Air pollution is clearly one of the major social problems confronting contemporary American society. Yet the United States is still without an effective federal pollution control program, and those state and local control programs that do exist are largely ineffective. Until government regulation is able to keep the expulsion of air contaminants within tolerable limits, it will be necessary for those seeking to control air pollution to rely upon the assertion of private rights. In this article the author discusses the principal causes of action available to the private pollution controller, and concludes that, although traditional legal concepts may provide the framework for obtaining adequate relief in individual cases, the overall pollution control consequences of private actions are at best piecemeal and not a substitute for effective government regulation.

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