Clean Air Act



Originally enacted in 1955 to protect the nation’s air quality, the Clean Air Act (“CAA”), took its current form after the 1990 amendments. 42 U.S.C. 7401–7671q. The CAA defines its purpose as “to protect and enhance the quality of the Nation’s air resources so as to promote the public health and welfare and the productive capacity of its population.” 42 U.S.C. § 7401.  The Act provides a comprehensive and complex regulatory framework for regulating stationary and mobile sources of air pollution.  It requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish minimum national standards for air quality and assigns primary responsibility for enforcement and compliance to the states.   The Act also establishes a permit system for all major sources of pollution and addresses prevention of pollution in areas with clean air. Read the full overview.

Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.

Major Statutes

Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7401–7671q

Major Provisions

State Implementation Plans, 42 U.S.C. § 7410
Air Quality Control Regions, 42 U.S.C. § 7407
Hazardous Air Pollutants, 42 U.S.C. § 7412
Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources, 42 U.S.C. § 7411
Permit Requirements, 42 U.S.C. § 7503
Listing of Certain Unregulated Pollutants, 42 U.S.C. § 7422


Air Programs, 40 C.F.R. §§ 50–98
National Primary and Secondary Ambient Air Quality Standards, 40 C.F.R. § 50
Requirements for Preparation, Adoption, and Submittal of Implementation Plans, 40 C.F.R. § 51
National Volatile Organic Compound Emission Standards for Consumer and Commercial Products, 40 C.F.R. § 59
Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources, 40 C.F.R. § 60
National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollution, 40 C.F.R. § 61
Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting, 40 C.F.R. § 98

Case Law

Case Law Index for Clean Air Act

Administrative Law Decisions

E.P.A. Office of Administrative Law Judges
Clean Air Act: Agriculture-Related Enforcement Cases
Center published USDA Judicial Officer’s Decisions

Center Research Publications

Environmental Justice State Compilation (Rollins & Shehan, 2022)
State and Federal Climate Change Statutes (Goeringer, Boling, 2009)
Environmental Law: Federal Laws That Affect Agriculture – PowerPoint Presentation (Springsteen)
2005 Environmental Law Update (Feitshans)
Managing Carbon in a World Economy: The Role of American Agriculture (Garry)

Congressional Research Service Reports

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017

Subjects- published by CRS and made available by NALC until 2018:

Climate Change
Energy & Natural Resources
Environmental Issues
Environmental Policy

Agricultural Law Bibliography

Introduction   |   Keyword Search   |   Browse Categories

Legal publications on Clean Water Act:

Environmental Issues
Pesticides, Herbicides, Insecticides, Fungicides, Fertilizers

Reference Resources

Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

National Research Program: Soil and Air
National Research Program: Agricultural and Industrial Byproducts

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Fertilizers and Pesticides
Climate Change
Conservation Programs
Crop & Livestock Practices
Environmental Quality
Managing Manure to Improve Air and Water Quality (ERS, 2005)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Air Topics
Clearing House for Inventory and Emissions Factors
Agriculture and Air Quality
Air Monitoring at Agricultural Operations
Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Criteria Air Pollutants
Clean Air Act and Air Pollution: Overview
Clean Air Act (CAA) Compliance Monitoring
Clean Air Act Stationary Source Compliance Monitoring Strategy
Clean Air Act Permitting for Greenhouse Gases
Clean Air Act: Summary
Permitting Under the Clean Air Act
Certification and Compliance for Non-Road Vehicles and Engines
Particulate Matter (PM) Pollution
Plain English Guide to the Clean Air Act
Air Research
Air Quality Implementation Plans
Regulatory and Guidance Information by Topic: Air
Nonattainment Areas for Criteria Pollutants

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

NIFA Air Quality Programs
Global Change and Climate Programs
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Agricultural Air Quality Task Force
Air Quality and Atmospheric Change
Conservation Planning

Office of the Chief Economist

Climate Change Reports
National Greenhouse Gas Inventory
Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Mitigation
Office of Environment, Health, Safety & Security: Clean Air Act

Congressional Resources

Reports on Clean Air Act (Government Accountability Office)

Clean Air Act: EPA Should Improve the Management of Its Air Toxics Program (GAO, 2006)

House Natural Resources Committee

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

Congressional Research Service

Other Federal Resources

AirNow (Current Air Quality Index)
USAID, Environment and Global Climate Change


One if by Land, Two if by Sea, Three if by Air: The Changing Face of Environmental Regulation of Production Agriculture (Ferrell & Lashmet, 2016)
The Creature from the Potomac Basin: Environmental Law under the Trump Administration (Ferrell, Goeringer & Lashmet, 2017)
The Clean Air Act Handbook (American Bar Association, 4th edition)
Valuing The Clean Air Act (Holladay, 2017)
Policy Evolution under the Clean Air Act (Schalensee & Stavins, 2018)
Impact of the Clean Air Act (Pediatr 2014)

International Resources

CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security
Climate & Clean Air Coalition
European Commission: Clean Air

Additional Resources

Animal Agriculture and Air Quality (Iowa State University)
Publications and Research Reports (Iowa State University)
California Air Resources Board
Center for Agricultural Air Quality Engineering and Science (Texas A&M University)
Sabin Center for Climate Change Law (Columbia School of Law)
Regulation of Greenhouse Gases Under the Clean Air Act (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions)
Feedlot Air Emissions Treatment Cost Calculator (extension)
Georgia’s Clean Air Force
Legislative History of the Clean Air Act
Manure Management (University of Minnesota)
Mitigating Air Emissions from Animal Manure: Summaries of Innovative Technology (extension)
National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool
National Association of Clean Air Agencies
Air Quality Forecast Guidance: National Weather Service
Our Nation’s Air: Trends Through 2021
National Environmental Public Health Tracking: Air Quality (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
National Air Quality Standards (World Health Organization)
Purdue Agricultural Air Quality Laboratory (Purdue University)
Air Quality Regulation of Animal Agriculture (extension)