Ozone in the United States

Ozone (Os) in Environmental Law

A form of oxygen composed of three molecules of oxygen instead of the more common combination of two. Ozone is important in two environmental situations: it is a pollutant at ground level; and it protects the earth from ultraviolet radiation in the stratosphere. Both types of ozone get special attention in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

Ozone at ground level is one of the five most common air pollutants. It is highly poisonous gas that reduces the amount of oxygen inhaled and can cause severe respiratory problems. It is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency through the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, which establish air quality criteria for common contaminants. Each state must have a plan designed to bring the state’s air quality into compliance with the standards and then maintain the air quality. See nitrogen oxides; nonattainment areas; state implementation plan.

Ozone is not directly discharged, like many pollutants. Instead, it is created by chemical reactions involving other pollutants called precursors. The precursors for ozone are volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides released by motor vehicles and by some manufacturing processes, primarily during the use of internal combustion engines. Ozone formation is most rapid in the summer, and topography and winds play a role. If the area is in a depression, the gases tend to remain where they are, and chemical reactions can occur. However, winds tend to move the precursors away from their origins and cut down on the formation of the soup.

Stratospheric ozone is a buffer that has protected the earth from ultraviolet rays for millennia. However, the depletion of stratospheric ozone has been documented for years, caused by chemicals used for refrigeration, propellants, and fire suppression [see chlorofluorocarbons]. As a result of international concern and agreements, the chemicals responsible for ozone depletion are being phased out of production and use. The 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act devote an entire title to stratospheric ozone. See also Montreal Protocol.
Based on “Environment and the Law. A Dictionary”.

Ozone: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Ozone. This part provides references, in relation to Ozone, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Ozone by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Ozone and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Ozone or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Ozone and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Ozone. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Ozone should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Ozone when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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