clean Air Act and UAE law 24, 1999
Studies reveal that after the late 40s thick cloud of air pollution formed over the industrial town of Donora in Pennsylvania many questions were raised (The Congress, 2013). This originated because of the occurrences or influences of the hazes. Subsequently, the cloud had lingered for five days and because of this, it caused the death of about twenty people and induced sickness in more than six thousand people of the town (Phalen, 2012). This represented more than forty-three percent of people who were directly affected by the pollutant cloud of air (The Congress, 2004). In another incident in the early fifties, a killer fog in London caused the death of about three thousand people (Barbera & McConnell, 2009). During this time, the fog was recorded to have been so thick that guides with lanterns were employed to walk ahead of vehicles like buses so that the drivers would maintain the focus of the road.
Following such proceedings, individuals were notified of the hazards that air effluence stances to have to communal wellbeing (The Congress, 2004). As such, many federal and state laws were passed; this included the original clean air act of the early 60s. Subsequently, this law established funding for the study and the cleanup of air pollution (The Congress, 2013). However, there was no comprehensive federal response in addressing air pollution; this continued till the legislature approved a much operative clean air act in the 70s. In essence, the clean air act (CAA) is a United States central decree, which was precisely intended to regulate air effluence on a nationwide level (The Congress, 2004). Through this edict, EPA is authorized to progress and impose guidelines that object fortification of the community from flying adulterations (Barbera & McConnell, 2009). Essentially, the early 60s version of the law established a research program, which was expanded in later years of that decade.
Accordingly, there were many major amendments that followed, which required regulatory controls for air pollution (The Congress, 2013). As such, the 70s amendments increasingly expanded the federal mandate by requiring comprehensive federal and state regulations for both stationary or industrial and mobile pollution sources (Phalen, 2012). In essence, this had a significant impact by increasing federal enforcement. Subsequently, the 90s amendments targeted acid rain, ozone depletion, and toxic pollution, and it instituted a national permits package for stationary sources; it thereby increased enforcement authority (The Congress, 2004). In consequence, this paper intends to offer a comprehensive analysis of the scope of protection of air from pollution in the United States air protection law and the United Arab Emirates air protection law.
The scope of protection of air from pollution in the Clean Air Act of the USA
Studies affirm that congress had designed the CAA as a tool for shielding the public health and wellbeing from air contagion that resulted from an assorted range of effluence causes. Increasingly studies show that the act encompasses vital provisions that aim at regulating common noxious waste (The Congress, 2004). In practice, the act comprises many guidelines and as such, it has a diverse scope (The Congress, 2013). Based on this nature, the law as drafted by congress directs the EPA to act on particular issues like hazardous effluence, acid rain, chemical emissions, and regional haze among many others factors (Barbera & McConnell, 2009). Subsequently, the act like many other laws has its own scope and in the interest of this paper, the discussion narrows down to unveil the scope in the CAA of the United States.
To start with, the CAA as a federal law works diversely and in essence, it provides for enforcement in various ways. For instance, the act provides enforcement in administrative and judicial provisions, which allows EPA, the state, and many other stakeholders to seek enforcement against perpetrators that violate the clean the CAA. Hence, it is found that congress directly mandated the EPA to ensure compliance of the CAA by pursuing enforcement acts against violators. In addition, states have the power to enforce the law against violators (The Congress, 2013). Furthermore, the CAA extends its scope to cover the control of common, widespread pollutants (The Congress, 2004). In this regard, studies have shown that CAA permits EPA to set and revise federal ambient air quality standards, abbreviated as NAAQS targeting widespread and common pollutants (Barbera & McConnell, 2009). In this light, EPA sets the main ideals, necessary in the fortification of communal well-being; this includes the health of subtle sub populaces (The Congress, 2013). EPA does all these by considering recommendations from various states to determine whether areas meet or do not meet air quality standards.
Furthermore, regarding states, the CAA acts as a direction for states. It achieves this by setting the minimum requirements for measures of implementing plans to clean up dirty air and protection of clean air from contamination (The Congress, 2013). Moreover, CAA encompasses standards and requirements that target the regulation of hazardous air pollutants. Studies have affirmed that Congress had amended the 70s act by generating a list of about two hundred hazardous air pollutants (The Congress, 2004). Hence, afterward, the EPA follows that list to issue maximum achievable control technology emissions standards for industrial sources. In this light, toxic emissions emanating from motor vehicles are regulated through set standards for motor vehicle fuels (Barbera & McConnell, 2009). Subsequently, various studies affirm that CAA also covers ways that target the protection of visibility in national parks (The Congress, 2013). It has been revealed that this came into being after the need arose for the development, not of requirements for protecting park air quality from an individual novel or modified sources (The Congress, 2004). Through this call-up, CAA established a regional miasma package to protect park visibility, which guards against impairment of visibility resulting from human activities leading to air pollution.
Moreover, the scope of CAA extends to acid rain where the 90s amendments allow a reduction in acid rain through control of utility emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. In this line, the congress offered guidelines in the CAA that sets the annual reduction of sulfur dioxide by about ten million tons below the previous decade`s set standard (The Congress, 2013). In the same dimension, CAA directed EPA to set contemporary emission rate standards resulting installation of low nitrogen oxide burners (The Congress, 2004). Other than sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, CAA also protects the stratospheric ozone layer (Barbera & McConnell, 2009). In essence, CAA contains many provisions that direct the facing out of production activities resulting in chemicals, harmful to the ozone layer (The Congress, 2004). The most visible or workable is the Montreal protocol as an international deed on ozone layer protection. Greenhouse gas regulation is part of the mandate that CAA directed EPA to enact in the veil of protecting the world against pollutants that led to climate change, thereby endangering public health or welfare.
