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Environmental And Resource Policy In The United States (Essay Sample)


The United States faces a multitude of environmental issues today; we work actively to try and create preventative or reactive policies to deal with them. However, the context-specific nature of creating environmental policies makes it enormously difficult to find perfect solutions. Many policies enacted by the U.S. are subject to a large amount of criticism, whether due to the ethics or feasibility of their implementation, or the unintended costs/consequences that arose. Perhaps one criticism is that a policy is simply outdated and cannot keep up with the current state of the environmental problem. Many of you have studied an example of this already in the National Flood Insurance Program; a policy meant to help homeowners rebuild after a flood. The NFIP struggles to keep up with the frequency of storms today and is in need of changes. Another example is the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards; a policy for improving the fuel economy of vehicles for the sake of energy independence but was updated to also include global warming mitigation initiatives.


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Environmental and Resource Policy in the United States
As the 30th anniversary of the Earth Day, as well as the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, is getting closer, the time has come for the administration of the United States to evaluate their environmental policies, which include what these policies have been able to accomplish, and the limitations that they must have overcome by now. There have been several environmental policies that have been enacted in the United States that ought to be re-looked into. One of those policies that have been suggested by Trump's administration is what is commonly referred to as the “once in, always in,” (OIAI). It is important to remember that the OIAI is a policy that was enacted by the EPA during Clinton's era. This policy was geared towards looking into reductions of the hazardous industrial resources that were polluting the air. The major sources of air pollution were required by the OIAI policy to be classifying as major sources. However, many pundits have argued that if this policy is eradicated, then those facilities that are standing a chance of emitting 10 tons of air pollutants every year of any given hazardous air pollutant (HAP) may be categorized as non- major sources (Burtraw, Art and Nathan 293).
This essay examines the background of Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, that introduced the policy which is commonly referred to as “Once In, Always In (OIAI).” This policy allowed the major sources of air pollution not to be subjected to the standards set by the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT).
The Background of the OIAI Policy
The famous “once in, always in,” (OIAI) policy was established in 1990 after the amendment of section 112 of the Clean Air Act sponsored by the federal government (Greenstone 1175). The policy allowed the major sources of air pollutants not to be subjected to their individual standards established by the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT). It is important to remember that the MACT standards were to accept an enforceable caveat below the threshold of the main sources so long as the limit was there before the first strong date of compliance, which in many cases was back during the 1990s. After the first date of compliance, however, any existing major source that was subjected to the Standards would permanently remain the subject so long as the policy is still there. The OIAI policy stated that any major source of air pollution were required to install the MACT, to comply with any kind of reporting, keeping of records, and any other standard that was enacted by the EPA. Other than complying with these standards of MACT, the major sources were also required by the policy to acquire Title V, which was the operating permit. Different experts have stated that the OIAI policy has allowed any major source of air pollutants could reduce the emission of its hazardous air pollutants below the level of being categorized as a major source. In other words, if a major source of air pollution complied to the standards of MACT at the first date of compliance, the source would be needed to conform to the emission limitations or any other requirement that might be deemed as being substantive. However, the policy is popularly being referred to as “once in, always in” because it stated that once a source had been categorized as a major source, then if the sources its emission to below 10 tons per year, it will always be treated as a major source. However, in the recent past, there have been many people demanding that the policy should be abolished as it does not conform to the current challenges that are currently being witnessed in with the environmental changes. The EPA...

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