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Regional Clean Air Act Plans Press Conference-Washington, D.C.

Carol M. Browner, Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
Remarks Prepared for Delivery
Regional Clean Air Act Plans Press Conference

                        Washington, D.C.
                        December, 1 1999

  Today we take another in a series of steps toward cleaner air for some 49 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

  Under the Clean Air Act, metropolitan areas outside of California with the most challenging ozone or smog problems are required to submit plans for reducing their air pollution and protecting the public health of the people who live, work and play in their communities.
  The ten metropolitan areas determined to have the worst problems -- and required to
submit plans -- are: Atlanta; Baltimore; Houston; New York; Philadelphia; Chicago; Springfield, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

  Each of the plans reviewed shows a strong commitment to reducing harmful air pollutants that cause smog.  Each year, smog is responsible for millions of cases of serious respiratory disorders and reduced lung capacity, as well as increasing the intensity of  hundreds of  thousands of cases of asthma in children.

  Only the Springfield, Massachusetts metropolitan area submitted a plan that has been found sufficient to meet the pollution reductions needed to provide clean air.

  We are confident that working with states and cities, we can finalize flexible, common-sense approaches to reducing pollution and bring cleaner, healthier air to breathe for millions of Americans within the next decade.
  While we work with these cities and states to improve their air pollution reduction plans, EPA is moving ahead in other areas to assure we all have clean, healthy air to breathe.
  By the end of the year, EPA will issue the final rule for the greatest reduction in tailpipe emissions ever in cars and trucks.  EPA will also be going forward with its new rule for cleaner fuels.

  In October, EPA proposed new emission standards for all heavy-duty trucks, including the heaviest categories of SUVs.  Early next year, EPA plans to propose even more stringent emission standards for these vehicles.  These standards would reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by between 75 and 90 percent.

  EPA will soon take final action on petitions from northeastern states to reduce long-range transport of nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants and other large industrial sources.

  EPA continues to fight for its new, more protective smog standard, currently tied up in litigation, while it moves forward to enforce the older smog standard nationally in nearly 3,000 counties across the United States.

  A new century is now just 30 days away. It should be breathtaking for all. And a struggle to breathe for none.