Key Issues > Air Quality
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Air Quality

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that more than 100 million people live in counties where one or more air quality standards––usually for ozone or particulate matter––was exceeded.

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Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to protect and enhance the quality of the nation’s air, and protect Americans from the harmful effects of air pollution. EPA sets air quality standards for six key air pollutants that have been linked to a variety of adverse health effects, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, and premature death in individuals with other health problems. EPA also implements numerous programs to limit emissions of the six key air pollutants, as well as toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases, from a variety of stationary sources such as power plants, and mobile sources, such as motor vehicles.

Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.

Air Pollution:

EPA Needs Better Information on New Source Review Permits
GAO-12-590:
Published: Jun 22, 2012. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2012.

Natural Resources and Environment:

Air Emissions and Electricity Generation at U.S. Power Plants
GAO-12-545R:
Published: Apr 18, 2012. Publicly Released: May 18, 2012.

Diesel Pollution:

Fragmented Federal Programs That Reduce Mobile Source Emissions Could Be Improved
GAO-12-261:
Published: Feb 7, 2012. Publicly Released: Feb 7, 2012.

Air Quality:

Information on Tall Smokestacks and Their Contribution to Interstate Transport of Air Pollution
GAO-11-473:
Published: May 11, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 2011.

More Reports

EPA Regulations and Electricity:

Update on Agencies' Monitoring Efforts and Coal-Fueled Generating Unit Retirements
GAO-14-672:
Published: Aug 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 15, 2014.

Environmental Regulation:

EPA Should Improve Adherence to Guidance for Selected Elements of Regulatory Impact Analyses
GAO-14-519:
Published: Jul 18, 2014. Publicly Released: Aug 11, 2014.

Air Emissions:

Status of Regulatory Activities and Permitting on Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf
GAO-14-187R:
Published: Jan 9, 2014. Publicly Released: Jan 9, 2014.

Department of Energy:

Status of Loan Programs
GAO-13-331R:
Published: Mar 15, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 15, 2013.

Water Quality:

EPA Faces Challenges in Addressing Damage Caused by Airborne Pollutants
GAO-13-39:
Published: Jan 24, 2013. Publicly Released: Feb 25, 2013.

Transportation:

Flexible Funding Continues to Play a Role in Supporting State and Local Transportation Priorities
GAO-13-19R:
Published: Nov 15, 2012. Publicly Released: Nov 15, 2012.

Manufactured Housing Standards:

Testing and Performance Evaluation Could Better Ensure Safe Indoor Air Quality
GAO-13-52:
Published: Oct 24, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 24, 2012.

Oil and Gas:

Information on Shale Resources, Development, and Environmental and Public Health Risks
GAO-12-732:
Published: Sep 5, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 9, 2012.

EPA Regulations and Electricity:

Better Monitoring by Agencies Could Strengthen Efforts to Address Potential Challenges
GAO-12-635:
Published: Jul 17, 2012. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 2012.

Unconventional Oil and Gas Production:

Opportunities and Challenges of Oil Shale Development
GAO-12-740T:
Published: May 10, 2012. Publicly Released: May 10, 2012.
More...
  • portrait of Alfredo Gomez
    • Alfredo Gomez
    • Director, Natural Resources and Environment
    • gomezj@gao.gov
    • 202-512-3841