WASHINGTON -- January 26 -- A major debate over clean air in America begins today as a key Senate subcommittee meets to discuss the future of the Clean Air Act. The Bush administration and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
(EPW) Chairman James Inhofe have made it very clear that they would like to replace the current Clean Air Act with something more favorable to coal and oil companies and utilities. In response to today's hearing by the Clean Air, Wetlands and Climate Change Subcommittee of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the Sierra Club issued the following statement:
"It is no secret that the administration wants to rewrite air pollution protections to favor power companies and other industrial polluters. Today's Senate hearing is the first step in the process.
"The Bush administration's proposed legislation has the dubious distinction of allowing two to three times more soot, smog and mercury pollution than strong enforcement of current protections - and for as much as a decade longer. In addition, it leaves the fate of millions of Americans, who are waiting for relief from existing air pollution problems, entirely in the hands of a risky pollution trading scheme.
"The best way to achieve the clean air standards that Americans want and deserve continues to be the strong enforcement of the Clean Air Act. Creating market incentives is acceptable if we maintain the safety net of the Clean Air Act - but the radical changes proposed by the Bush administration would put too many people in harms way.
"Thirty years of clean air progress shows that enforcing the law protects public health. It makes no sense to turn our back on success."