Michigan Air Pollution Control: A Case Study

The State of Michigan began its fight against air pollution with the passage of two Acts in 1965: the Air Pollution Act and the Tax Exemption for Air Pollution Control Act. In adopting these acts the legislature hoped to solve the state’s special needs for immediate air pollution control, created by the heavy concentration of automobile manufacturers and their suppliers in the state. The fight was to be waged through the efforts of a newly-created Air Pollution Control Commission and its staff. To present an evaluation of the success of these efforts, this comment concentrates upon two case studies of the enforcement of air pollution control upon one supplier of the automobile manufacturers, the Michigan foundry industry. The foundry industry was chosen because (1) it is an important producer in the state’s economy, and (2) it presents complex problems to the commission resulting from financial problems existing in much of the industry. The case studies serve as a valuable basis for preliminary judgment about the effectiveness of the commission during the several years in which it has attempted to remedy Michigan’s air pollution problems. These studies also provide data for several suggestions for reforming both the Air Pollution Act and the policies and procedures of the commission to further protect the public’s interest in the state’s air resources.