The Air Quality Act of 1967 was one of a series of steps by the national (federal) government of the United States to address air pollution.
The Air Pollution Control Act of 1955 was the first federal legislation involving air pollution. This Act provided funds for federal research in air pollution.
The Clean Air Act of 1963 was the first federal legislation regarding air pollution control, by setting some emission standards for stationary sources. It established a federal program within the U.S. Public Health Service (the U.S Environmental Protection Agency was established until 1970) and authorized research into techniques for monitoring and controlling air pollution
The Air Quality Act of 1967 was an amendment to the Clean Air Act of 1963.
While the Administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson had pushed for strong national emission standards for stationary sources, Congress passed the Act with a regional, rather than national, focus. Authority was designated to the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to establish "Air Quality Control Regions" where the Secretary determined controls were necessary to protect public health and welfare. States within each air quality region were then then responsible for setting and enforcing pollution control standards through "State Implementation Plans" (known as "SIPs") and through pollution control agencies. If states failed to act, then the Secretary was empowered to set the air quality standards in those states and establish Interstate Air Quality Planning Commissions. The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare had limited enforcement powers except is cases where air pollutions presented "an imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of persons anywhere in the country." Thus, the Act put primary responsibility of addressing air quality in the hands of the state and local government.
The Act called for US$428.3 million in funding for federal pollution control over a three-year period and established a 15-member advisory board.
The Air Quality Act of 1967 was surpassed within three years by the Clean Air Act of 1970 which moved far more aggressively to regulate air quality. The reasons for this lay in its failure to make progress toward improving air quality at a pace aceptable to the public. Less than three-dozen Air Quality Control Regions were assigned when over 100 were expected, and states failed to develop concise and effective pollution control programs. Moreover, many air pollution issues crossed boundaries of Air Quality Control Regions, necessitating action on a larger scale.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Clean Air Act of 1970: History.