Clean Air: A Record of Accomplishment

December 21, 1999

Since 1993, the number of Americans whose communities meet federal air quality standards has grown by 43 million. To continue this progress, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have launched major clean air initiatives, including tough new smog and soot standards that will protect the health of 125 million Americas, including 35 million children. The Clinton Administration's clean air achievements include:

Making cars and fuels cleaner. Announced the toughest standards ever for reducing harmful air pollution from auto tailpipes - an action that will make new cars 77 to 95 percent cleaner than current standards. The new rule means cleaner, healthier air for everyone as 50 million tons of smog-causing air pollution will be removed from the air over the next few decades.

Cutting emissions from power plants. Took unprecedented action to reduce smog-causing pollutants from large power plants and industrial sources at 392 facilities by requiring that emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides be cut by almost half.

Fighting for tougher clean-air standards. Approved strong new clean air standards for soot and smog that will prevent up to 15,000 premature deaths a year and improve the lives of millions of Americans who suffer from respiratory illnesses. These standards have been delayed by litigation. The Administration is pursuing this case in court.

Cleaning skies over national parks. Announced new federal efforts to improve air quality in our national parks and wilderness areas.

Reducing harmful emissions from heavy-duty trucks and diesel fuels. Announced a strategy to reduce by over 90 percent harmful emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, or soot, from heavy-duty trucks. When complete, the strategy will also lead to cleaner-burning diesel fuels.

Enforcing clean air laws. Took significant clean air enforcement actions by filing seven lawsuits against electrical utility companies in the Midwest and South.

Reducing air toxics. Issued several new rules to reduce emissions of air toxics from a variety of sources.

Click here to return to information about the President's announcement on cleaner cars and cleaner fuels.