December 17, 1963 – Passing of the Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act of 1963 was passed into law on this day in 1963, providing a range of guidelines to help reduce and prevent pollution. The 1963 act established a federal program within the U.S. Public Health Service to research techniques for monitoring and controlling air pollution. New emissions standards were outlined by the act for stationary sources of air pollution but not mobile ones. It did lay the groundwork for emission regulations of mobile sources of pollutions, such as light duty cars and trucks. The guidelines scared automakers who argued they could not meet new emissions restrictions and the impact of the act on the auto industry would be dreadful on the economy. More specific emissions standards were outlined and passed in the years following, specifically in the Air Quality Act of 1967 and the Clean Air Act of 1970. Upon signing the Clean Air Act of 1963 President Lyndon B. Johnson stated, “Now, under this legislation, we can halt the trend toward greater contamination of our atmosphere. We can seek to control industrial wastes discharged into the air. We can find the ways to eliminate dangerous haze and smog.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson

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