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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 23, 2002
5:20 PM
CONTACT:  U.S. Public Interest Research Group
Liz Hitchcock, U.S. PIRG, (202) 546-9707 x 316 To view ad copy: http://www.uspirg.org/images/nsrad_bw.jpg
Metro Ads Challenge Administration to Halt Its Attack on Clean Air
Administration Policies Would Make Air Smoggier
 
WASHINGTON - July 23 - A coalition of environmental groups began running ads this week in a number of Washington DC Metro stations this weekend urging citizens to take action to "Stop the Bush Administration's Attack on Clean Air."

The Metro ads, sponsored by the Save Our Environment coalition of national environmental groups, feature a young girl using an asthma inhaler, with the legend: "She'll have to use this more often… because the Bush Administration is weakening the Clean Air Act." The ads are currently scheduled to be in Metro stations including Capitol South, Farragut North, Farragut West and Federal Triangle until August 31.

"The Bush Administration, backed by the coal, electric and oil industries, has proposed the most devastating attack on the Clean Air Act in its 30-year history," said U.S. PIRG Clean Air Advocate Becky Stanfield. "Washington area residents who enjoyed only one "good" air quality day in June can ill afford changes that will increase pollution and delay cleanup of power plants and refineries," she continued.

The Administration announced in June that it would finalize regulatory changes to the "New Source Review" program that would allow older power plants, refineries, chemical facilities and other industries to modify their operations in ways that will increase pollution levels without installing modern pollution controls, as required by today's law. This move could result in pollution increases at more than 17,000 facilities, and has the potential to increase emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons per year across the nation. Pollution from old, coal-burning power plants across the nation trigger an estimated 30,000 premature deaths and hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks annually. Dirty power plants within fifty miles of Washington DC cause an estimated 260 premature deaths and thousands of asthma attacks each year.

Electric utilities pushed for weakening the NSR rules during the 2000 Presidential campaign and in the early months of the Bush Administration. Documents have emerged showing that the Cheney Energy Task Force met and exchanged memos with Southern Company executives on the issue. The Bush energy plan issued last spring included a mandate to review the regulations as well as dozens of ongoing enforcement actions. A subsequent comment period drew comments from 130,000 concerned citizens opposing any move to weaken clean air rules.

The ads were designed by Jennifer Burton of Penczer Burton Media. The ads direct readers to www.saveourenvironment.org for more information, reports, fact sheets, and to take action on the issue.

U.S. PIRG is the national lobby office of the State Public Interest Research Groups. State PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy groups.

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