The Public Interest

The auto pollution muddle

Lawrence J. White

Summer 1973

AFTER two monthsexposure to hearings, testimony, and intensive lobbying, William D. Ruckelshaus, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ), decided on April 11 to suspend for one year the 1975 federal standards on automotive pollution and to replace them with interim standards. Among the participants in the previous two months’ activities had been the automobile manufacturers, pollution control equipment manufacturers, petroleum companies, environmentalists, and even the United Automobile Workers. The decision was a compromise and, like most compromises, was promptly condemned by all parties. Appeals to the courts and to Congress are likely to follow, and it is clear that the issue of automotive pollution controls will continue to command the attention of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government and of many state and city governments for the next few years.

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