Happy Birthday to the Clean Air Act -- 40 Years Young!

We've been celebrating the Clean Air Act's 40th anniversary a lot this year, but today is the old girl's actual birthday. President Richard M. Nixon signed the 1970 Clean Air Act into law on the last day of that year.  In his remarks, he saluted the new law as the achievement of leaders of both parties:  "How did this come about? It came about by the President proposing.  It came about by a bipartisan effort represented by the Senators and Congressmen, who are here today."

Here's a really good short video from EnergyNOW on the Clean Air Act 40th birthday (with me afterwards in an even shorter panel discussion).

The health, environmental, and economic accomplishments of the Clean Air Act -- tens of thousands of lives saved, hundreds of thousands of illnesses prevented, all while the economy more than doubled in size -- are well catalogued (a few examples are here, here, and here). 

But we're not done yet.  Air pollution, from the pollutants that cause asthma and cancer to the pollutants that drive global warming, still poses enormous public health and environmental dangers.  There is much for the Clean Air Act to do in the coming years.

Yet once again, the law is coming under political attack from big polluters and their defenders.  As some recent notable editorials have put it (here, here, and here), it is the time for leaders of both parties to quit the attacks and step up to defend the Clean Air Act.  The public, which wants clean air, will reward those who do, and punish those who don't.

So on New Year's Eve, let's raise a glass to the next 40 years of clean air.  (Not to worry, the CO2 bubbles in your beverage are OK.) 

To the Clean Air Act:  40 years young!