1990 Scorecard Vote
Despite progress in controlling pollution from motor vehicles, cars are still the dominant source of air pollution in many polluted cities. The effect of tightened emissions standards is being outstripped by the growth in vehicle use. More effective controls on mobile sources will be needed to tackle the smog problem. The Committee bill would have required two phases of tightened auto emissions standards and would have required automakers to build cars that could meet the standards for their full useful life. The Administration negotiated a weakened version that delayed the first phase of reductions, and made the second phase contingent on a complicated air quality test that ignores the public health concerns of millions of Americans. Furthermore, the deal weakens the key provision governing the performance of cars in use and includes a weak clean fuel program that does no more than encourage the use of "reformulated" gasoline in the 10 smoggiest cities.
The Wirth-Wilson amendment was intended to remedy these problems. It would have reduced emissions from new cars and mandated an alternative fuels program for America's dirtiest cities. Specifically, the amendment would have strengthened the substitute by requiring cars to be built with emissions controls that would last the life of the car; by making the second phase tailpipe standards mandatory; by requiring use of reformulated gas in nearly 40 areas with serious ozone smog problems; and by instituting an effective plan to encourage the full range of "clean fuels" for vehicles -- everything from gasahol and methanol to natural gas and electricity. The motion to table the Wirth-Wilson amendment carried by a vote of 52-46 on March 20. No is the pro-environment vote.