Corporate Social Responsibility and the Clean Air Act
Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide continue to rise leading to climate change and because of this change a greater responsibility on oil corporations needs to occur. While the Clean Air Act can help enforce and monitor air pollution, it is the responsibility of oil corporations to pave the way for a greener Earth.
Corporate Social Responsibility is an important aspect of the corporate business world, as companies want to portray a positive image in the eyes of the public. Corporate Social Responsibility lays down guidelines for which corporations should follow to act in an ethical way. The International Organization for Standardization defines CSR as “ a balanced approach for organizations to address economic, social, and environmental issues in a way that aims to benefit people, communities, and society (ISO).” The question thus arrives do big oil companies have a CSR to people, communities, and society as big oil has presence all over the world not only in supplying oil that is used for transportation, but also everyday household items.
The Clean Air Act is a federal law and its enforcement is held by the Environmental Protection Agency, the act contains six titles each of which have relevant points outlining what the law intends to do. This paper will focus on Title I of the Clean Air Act and several key sections including Title I: Air Pollution Prevention and Control, Part A- Air Quality and Emissions Limitations and Part C- Prevention of Significant Deterioration of Air Quality.
Part A purpose is to:
(1) to protect and enhance the quality of the Nation’s air resources so as to promote the public health and welfare and the productive capacity of its population;
(2) to initiate and accelerate a national research and development program to achieve the prevention and control of air pollution;
(3) to provide technical and financial assistance to State and local governments in connection with the development and execution of their air pollution prevention and control programs; and
(4) to encourage and assist the development and operation of regional air pollution prevention and control programs (Cornel Law).
Title I, Part A also sets forth air quality control regions that are attainment and non-attainment regions. Attainment regions meet national standards for ambient primary and secondary air quality whereas non-attainment does not meet either one or both of the standards that attainment regions meet (EPA).
Part C- Prevention of Significant Deterioration of Air Quality purpose is to:
(1) to protect public health and welfare from any actual or potential adverse effect which in the Administrator’s judgment may reasonably be anticipate to occur from air pollution or from exposures to pollutants in other media, which pollutants originate as emissions to the ambient air) notwithstanding attainment and maintenance of all national ambient air quality standards;
(2) to preserve, protect, and enhance the air quality in national parks, national wilderness areas, national monuments, national seashores, and other areas of special national or regional natural, recreational, scenic, or historic value;
(3) to insure that economic growth will occur in a manner consistent with the preservation of existing clean air resources;
(4) to assure that emissions from any source in any State will not interfere with any portion of the applicable implementation plan to prevent significant deterioration of air quality for any other State; and
(5) to assure that any decision to permit increased air pollution in any area to which this section applies is made only after careful evaluation of all the consequences of such a decision and after adequate procedural opportunities for informed public participation in the decision-making process ( Cornell Law).
Rising temperatures and increasing levels of carbon dioxide have led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change