[Question Concerning Legal Conclusion in GAO Report]

B-208593: Published: Jan 7, 1986. Publicly Released: Feb 7, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed whether it is legal for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue to not impose the nonattainment policy the Clean Air Act requires, even though a fiscal year 1984 appropriations act restriction on sanctions was not reimposed in 1985 or 1986. GAO found that: (1) only one penalty, a construction moratorium, is an appropriate sanction under the act; (2) there is a statutory requirement that state implementation plan revisions provide for attainment of the primary national air quality standards as soon as practicable, but no later than December 31, 1982; (3) the EPA "no sanctions" policy is contrary to the act's requirement; (4) EPA has been acting without clear congressional direction on how to pursue clean air goals because of the confusion over attainment strategies; and (5) congressional guidance is urgently needed if full attainment of healthful air is to be achieved.

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