Teaching Case - Automobile Emissions Control: The Sulfates Problem (B)

Automobile Emissions Control: The Sulfates Problem (B)


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  • Product Description

    This two-case set and sequel (HKS Cases 77.0, 78.0, & 78.1) examines EPA Administrator Russell Train's response to automakers' 1975 petition to extend the deadline for compliance with the 1970 Clean Air Act Amendments. Enforcement of the amendments had been complicated from the beginning by technological uncertainties, a less than enthusiastic auto industry, and conflict within the agency itself. In 1973 the issue was further confused by the discovery of potentially dangerous levels of sulfuric acid in the exhaust of cars with catalytic converters--the technology adopted by automakers to meet the emissions standards. Part A of the case (77.0) provides background information on the automobile pollution issue and on the political and administrative handling of the sulfates problem. Part B (78.0) summarizes the technical information available to Train on the extent and severity of the sulfates problem. The sequel (78.1) presents Train's decision to extend the deadline and the criticisms that were subsequently marshalled against it.

    Learning Objective:
    Train's dilemma may be used to examine decision-making with uncertain information. This case would be useful in courses on policy analysis, institutional decision-making or business/government relations. It is particularly well-suited for group projects and presentations.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1978
    HKS Case Number: 78.0
    Case Author: Theodore Bogosian and William J. Mates
    Faculty Lead: Laurence E. Lynn, Jr.
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 30
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Executive Programs in Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 25+
    _geography: US & Canada
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