The Public Interest

The politics of air pollution

Peter Navarro

Spring 1980

THE notion that the Clean Air Act exists solely to protect the public from the adverse effects of air pollution is an oversimplification. In fact, much of the act, especially as amended in 1977, was explicitly designed to achieve an assortment of distributional and other non-environmental goals for a powerful coalition of special interests. The cost, however, of pursuing such goals under the guise of air pollution legislation has been restricted energy development, increased oil-import dependence, inflation, and, ironically, in some cases not less but more pollution. 

Download a PDF of the full article.



from the


A weekly newsletter with free essays from past issues of National Affairs and The Public Interest that shed light on the week's pressing issues.


to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.