By Cindy Walke
This fall marks the 20th anniversary of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and as an avid horsewoman, the anniversary highlights why autumn is still my favorite time of year. I’m able to get out on the trails with my horse and enjoy all of the sights and smells that the fall season brings. It’s not uncommon for us to encounter wild turkey, quail, deer, and various little critters scampering in the woods as my horse and I make our way through the wooded trails of the Liberty Watershed in Sykesville, Maryland. It is truly an amazing sight to see!
When I’m out on the trails, I realize how fragile our ecosystems are. The freshwater streams and trees provide the habitat that wildlife need in order to thrive. My life has truly been enriched by these outdoor experiences and I cannot imagine how different they would be without the actions taken under the Clean Air Act.
Title IV of the Clean Air Act, also known as the Acid Rain Program, regulates SO2 and NOx emissions from power plants. It’s these emissions that cause acid rain, which affects our ecosystems by making our lakes and streams acidic, harming fish populations, and slowing forest growth. These emissions also contribute to health problems like premature mortality, cardiovascular issues and respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis. The Acid Rain Program has reduced SO2 and NOx emissions and as a result, we can see improvements in our environment.
The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments also addressed toxic air pollutants and urban pollution, established tighter pollution standards for cars and trucks, helped eliminate ozone depleting substances and much more.
In the coming weeks, my colleagues and I will be sharing our personal stories about the outdoor activities we enjoy and how the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments have helped improve our environment, making our favorite activities possible. Please follow our discussion series on Greenversations, and contribute your own stories about how the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments have improved your enjoyment of your favorite outdoor activities.
About the author: Cindy Walke is the website manager for the Clean Air Markets Division. One of her favorite fall activities is horseback riding along the beautiful trails of Central Maryland.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.