Air quality regulation in this country has long been characterized by varying degrees of shared responsibility and authority between the federal government and the states. Beginning in the 1950's the federal government provided financial and technical assistance to states to study the problem of air pollution through the Air Pollution Control Act. In the 1960's, Congress provided for the establishment of air quality criteria which the states could adopt. By 1970, Congress mandated the establishment of national air quality standards that each state would be primarily responsible for implementing, maintaining and enforcing. Since then, the federal government and the states have worked together to establish a carefully planned network of monitoring.
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