17 EPA J. 54 (1991)
Pizza at Midnight

handle is hein.journals/epajrnl17 and id is 54 raw text is: Viewpoints:
Pizza at Midnight
by Rob Brenner
and John Beale

emission limits were placed on every
utility boiler. Many senators argued
that the system wasn't equitable, that it
didn't take into account their particular
circumstances. This put us in the
unenviable position of responding to
unit-specific concerns, and we were
faced with literally dozens of requests
to make adjustments during and after
negotiations with the Administration.
As part of the negotiations, we
provided extra bonus allowances for
those utilities that used technology
during the first phase of the reduction.
The bonus allowances would provide
additional job-protection incentives for
high-sulfur coal miners. But this led
western senators to argue that their
low-sulfur utilities were not adequately
compensated for past efforts. Working
with these senators, I helped draft a
compromise that provided
second-phase bonus allowances to
these clean states as well.
After a weekend of frantic legislative
drafting, I, Senator Dole, and others
introduced an amendment on March 5,
1990. That began a month-long effort
on the Senate floor to reconcile
concerns about allocation of acid rain
allowances, toxics and smog controls,
limits on ozone-depleting chemicals,
and municipal incinerator controls.
Finally, on April 3, the Senate
overwhelmingly passed clean air
legislation by a vote of 89 to 11. Never
in my experience had the Senate
remained on one issue for so long, and
never had so many senators focused on
such technical legislation.
After this victory, we waited almost
three months for the House to act, so
we could begin a conference to
reconcile differences between House
and Senate bills. The conferees reached
agreement in principle on October 22,
and the Senate passed the conference
report on October 27. On November 15,
President Bush signed the 1990 Clean
Air Act Amendments into law. There
were many happy but tired faces at the
ceremony. 0

t was well after midnight during the
third week of Clean Air Act
negotiations between key senators and
the Administration. The negotiators
were trying to resolve one of the more
formidable issues: Should automakers
be required to cut emissions of new
cars once in the mid-1990s and then
meet a second round of even tighter
standards after the year 2000 (so-called
Tier II controls)? The potential
compromise laid on the table was a
Staffers from many offices
worked 60- to 80-hour work
weeks for long periods of
time ....
Tier II trigger. The additional controls
would be required only if a significant
number of cities were not meeting the
health standards and were likely to
need the emission reductions provided
by additional vehicle controls.
The problem was determining what
constitutes a significant number of
cities and how far out of attainment
they would need to be to justify
imposing expensive controls on new
cars. As the meeting was breaking up,
Senator Mitchell pulled aside some of
the EPA staff. He said he did not think
an agreement could be reached unless
some data could be provided indicating
the frequency of violations in
nonattainment areas.
Senator Mitchell wanted the
information by 9 o'clock the next
morning (which meant that the White
House would want to see it before
then). Although the task required
pulling some analysts out of bed and
some early-morning computer runs, the
data were provided the next morning.
And although several more hours of
discussion were needed, agreement was
reached: Tier II controls would be
imposed if more than 11 cities
(Brenner is Director of EPA's Office of
Policy Analysis and Review (OPAR).
Beale is Deputy Director of OPAR.)

remained out of attainment in the year
2001. In this case, and in countless
similar cases over a two-year period,
agreement was possible only because
EPA staff were able to provide the
authoritative information, virtually (and
often literally) overnight.
Beyond the unprecedented demands
for accuracy and speed, the highly
contested political situation
surrounding the clean air debate added
an unaccustomed dimension to an
already difficult task. Our challenge
was to provide technical assistance and
policy insights to the White House,
Congress, and senior EPA officials
without becoming targets in what was
an often savage political crossfire.
Although most of the public attention
focused on the 101st Congress,
intensive EPA involvement began two
years earlier, in 1987, at the start of the
previous Congress. At that time, EPA
established the Clean Air Work
Group, composed of staff from
numerous EPA offices and outside the
Agency. Air, Policy, Congressional
Liaison, Public Affairs, Water, OPPE
(Office of Policy, Planning, and
Evaluation), ORD (Office of Research
and Development), OARM (Office of
Administration and Resources
Management), OSWER (Office of Solid
Waste and Emergency Response),
Enforcement, General Counsel, and
Administrator's offices, as well as the
Department of Justice: All contributed
staff and resources to the effort.
The work group's first task was to
develop analyses, briefing papers, and
policy options to encourage thoughtful
deliberations. But the previous year's
bruising battle between EPA and
Congress over Superfund
reauthorization made another task
equally important: Rebuilding severely
strained working relationships with
After a year of internal and external
discussions and debates, the Agency
produced three innovative proposals:
more realistic deadlines with interim
progress requirements to address the
problem of nonattainment of the
national air quality standards; an air
toxics control program featuring a
technology-based approach backed up


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