House and Senate negotiators are edging closer to an agreement to control toxic industrial pollution, one of the last hurdles to enactment of a clean air bill.
A House proposal on air toxics was presented to the Senate late Monday after House members decided to give the steel industry more time to comply with the pollution controls.The House negotiating team had been divided on whether to accept the Senate proposal to give steel companies an additional 20 years - to the year 2020 - to fully comply with the measure.
The House negotiators agreed Monday to a provision similar to the Senate plan. Congressional sources said the House and Senate were largely in agreement over the broad outline of the toxic section of the bill.
The section on toxics, which requires industry to cut these emissions by more than 90 percent over the next 10 years, and another section on acid rain are the two major remaining issues. House-Senate conferees have been trying to craft a clean air bill since mid-July.
The acid rain provisions would require utilities to cut annual sulfur dioxide emissions by 10 million tons.
The conferees have reached agreement on urban smog controls, including pollution controls for industrial plants and automobiles as well as requiring the sale of cleaner-burning fuels in cities with the worst smog.