The Benefits of the Clean Air Act

By: Dusty Arlia
Published on September 2, 2011
Last Updated on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 6:17 PM
Total Updates: 4

The Clean Air Act is one of the nation's most important health protection laws. The Clean Air Act is the law that defines EPA's responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation's air quality and the stratospheric ozone layer. Its emissions control programs reduce air pollution from smokestacks and tailpipes providing enormous air quality and health benefits today, and the benefits will grow over time as the programs take their full effect.

In March 2011, EPA issued the Second Prospective Report which looked at the results of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020. According to this study, the direct benefits from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments are estimated to reach almost $2 trillion for the year 2020, a figure that dwarfs the direct costs of implementation, $65 billion. The report was updated in April 2011.

These are all figures pulled from the EPA's website. What the study suggests is that despite the various ways you can analyze the performance of this piece of legislature, the wide margin by which the benefits exceed the costs means that the outcome is very unlikely to be reversed. If you analyzed this act differently, the EPA claims that the end result of this act being cost effective will remain unchanged.

Also, according to the EPA, the economy as a whole is also stronger with the various Clean Air Act programs. As cleaner air leads to better health and productivity from American workers, less money has to be spent on healthcare to treat air pollution-related health problems.

Visit the EPA website at to read all the details of the Clean Air Act and the studies done by the EPA.