Environmental Federalism when Numbers Matter More than Size
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Two elements of the Clean Air Act are viewed as essential to its many successes: the health-based national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), which restrict emissions of six widely released air pollutants, and the statute’s hybrid form of cooperative federal-state regulation. This Article will show that these programs are far less important to the operation of the statute than conventional wisdom would have you believe. An amalgam of parallel programs and external constraints, both political and practical, have marginalized the NAAQS framework and limited state action, such that in practice the law is more federal than it is cooperative.