WASHINGTON — President Bush proclaimed a "new era for clean air" today as he signed far-reaching legislation placing new curbs on air pollution from automobiles, factories and businesses.
"Every American expects and deserves to breathe clean air," Bush said, signing the Clean Air Act of 1990.
He called the measure "the centerpiece of our environmental agenda" and the "most significant air pollution legislation in our nation's history."
Bush signed the measure at an East Room ceremony, standing with key lawmakers involved in the long and contentious fight over the measure.
"This is a true red-letter day for all Americans," Bush declared. "We begin a new era for clean air."
"No American should have to drive out of town to have to breathe clean air. Every city in America should have clean air. And with this legislation, I firmly believe we will," he said.
"Mission defined, mission accomplished," he added.
The bill, 748 pages long, will affect virtually every American. It was approved by Congress easily last month, belying 16 months of debate and long hours of behind-the-scenes negotiations on a myriad of provisions.
In advance of today's bill-signing, environmental groups hailed the bill's enactment. "The Clean Air Act of 1990 is like a breath of fresh air after a 10-year smog alert," said Sierra Club President Susan Merrow.