Strengthening Clean Air Protections
But 10 million children under 12 still live within 4 miles of a toxic waste dump. A third of us breathe air that endangers our health. And in too many communities the water is not safe to drink. We still have much to do. President Clinton, Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union, January 23, 1996
In his 1996 State of the Union address, President Clinton challenged his administration and Congress to ensure that our air would be safe and clean for the next generation.
Great strides were also made in reducing the environmental impact of vehicles. In 1996, the EPA realized its 25 year goal to remove lead from gasoline, but the largest change came with the implementation of tough new standards for auto tailpipe emissions.
In 1999, the administration announced that light-duty trucks, SUVs and minivans would have to meet the same low levels of emissions as other passenger cars. This new standard created the potential to remove the emissions equivalent of 164 million cars from the air by 2030.
In the year 2000, the administration achieved its goal of removing all sulfur from gasoline. This was the first time the government recognized that it could be creative in regulating fuels and vehicles together in a way that delivers greater environmental benefits at lower costs than the old, traditional way of regulating each separately.
In 1993 President Clinton participated in a short video skit shown during a discussion between President Clinton and children at the White House. The skit portrays how a bill becomes a law, but the subject of the bill concerns Air Quality. Jaleel White, who plays the character 'Steven Quincy Urkel' from the program 'Family Matters,' deals with the intricacies of introducing the 'Urkel Air Bill' into Congress. Many political figures during the time, including President Clinton, Robert Dole, Cleo Fields, and Tom Foley, also participated in the skit.