The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare estimates that sixty per cent of all Americans now live in areas of persistent air pollution. Scientific evidence links the air pollution problem with increases in such health hazards as bronchitis, hypertension, lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, circulatory ailments, and even the common cold. We learn that the quality of the nation's air has deteriorated to such an extent that it now costs the United States some eleven billion dollars annually to rectify the damage done by airborne pollutants. The federal government has cited three separate areas in West Virginia as contributors to major interstate air pollution problems. Based upon such facts as these, it is evident that the air quality situation today is at best bleak. Yet it appears almost certain to grow worse since authorities predict that all major sources of pollution will increase in the future. To illustrate, it is said that industrial production will increase by fifty per cent in the next ten years alone. Automobiles, which are allegedly responsible for most of this country's smog problem, will also increase in number from 90 million today to about 120 million in 1980. Such sobering facts as these have been responsible for a growing anxiety on the part of federal authorities. The magnitude of this concern is demonstrated by the fact that Congress has, since 1955, increased the federal appropriation for air pollution control from 186 thousand to over 109 million dollars. Since governmental involvement in this area will undoubtedly continue to increase, the problem has special significance. Accordingly, it appears appropriate to trace the development and growth of the legal relief available in this field.
Edward P. Johnson,
The Expanding Scope of Air Pollution Abatement,
W. Va. L. Rev.
Available at: https://researchrepository.wvu.edu/wvlr/vol70/iss2/8