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Home Issue Index Issue: Clean Air Act

Clean Air Act

Pro/Con Articles

SUPPORTERS ARGUE

Throughout U.S. history, the government has taken risks by supporting new technology industries, and that has helped make the country great. Many of those technological developments and industries are now essential parts of life in the United States. Private investors, by contrast, usually do not have the patience to wait for new technology firms to gain a foothold in their industries. If the United States does not develop green technology, it will be surpassed by countries such as China and Germany, which are already prominent players in the global green energy industry.

OPPONENTS ARGUE

The federal government is a poor judge of a company's viability. The application process, which enables the government to fund businesses that could likely find private investors, needs to be reformed. Green technology firms should be allowed to rise or fall on their own merits by competing with similar companies on the open market. Many government initiatives are models of ineffectiveness, so the government should not be trusted to make large investments in other projects, such as green jobs.

SUPPORTERS ARGUE

Cap-and-trade programs provide the most market-friendly solution to the problem of global warming. While far from perfect, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), recently passed by the House, which would enact a cap-and-trade program, is the most significant step the United States has taken toward trying to reverse the effects of global warming.

OPPONENTS ARGUE

Putting a cap on CO2 emissions will cause energy producers to raise their prices, which will eventually hurt American families and prompt people to spend less money. A cap-and-trade program would also be a less expedient way of curbing CO2 than a direct "carbon tax."

SUPPORTERS ARGUE

Ethanol is a technology that already exists, so it provides a proven way for the United States to reduce its dependency on oil, while creating jobs domestically. And other studies have shown that ethanol actually creates more energy than goes into its production.

OPPONENTS ARGUE

Ethanol has been shown to require more energy to produce than it actually produces, and its environmental benefits are minimal. Large-scale production of ethanol would require huge amounts of farmland, and the fact that it is being seriously considered as an alternative fuel is simply a testament to the power of the agricultural lobby.

SUPPORTERS ARGUE

Through new source review, the Clean Air Act keeps industry from damaging human health and the environment. Under the administration of President Bush (R), the Environmental Protection Agency has not done enough to enforce new source review.

OPPONENTS ARGUE

New source review is a costly regulation that discourages companies from improving efficiency and, as a result, harms the economy. Companies are even discouraged from making upgrades that could improve the environment, since doing so would subject them to costly new source review procedures.