12.17.2013

Tuesday, December 17, 1963: Clean Air Act

President Johnson today signed into law a "clean air" bill designed to channel $95 million in federal funds into a four-year program to fight air pollution.
     The legislation authorizes the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to conduct research into the problem of air pollution, which some experts say is becoming a national menace.
     It also would permit federal aid to states and communities which are fighting air pollution.
     In signing the measure, Johnson said it would combat a "serious and growing" hazard. He said an estimated 6,000 U.S. communities need the type of assistance provide by the bill.
     States will retain the primary responsibility for controlling and reducing pollution except in those cases where pollution from one source -- such as a concentration of factories -- affects more than one state.
     In such cases federal authorities may seek relief in court if a voluntary solution is unsuccessful.
     The federal aid program involves grants on a matching basis on a matching basis of one state dollar for every two federal dollars put up. Regional grants are based on matching of three-quarters federal, one-quarter state.
     The bill signed today is an authorization measure and sets the ceiling on how much money can be spent. Actual appropriations will come later.
     -- Story from United Press International.
     -- 1953 photo of New York from Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images. Original caption reads, "Several people standing on the top of a building looking down in to the downtown misty smog that is covering the Empire State and surrounding buildings."
* Text of original law (from www.wilderness.net): @
* President Johnson's remarks: @
* Text of amended law (from U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works): @
* "Clean Air Requirements and History" (from Environmental Protection Agency): @
* "Clean Air Act" (from The Encyclopedia of Earth): @
* "The History of Air Quality" (from Environmental Institute of Houston): @

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