It seems the late 1980s and 1990s are making a comeback, with new music genres like Vaporwave and Mallsoft. I got curious about something that was heavy on the minds of the people of that time. I’m talking about acid rain, the environmental phantom haunting not just the minds but the televisions shows and news of the era. When I researched why this scare fell off the face of the earth, I found a wild and innovative pioneering of policy that melds both care for the environment and helping the polluting firms make more money through lowering their emissions.
I’m talking about the fourth amendment to the Clean Water Act in 1990, which made great strides in transforming acid rain into a blip. The Environmental Protection Agency handled the problem by first putting a cap on emissions, but the real engine in the policy was the issuing of permits that firms could use to produce more or trade with other firms for profit. This initiative worked wonders on both lowering sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution and getting firms involved in cleaning up the air around them.