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JULY 30, 2002
3:42 PM
CONTACT:  Sierra Club
David Willett, 202-675-6698
Sierra Club Denounces Bill Touting Administration Pollution Plan
Urges Members of Congress to Oppose Irresponsible Plan
WASHINGTON - July 30 - The Sierra Club denounced a bill introduced to enact President Bush's ineffective plan to deal with air pollution. The Sierra Club is urging Americans to call their members of Congress and ask them to oppose the bill, which will weaken the Clean Air Act and lead to more air pollution that causes asthma, acid rain and global warming.

"This bill hurts families, allows more air pollution and weakens the Clean Air Act -- it benefits only irresponsible, polluting corporations. It won't help communities protect their families and the planet from air pollution," said Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. "Americans want to hold polluting companies accountable for dirty air and to strengthen protections against the pollution that causes asthma, acid rain, and global warming. Americans breathe cleaner air today than they did 30 years ago because the Clean Air Act cracked down on polluters. We need to strengthen this safeguard, not dismantle it."

The existing Clean Air Act, including protections that make older factories install modern technology when they increase their pollution, will result in cleaner air than the Administration's plan as embodied in this bill. The bill introduced today in the House and Senate allows more smog-forming nitrogen oxide and potentially three times as much toxic mercury than current law. Current Clean Air Act provisions achieve greater air pollution reductions , while also protecting local communities. Today's bill won't do nearly enough to cut down on air and global warming pollution. In fact, the plan could increase the use of dirty coal, which is a main source of smog and asthma-causing pollution.

"Our families will breathe cleaner air if we simply enforce existing laws, rather than replace our good clean air protections with this weaker scheme," said Pope.

America can have cleaner air faster by not weakening current laws and by supporting the Clean Power Act which was just approved by a key Senate environmental committee. The Clean Power Act [S. 556], would reduce levels of the four major pollutants: nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide and mercury. Nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide will be reduced by 75 percent from 2000 levels, and mercury by 90 percent. Carbon dioxide is capped at 1990 levels. All these new levels must be achieved by 2008. The legislation also includes a "birthday" provision, which requires power plants to install modern pollution control equipment by their 40th year of operation, closing the much maligned "grandfather" loophole. The most critical feature of this legislation is that, rather than seeking to eliminate existing protections, it reduces pollution from power plants as an additional protection.

"The irresponsible Bush Administration plan simply won't do the job," continued Pope. "The Administration's plan fails to curb carbon dioxide, the chief global warming pollutant. This ill-advised scheme also falls far short of adequately protecting people's health and the environment from the air pollution that cause lung diseases like asthma and lung cancer and cause acid rain. The plan leaves local communities at risk to serious pollution in their backyard."

The Sierra Club urges people across the country to call their members of Congress and ask them to oppose this irresponsible piece of legislation and instead support Senator Jeffords' Clean Power Act.


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