Clearing the Air: The Clean Air Act, GATT and the WTO's Reformulated Gasoline Decision

By McCrory, Martin A.; Richards, Eric L. | UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Summer 1999 | Go to article overview

Clearing the Air: The Clean Air Act, GATT and the WTO's Reformulated Gasoline Decision


McCrory, Martin A., Richards, Eric L., UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy


I

INTRODUCTION

Over the last four decades, the growth in the amount and complexity of air pollution in the United States resulting from the increasing use of automobiles(1) (along with other sources) has resulted in mounting dangers to the public health.(2) The American Lung Association has estimated that people in the United States spend $40 billion per year in additional health care cost associated with air pollution.(3) The Clean Air Act was created to combat this; its goal has been to protect and enhance the United States' air resources.(4) In furtherance of this goal, the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") promulgated regulations governing gasoline formulation to ensure that polluting compounds in gasoline do not exceed 1990 levels.(5) However, Venezuela complained that the EPA regulations discriminated against foreign gasoline refiners who wished to sell their products in the United States. Accordingly, it filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization ("WTO"), claiming that the U.S. regulations subjected foreign gasoline to stricter standards than were imposed on domestic gasoline.(6)

The Venezuelan complaint suggested the possibility of a fundamental conflict between domestic environmental policy and U.S. obligations under international trade rules. Most importantly, it provided a stern first test for the World Trade Organization, the infant organization heralded as the world's most important economic body.(7) Created in 1995, after four years of preparations and seven more years of negotiations, the WTO has been described as the "most ambitious, comprehensive and geographically wide trade agreement ever attempted or reached."(8) It was the culmination of a series of multilateral trade negotiations, known as the Uruguay Round, that were part of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade ("GATT""(.9) GATT itself was viewed as a rather unwieldy process for reducing tariffs and resolving trade conflicts among its member nations."(10) "The Uruguay Round ... transform[ed] the GATT into a permanent international institution, the World Trade Organization, responsible for governing the conduct of trade relations among its members."(11) The Uruguay Round, through its creation of the WTO, produced one other notable institutional reform: "it strengthened the multilateral dispute settlement mechanism so that countries [would] be more likely to comply with [international trade] rulings .... "(12)

Without a doubt, an open global market is as much to be desired as a clean global environment. Yet, as environmental regulations increasingly impact products with greater trade flows (and vice versa), the conflict between environmental protection and trade liberalization is destined to grow in intensity.(13) The Venezuelan challenge highlights the effect of the WTO's liberal trade rules on domestic environmental policy, while simultaneously providing an opportunity to scrutinize the WTO's new dispute settlement mechanism in action. Specifically, this article uses the reformulated gasoline dispute as the centerpiece for an examination of the conflict between a strict, domestic environmental law, the Clean Air Act, and the liberal trade rules embodied in the WTO agreement.

Section I of this article provides a brief history of the Clean Air Act. Section II describes the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and the reformulated Gasoline Rules, including a discussion of the standards and baseline limitations which were at the center of the controversy in Venezuela's complaint to the WTO. Section III offers a brief history of the GATT, the WTO, and the new dispute settlement mechanism. Section IV describes the compromise regulations the EPA devised to bring the U.S. environmental rules into compliance with this country's obligations under international trade law. Finally, Section V provides an analysis of the rulings of the WTO dispute settlement panel. The article concludes that in the wake of the panel rulings, the international trade framework must be modified to better recognize the importance of environmental issues. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Clearing the Air: The Clean Air Act, GATT and the WTO's Reformulated Gasoline Decision
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.