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EPA Administrator Reilly Hails Signing of New Clean Air Act

[EPA press release - November 15, 1990]

The following statement was issued by EPA Administrator William K. Reilly today following the President's signing of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990:

"During his 1988 campaign, the President vowed to amend the Nation's clean air laws, saying that "every American expects and deserves to breathe clean air." The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, signed into law today, triumphantly fulfill that pledge. Through his leadership, the President broke the 13-year clean air stalemate by submitting an innovative, market-based bill which will achieve the nation's environmental goals in the most effective manner.

"The benefits of this bill are enormous. Acid rain emissions will be cut almost in half; 30 million tons of toxic chemicals will be prevented from fouling the air every year; and all areas of the country will finally have the means to attain air quality standards on a realistic schedule. As a result, air toxics risk will be slashed by three-quarters, and health problems will be reduced significantly, including cancer risk, respiratory disease, heart ailments and reproductive disorders. Damage to lakes, streams, parks and forests, as well as harm to buildings, monuments and other structures, will also be slowed or stopped. One of the most dramatic effects will be an increase in visibility: people will be able to see farther from Maine to Georgia, where sulfates are responsible for half the haze. As a final bonus, oil imports will be reduced significantly, enhancing our energy security.

"These sorely needed benefits will, of course, not be achieved for free. Significant costs are involved, and these costs highlight the importance of the innovative, market-based features the President proposed, and which the Congress accepted in the final bill signed today. These features assure that the bill's benefits will be achieved at the lowest possible cost to the nation. They include the acid rain allowance trading program, which fosters least-cost pollution reductions; the clean-fuel credit trading and emissions trading programs, which allow refiners and automakers to meet requirements at least cost; fees on smog-causing emissions which promote efficiency and pollution prevention; and incentives for early reductions which will accelerate the achievement of environmental benefits. It was the attractiveness of these innovative features that helped the President break the clean air logjam, and it is these features that will allow us to achieve the environmental goals of this bill in a way the country can live with economically.

"As the sheer size of the final printed bill indicates, this highly complex legislation was hammered out over many months - indeed, many years - and is the culmination of hard and dedicated work by many people both in and outside the government. I commend all who played a part in making this bill a reality. The President's pathbreaking initiative was coordinated by the White House working group under the direction of Roger Porter, Assistant to the President for Economic and Domestic Policy; key participants included Boyden Gray, legal counsel to the President; Robert Grady, of the Office of Management and Budget; Richard Schmalensee, of the President's Council of Economic Advisors; John Schmitz, legal counsel; Linda Stuntz, Department of Energy; and Teresa Gorman, Special Assistant to the President for Policy Development.

"Special thanks go to William G. Rosenberg, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, for managing EPA's role. Many of the ideas behind the President's original proposal stem from over five years of planning by EPA, including staff from the Office of Air and Radiation, the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Congressional Affairs, the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation, and the Office of Enforcement. Ideas also came from other agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Energy, as well as from outside groups, notably including the Clean Air Coalition, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Counsel. The President's initiative reflects the EPA staff experience in working with these new ideas; the result, which is preserved largely intact in the bill signed today, is a tribute to the willingness of these experienced staff to adapt to the President's innovative, market-based policy direction and to use the new ideas to craft a dramatic advance in the course of environmental regulation.

"Turning the President's initiative into finished legislation was an enormous task and was achieved only through the hard work of the Congress, ably led by Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and Senator Minority Leader bob Dole, and by Speaker of the House Tom Foley and Congressman Bob Michel, House Minority Leader. Without the extraordinary efforts of the key members - Senators Burdick, Baucus, Chafee and Simpson, and Congressmen Dingell, Lent, Waxman and Madigan - and their staffs, working literally thousands of hours during conference committee alone the impossible task of reconciling the various interests could not have been achieved. The final result is a law which will undoubtedly serve as a model for regulatory reform across the board, leading to the widespread use of market approaches here and abroad.

"We now begin the big job of achieving the goals mandated by this landmark legislation. As we move toward full implementation, we can be proud to know we are working to fulfill the President's pledge: that every American shall breathe clean air."