Significantly, it is worth noting that the 90s amendments mandated EPA to call on major pollution sources and various other sources to have application and operate pursuant to operating permits, thereby assuring compliance to all CAA requirements (The Congress, 2004). In this regard, studies show that local authorities together with local per minting agencies carry out these major activities and they do so under EPA approved packages (The Congress, 2013). In this regard, EPA receives submitted permit applications from states; this includes proposed permits and final permits for critical review to check consistency with the CAA (Barbera & McConnell, 2009). In essence, the CAA has mandated EPA to oversee all permitting activities that go on in states, and this ensures that all states align their activities permitting uniformly to the CAA as federal law (The Congress, 2004). In accordance with this, EPA reviews all state requirements under state laws to ascertain their sufficiency in satisfying requirements of the Act under EPA implementation regulations (The Congress, 2013). To this end, it has been justified that the CAA ranges from toxic emissions regulation to regulation of or review of state permitting and regulation guidelines (The Congress, 2004). Thus, CAA covers all essential areas concerning the protection of public health and welfare from hazardous pollution emanating from industrial and single project activities within the United States of America.
The scope of protection of air from pollution in the 24/1999 UAE law
Studies show that, like the CAA, law 24 of 1999 of UAE is used in various ways to advance the federal government efforts of regulating activities that may be harmful or lead to harmful pollutions of the environment (UAE Government Press, 1999). To start with, law 24 of 1999 begins with development and environment and it covers other areas, which include such areas as water environment protection, soil protection, air protection, and handling of hazardous substances and wastes (Federal Environment Agency, 2006). Starting from development and environment, studies reveal that, the federal environmental agency commonly termed as the agency is mandated to set standards and specifications, including principles, and regulations for environmental assessment. This concerns the impact of establishments that apply for licenses (Federal Environment Agency, 2006). In this line, the agency identifies categories of projects that may cause harm to the environment. It also identifies areas and sites of special environmental importance and sensitivity. Such areas include archaeological sites, wetlands, coral reefs, natural reservations, and public parks.
To ensure efficacy, the agency in collaboration with competent authorities or local authorities and involved parties develops a federal structure for environmental monitoring. In this light, the proficient establishments assume the founding, process, and administration of ecological checking structures (UAE Government Press, 1999). Moreover, the agency and competent authorities in the state establish policies for combating environmental emergencies and disasters.
On the other hand, regarding the protection of the water environment, the agency is mandated to protect coasts, beaches, and seaports of the state from various forms of pollution (Federal Environment Agency, 2006). The agency is also mandated to protect the marine environment and its living and non-living natural resources by preventing, reducing, and control of pollution regardless of its source (UAE Government Press, 1999). The agency has another mandate of protecting drinking water and groundwater and developing water resources (Federal Environment Agency, 2006). The agency safeguards this by segregating the release of any adulterating material subsequent from boring, discovering, and trying of boreholes or manufacture into the aquatic settings or terrestrial extents.
Subsequently, regarding the shield of maritime setting, the agency proscribes all naval carriage means from liquidating or marshaling oil or oil assortments into the aquatic setting. In essence, pollution from land sources is handled by the agency by carrying out prohibition activities. Such exclusions aim at communal buildings and money-making, manufacturing, agronomic, vacation industry, and amenity institutions (UAE Government Press, 1999). Essentially, this inhibits such parties from discharging untreated substances, wastes or liquids that directly or indirectly cause pollution to the water environment. The law goes further by covering issues relating to the protection of drinking and underground water (Federal Environment Agency, 2006). Here, the concerned parties are required to consult and coordinate with the agency and competent authorities in all affairs relating to drinking and underground water (UAE Government Press, 1999). In addition to water protection, the agency under law 24 of 1999 undertakes measures of protecting the soil from pollutants (Federal Environment Agency, 2006). The law directs competent authorities to consider environmental standards and factors specified by the agency in the preparation and implementation of plans for land utilization for construction, agricultural, industrial areas, and reserve areas.
Air protection is another key element of law 24 of 1999 and various issues have been highlighted in this are to show the expanse of the scope of the law (UAE Government Press, 1999). Based on this the agency is mandated calls on establishments to ensure that air pollutants do not exceed the acceptable permissible limits specified in the executive order (Federal Environment Agency, 2006). The agency also prohibits machines or vehicles that emit exhaust gases exceeding executive order from operating (UAE Government Press, 1999). In this sort, the edict guides the agency to forbid flinging, process, or burning off the trash and compact trashes except in chosen zones away from inhabited, manufacturing, and agronomic extents (Federal Environment Agency, 2006). Finally, concerning the handling of hazardous substances and wastes, the agency is directed to offer appropriate licenses through competent authorities for the handling and dealing with hazardous wastes and medical wastes (UAE Government Press, 1999). To this end, it is important to note that, law 24 of 1999 has a wide scope that has been greatly categorized to effectiveness.
Based on this, it recommended that the United States should adopt a similar categorization of the laws regarding environmental protection. It is believed that the clean air act can be more effective with more specific categorization to allow EPA to narrow down on key issues or sources of pollution in each category from the federal level to the state level.
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Federal Environment Agency. (2006). “Regulation concerning Protection of Air from Pollution.” Cabinet Decree vol.12, 1-63.
Phalen, F. (2012). Introduction to Air Pollution Science. Boston: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
The Congress. (2004).The Clean Air Act: Air Pollution Prevention and Control. Washington, DC: Press.
The Congress. (2013).The Clean Air Act in a Nutshell: How It Works. New York, NY: Press.
UAE Government Press. (1999). “Protection and Development of the Environment.” Federal Law vol. 24, 1-28.