Auto Emission Controls

Archive Report

Controversy about Clean Air Standards

Conflict Over Postponement of Control Deadline

Two crucial ISSUES of the 1970s—the economy and the environment—meet head-on in the government's drive to reduce the automobile's contribution to American air pollution. In pleading its inability to meet a federal emission-control deadline for 1975 model cars, Detroit raised the specter of shutdowns and joblessness across the country. Every seventh worker owes his job, directly or indirectly, to the automotive industry. But environmentalists insist that the automobile is a serious threat to public health and is responsible for up to 80 per cent of the air pollution in urban areas.

In finally granting the delay on April 11, William D. Ruckel-shaus noted that the economic argument weighed heavily on the “terribly complex and important” decision ...

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