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Air Quality Management in the United States
pollution problems (see Recommendation 2), the agency should develop regulatory programs and mitigation actions to attain the standards.
Track progress toward attainment of secondary standards. The aforementioned monitoring of ecosystem exposure and function should be used to track progress toward attainment of standards and to determine whether the progress results in the expected improvement in ecosystem function.
In an advanced technological society such as the United States, air is a resource whose quality must be managed through the control of pollutant emissions. However, these controls can be implemented without abandoning technology or dismantling the economy. Experience over the past three decades of air pollution control in the United States has shown that effective AQM can often be accomplished best by encouraging and embracing new technologies as well as by using market forces within a vibrant economy to control emissions. AQM is also more effective when science and engineering have a central role in identifying critical problems, helping to optimize strategies for mitigation, designing systems to implement these strategies, and finally, tracking the success of these systems.
The nation’s AQM system has had major successes over the past 30 years, but it must work to complete the task already before it (for example, attainment of the NAAQS for PM and O3) and to face substantial new challenges in the future.
In the committee’s view, the AQM system should strive to
Target the most significant exposures, risks, and uncertainties.
Take an integrated multipollutant approach.
Be a performance-oriented system.
Take an airshed-based approach.
In this chapter, the committee has proposed a set of five broad and interrelated recommendations for moving the AQM system in the above direction over the next decade or so. Because the nation’s AQM system has been effective in many areas over the past decades, much of the system is good and bears retaining. Thus, the recommendations proposed here are intended to evolve the AQM system incrementally rather than to transform it radically. The recommendations are also not intended to deter the current, on-going AQM activities aimed at improving air quality. Indeed, even as these recommendations are implemented, there can be little doubt that important decisions to safeguard public health and welfare must continue to be made, at times in the face of scientific uncer-