As a result of that proposal, the 13-year legislative logjam will be broken. The bill contains all of the essential features of my original proposal and will lead to the achievement of the goals I originally set out. The bill I am signing today will permanently reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 10 million tons below 1999 levels. It will cut NOx emissions by two million tons from projected year 2020 levels and reduce air toxic emissions by over 75 percent.
The bill will allow the Nation finally to meet air quality standards in every city; and, in total, almost 30 million tons per year of dangerous chemicals and noxious pollutants will be prevented from fouling the air.
The result of this new Act will be that cancer risk, respiratory disease, heart ailments, and reproductive disorders will be reduced; damage to lakes, streams, parks, crops, and forests will greatly be lessened; and visibility will be notably improved. As an added benefit, energy security will on balance be enhanced as utilities and automobiles switch to cleaner burning alternative fuels.
The innovative use of market incentives in the bill represents the turning of a new page in our approach to environmental problems in this country. The acid rain allowance trading program will be the first large-scale regulatory use of market incentives and is already being seen as a model for regulatory reform efforts here and abroad. The acid rain program is based on some simple concepts -- that we should set tough standards, allow freedom of choice in how to meet them, and let the power of markets help us allocate the costs most efficiently.
By employing a system that generates the most environmental protection for every dollar spent, the trading system lays the groundwork for a new era of smarter government regulation; one that is more compatible with economic growth than using only the command and control approaches of the past. Other provisions to increase flexibility include increased opportunities for emissions trading and performance standards for fuel refiners to encourage alternative fuel reformulations. In all, these path-breaking features allow us to implement the legislation in a way that achieves my environmental goals at an acceptable cost. The result will be the dawning of a new era in regulatory policy, one that relies on the market to reconcile the environment and the economy.