Congress, breaking 13 years of legislative deadlock, sent President Bush a historic clean air bill Saturday that will require almost every major industry to make deep and costly cuts in emissions causing urban smog, acid rain, toxic hazards or ozone depletion.
The Senate voted 89-10 to give final approval to the bill, which strengthens the 1977 Clean Air Act to combat thickening air pollution that health experts say kills or cripples tens of thousands of Americans each year.The House approved the measure Friday 401-25.
White House officials have indicated Bush will sign the bill, despite warnings from industry and several prominent economists that it will cost thousands of jobs and accelerate the nation's economic downturn.
During a three-hour Senate debate, Sen. Steve Symms, R-Idaho, echoed that gloomy assessment in predicting the bill would "put the country into a regulatory recession. It's going to be very destructive to our economy."
But Senate Democratic leader George Mitchell of Maine said the 13-year delay in updating clean air laws had exacted an even more fearsome toll in environmental degradation and premature death and illness.
"All Americans have paid a price for that delay," he said. "Three-fifths of our people today live in areas where they are forced to breathe air that is not clean.
"There are costs to cleaning up our air, but there are also greater costs to doing nothing," Mitchell said.
Mitchell and other lawmakers gave Bush a large measure of the credit for passage of the bill, which largely followed the outlines of the wide-ranging clean air plan the president proposed in July 1989.
Bush's initiative was a major change from Ronald Reagan, who steadfastly opposed clean air legislation throughout the 1980s, sealing the congressional gridlock.
Here are compliance schedules set by the clean air bill for the 96 cities now violating federal health standards for ozone smog, starting with the most polluted areas:
Extreme - Deadline for compliance 2010
Los Angeles-Anaheim-Riverside, Calif.
Severe 2 - Deadline 2007
Baltimore, Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, Texas; New York City-New Jersey-Long Island.
Severe 1 - Deadline 2005
Chicago-Gary, Ind.,-Lake County, Wis.; Milwaukee-Racine, Wis.; Muskegon, Mich.; Philadelphia-Wilmington, Del.,-Trenton, N.J.; San Diego.
Serious - Deadline 1999
Atlanta; Bakersfield, Calif.; Baton Rouge, La.; Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas; Boston-Lawrence, Mass.,-Salem, N.H.; El Paso, Texas; Fresno, Calif.; Hartford-New Britain-Middletown, Conn.; Huntington, W.Va.-Ashland, Ky., and Ohio suburbs; Parkersburg, W.Va.,-Marietta, Ohio; Portsmouth, Maine,-Dover-Rochester, N.H.; Providence-Pawtucket-Fall River, R.I.; Sacramento, Calif.; Sheboygan, Wis.; Springfield, Mass.; Washington, D.C., Va., Md.
Moderate - Deadline 1996
Atlantic City, N.J.; Charleston, W.Va.; Charlotte-Gastonia, N.C.,-Rock Hill, S.C.; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Dallas; Dayton-Springfield, Ohio; Detroit; Edmonson County, Ky.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, N.C.; Jefferson County, N.Y.; Kewaunee County, Wis.; Knox County, Maine; Louisville, Ky., Ind.; Memphis, Tenn., and Arkansas and Mississippi suburbs; Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Modesto, Calif.; Nashville, Tenn.; Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley, Pa.; Portland, Maine; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Reading, Pa.; Richmond-Petersburg, Va.; Salt Lake City-Ogden, Utah.; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Calif.; Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif.; Smyth County, Va.; St. Louis; Toledo, Ohio; Visalia-Tulare-Porterville, Calif.; Worcester, Mass.
Marginal - Deadline 1993
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.; Allentown-Bethlehem, Pa.; Altoona, Pa.; Birmingham, Ala.; Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.; Canton, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Erie, Pa.; Essex County, N.Y.; Evansville, Ind., and Kentucky suburbs; Fayetteville, N.C.; Greenbriar County, W.Va.; Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.; Hancock County, Maine; Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle, Pa.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.; Johnstown, Pa.; Kansas City, Mo., Kan., Knoxville, Tenn.; Lake Charles, La.; Lancaster, Pa.; Lewiston-Auburn, Maine; Lexington-Fayette, Ky.; Lincoln County, Maine; Livingston County, Ky.; Manchester, N.H.; Montgomery, Ala.; Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, Va.; Owensboro, Ky.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; South Bend-Mishawaka, Ind.; Stockton, Calif.; Sussex County, Del.; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.; Waldo County, Maine,;York, Pa.; Youngstown-Warren, Ohio.