R-191



Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 Legislative Chronology

  • June 12, 1989 - President Bush announces the Administration's clean air proposal which comprehensively addresses three areas of environmental concern: acid deposition, toxic air pollution, and urban air quality

  • July 21, 1989 - The legislative language interpreting the President's proposal is submitted to Congress

  • July 27, 1989 - The Administration's bill is introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) as H.R. 3030 with 146 cosponsors (eventually 166); the measure is subsequently referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee

  • August 3, 1989 - The Administration's bill is introduced in the Senate by Senator John Chafee (R-RI) as S. 1490 with 24 cosponsors (eventually 25); the measure is subsequently referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

  • September 13, 1989 - Health and Environment Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee holds first of 11 mark-ups on H.R. 3030 that continue through October 11, 1989

  • October 11, 1989 - Health and Environment Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce held their final mark-up of the Administration's bill (H.R. 3030); the measure, as amended, is sent to full Committee by a 21 - 0 vote.

  • October 26, 1989 - Environmental Protection Subcommittee of Senate Environment and Public Works begins process of marking-up clean air legislation

  • November 14, 1989 - Environmental Protection Subcommittee of Senate Environment and Public Works votes to include an Acid Rain title which is based on the Administration's original proposal; the Subcommittee had no further action on S. 1630

  • November 16, 1989 - Senate Environmental and Public Works votes out a Clean Air bill (S. 1630) by a 15 - 1 margin.

  • January 23, 1990 - Floor debate begins in the U.S. Senate

  • February 1, 1990 - A group of bipartisan Senators begin meeting with Administration officials in a month-long, closed door negotiation session on amendments to S. 1630; during which, Senate floor debate is put on hold

  • March 5, 1990 - Senator George Mitchell announces agreement with the Administration on several key aspects of clean air; this measure is the product of the Administration and bipartisan Senate negotiations during February and served as the vehicle for Senate floor deliberation (it would eventually become S. 1630)

  • March 14, 1990 - Energy and Power Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce reports H.R. 3030 out to full committee; the Subcommittee had jurisdiction over the alternative fuels and acid rain provisions in the bill, but the Chairman decided not to mark-up/amend their measure.

  • March 14, 1990 - House Committee on Energy and Commerce begins public mark-up of H.R. 3030

  • April 3, 1990 - The Senate votes out the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990; the measure was passed by a vote of 89 - 11. The following Senators voted against final passage of the bill: Byrd, Rockefeller, Simon, Dixon, McClure, Symms, Garn, Glenn, Helms, Nickles, and Wallop.

  • May 17, 1990 - House Committee on Energy and Commerce reports H.R. 3030 out of committee by a motes of 42 - 1; the measure then moved to the entire House of Representatives.

  • May 17, 1990 - House Committee on Public Works and Transportation and the House Committee on Ways and Means were given sequential referral of certain aspects of H.R. 3030; both committees report the bill out on May 21, 1990

  • May 17, 1990 - House Committee on Ways and Means received sequential referral of H.R. 3030 for a period ending no later than May 21, 1990
  • May 23, 1990 - The House of Representatives votes to pass a new Clean Air Act by a vote of 401 - 21.

  • June 6, 1990 - The Senate announces their conferees for the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, they are as follows: Senators Quentin Burdick (D-ND), Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), George Mitchell (D-ME), Max Baucus (D-MT), John Chafee (R-RI), Alan Simpson (R-WV), David Durenberger (R-MN), as well as Lloyd Bentsen (D-TX) and Bob Packwood (R-OR) of the Finance Committee for the fee-related provisions only, all other conferees are Senate Environment and Public Works Committee members

  • June 28, 1990 - The House of Representatives announces their conferees for the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 the list includes 138 House Members overall with representation from seven committees, the six committees other than the Energy and Commerce will have jurisdiction over their individual areas

  • July 13, 1990 - House and Senate Clean Air Conferees hold their first joint conference. During the first session, the conferees selected Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) as the Conference Chairman

  • October 22, 1990 - House and Senate Clean Air Conferees reach final agreement on Clean Air reauthorization and thus conclude conference negotiations

  • October 26, 1990 - The House of Representatives considers the conference report and passes the measure with a 401 - 25 roll call vote.

  • October 27, 1990 - The Senate considers the conference report and passes the measure with an 89 -10 roll call vote

  • November 13, 1990 - S. 1630, "The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990," is submitted to the President

  • November 15, 1990 - The President signs the Clean Air Act Amendments