Public Papers

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on Legislation To Amend the Clean Air Act


The President is pleased that agreement has been reached between the administration, the Senate leadership, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and a bipartisan group of other Senators on the major elements of legislation in the Senate on the Clean Air Act. The President is particularly gratified that this agreement is consistent with the legislation he submitted to Congress and is within the parameters and guidelines the administration felt were necessary for an environmentally sound, effective Clean Air Act. The agreement covers provisions relating to acid rain, air toxics, alternative fuels, and ozone attainment for stationary and mobile sources. All parties to the agreement are committed to its passage in the Senate.

The administration has participated for the past month in bipartisan discussions on the Clean Air Act at the request of the majority and minority leaders of the Senate. The administration team included representatives from the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Departments of Energy and the Interior.

The provisions in this agreement are environmentally aggressive and will achieve significant and permanent reductions in pollutants that cause acid rain, will ensure annual improvements to bring our nation's cities into compliance with standards relating to urban smog and carbon monoxide, and will greatly reduce the risk to the public's health from toxic emissions.

This agreement is environmentally sound and strong. It is also designed to effectively achieve these reductions in an economically efficient and innovative way. It will for the first time establish a market-based system of incentives for reducing the pollutants that cause acid rain. It provides for the use of state-of-the-art technology to control toxic emissions. It includes strong incentives for the development and adoption of clean-coal technologies. It will establish a framework for encouraging the use of cleaner fuels to reduce pollution from automobiles.

By incorporating flexibility and innovation in its approach to achieving pollution reductions, it will allow environmental and health standards to be met in a way that creates maximum choice for both States and regulated industries and places fewer burdens on consumers. It will thus improve the Clean Air Act in a way that promotes both a healthy environment and a sound economy.