- What is it?
The Clean Air Act (CAA) is the primary federal air management statute that incorporates regulations to improve the nation's air quality. Under the CAA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines the levels of pollutants that are allowed in the air throughout the country. Originally passed in 1963, the CAA was amended in 1970, 1977 and 1990 to add regulations needed to protect human health and the environment from air pollution.
Army activities typically regulated include:
- Construction and operation of boilers and power plants, including emergency generators
- Remanufacturing and maintenance of materiel including; painting, solvent use, and electroplating
- Maintenance and operations of refrigerants in facility and material cooling and fire-fighting systems
- Travel over dusty roads
- Incinerators including: munitions demilitarization and waste disposal
- Remediation and demolition of asbestos containing structures.
- What has the Army Done?
The Army has maintained an exemplary record in both meeting the requirements of air pollution control rules, and in developing and seeking out new technologies and sustainable practices to reduce the total impact of Army activities on human health and the environment. In the Clean Air Act arena, the Army has taken the lead in: reformulating paints and other coatings to minimize their emissions of air and other pollutants, developing low-impact dust suppression technologies, and training all personnel to conduct their activities in ways that minimize releases of harmful air pollutants. These efforts have resulted in a roughly 50% reduction in air emissions for volatile organics and toxic pollutants over the last decade.
USAEC's role in promoting environmental compliance for the Army in the area of air management includes:
- Managing the Army Community of Practice for Air: Facilitating collaboration amongst Army installations and others on improving environmental compliance practices;
- Hosting discussion groups within the Army to exchange lessons learned and share information;
- Reviewing all CAA rulemakings;
- Preparing Army impact analyses and comments on potential rulemakings;
- Preparing guidance documents, including pollution prevention options;
- Developing tools to assist installations in complying with CAA requirements such as technical compliance guides, compliance placards, air pollution prevention guides and geographical information systems tools;
- Working with the Office of the Army Chief of Staff for Installation Management - Army Environmental Management Division (ACSIM-AEMD), the Installation Management Command (IMCOM), Army Materiel Command (AMC), National Guard Bureau Army National Guard (NGB - ARNG) and US Army Reserve Command (USARC)
- Tracking the Army's progress on meeting DoD and Army environmental goals;
- Supporting installations when requested;
- Maintaining contact with the EPA to stay abreast of current and future initiatives;
- Representing the Army on DoD committees, along with ACSIM-ADEM;
- Tracking Army greenhouse gas emissions; identifying initiatives to reduce them.
- What does the Army have planned?
Army “Net Zero” efforts will continue to reduce the volume and impact of Army air pollution; including emissions of greenhouse gasses. These efforts will result in the Army getting its energy from lower polluting sources: such as solar and more efficient plants. In addition, efforts to reduce impact from Army materiel maintenance and training activities continue; including developing lower polluting coatings and more effective road dust control.
The Army plans to continue developing its “Communities of Practice.” Strengthening and developing these forums will allow installations to work together to use their creativity and experience to further innovate the Army Clean Air Act program.
- Why is this important?
The Army strives to be both a good member of the community and a good steward of our nation’s financial resources. By investing in pollution control technologies, we minimize our impact on the nation’s health. By investing smartly and fully using the intelligence and creativity of all of those who work in the Army Clean Air Act programs, at the installations and elsewhere, we ensure that we minimize impact at reasonable cost.
- Read more about it:
- Air management regulations are addressed in Chapter 4 of Army Regulation 200-1, Environmental Protection and Enhancement
- The Plain English Guide to the Clean Air Act
- EPA Clean Air Act website
- EPA Policy and Guidance website
- EPA 40 CFR Air Pollution Control Rules (Parts 50 to 99)