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CLEAR SKIES LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS PROPOSAL WILL IMPROVE AIR QUALITY, PREVENT PREMATURE DEATHS, ILLNESSES
Release Date: 07/29/2002
Also available in Spanish: "EL PROYECTO DE LEGISLACION DE CIELOS CLAROS INTRODUCIDO EN EL CONGRESO CONTRIBUIRÁ A MEJORAR LA CALIDAD DEL AIRE Y A PREVENIR MUERTES PREMATURAS Y ENFERMEDADES"
CLEAR SKIES LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS PROPOSAL
WILL IMPROVE AIR QUALITY, PREVENT PREMATURE DEATHS, ILLNESSES
Contact: Dave Ryan email@example.com
Prudence Goforth, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bush Administration announced today that it has sent legislation to Congress to implement
the President's Clear Skies initiative, an aggressive plan to cut power plant pollution by 70 percent and protect public health. The legislation will be introduced today by Senator Bob Smith and was introduced last Friday by Congressmen Tauzin and Barton.
"America has made significant progress over the last 30 years in our quest for cleaner air, and we have learned a lot about what approaches work best. Now is the time to put those lessons to use,” said President Bush. “Building upon the success of our most effective clean air program, we have crafted a new Clean Air Act for the 21st century -- one that will do more to clean up emissions from power plants than ever before. Administrator Whitman and I look forward to working with Congress to deliver the health and environmental benefits promised by passage of Clear Skies legislation."
"Clear Skies will protect public health and the environment and dramatically improve America's air quality," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "The President and I are committed to a plan that will clean up power plant pollution much faster than current law. This plan makes sense for the environment, public health and American consumers. I look forward to continued work with Congress on this important proposal."
"I am pleased the President has proposed legislation to improve our Nation's air quality,” said Senator Smith. “If enacted, this proposal will ensure substantial reductions in harmful, health-impairing utility emissions. I look forward to working with the President on the details of this legislation, and it is my hope to have a bipartisan multi-emissions reduction package signed into law in the near future."
"I am pleased to introduce legislation reflecting the President's Clear Skies Initiative, at his request. President Bush has a strong commitment to environmental protection, and this bill will not only accelerate the already improving air quality of our nation, but begin key reforms to regulatory programs which have hindered progress and impeded technological innovation,” said Congressman Barton. “I look forward to working closely with President Bush, his team, Chairman Tauzin and my other House and Senate colleagues as we carry Clear Skies legislation from this first step to eventual legal fruition.”
On Feb. 14 of this year President Bush announced the Clear Skies initiative, which sets strict, mandatory emissions caps for three of the most harmful air pollutants -- sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury. Clear Skies will cut power plant emissions of these pollutants by 70 percent, eliminating 35 million more tons of these pollutants in the next decade than the current Clean Air Act.
Analytical data generated by state-of-the-art EPA computer modeling shows that nationwide reductions of these three harmful pollutants will have striking results: Every part of the country where power plants contribute significantly to air pollution, most notably, the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest, would see vast improvements in air quality. Many cities and towns would meet air quality standards for the first time in years.
Clear Skies would dramatically reduce emissions of the pollutants that cause smog, acid rain, haze, and mercury and nitrogen deposition. In 2020, Clear Skies would deliver $96 billion per year in health and visibility benefits, including preventing 12,000 premature deaths. Additional health benefits in 2020 include 10,500 fewer hospitalizations or emergency rooms visits per year and 13.5 million fewer days when Americans suffer from minor respiratory symptoms, including days out of work, missed classroom days, restricted activity days and days with asthma attacks.(Under an alternative estimate, Clear Skies would deliver $11 billion in benefits, including 7,000 avoided premature deaths annually in 2020)
Clear Skies would also have significant environmental benefits, such as virtually eliminating the problem of chronic acidification of lakes in the Adirondack mountains of northern New York, and dramatically reducing nitrogen and mercury deposition in forests and waterbodies.
NOx and SO2 contribute to premature deaths and serious respiratory illnesses due to the fine particles and ground-level ozone (urban smog) that they create. They also cause acid rain and nitrogen deposition, which kills fish and damages forests. Mercury can have neurological effects on humans including impaired motor and cognitive skills, particularly in young children. Mercury is also suspected to cause cardiac, respiratory and immune system impairment. Humans are affected primarily by eating contaminated fish.
Clear Skies, by dramatically reducing polluting emissions from power generators, will be the most significant improvement to the Clean Air Act since 1990, and the most comprehensive and ambitious effort ever to clean up air pollution from power plants. Clear Skies will also make great strides toward solving the persistent environmental problems of visibility impairment and ozone in national parks and cities around the country.
Clear Skies is modeled on America's most effective clean air program, the 1990 Clean Air Act's acid rain program. By using this proven, market-based approach, Clear Skies will dramatically reduce air pollution from power plants quickly and cost-effectively, keeping electricity prices affordable. Because of the nature of "cap-and-trade" programs, establishing a cap in 2010 will cause emissions reductions immediately, as companies act quickly to generate credits needed to meet the 2010 cap. Under the Acid Rain Program, emissions reductions began immediately, and exceeded the required level of reductions by approximately 25 percent.
Clear Skies will enhance American energy security by enabling the continued use of diverse fuels in generating electric power. Clear Skies will ensure that environmental goals are achieved and sustained over the long term, even while energy use increases.
Clear Skies would:
• Cut sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from power plants by 73 percent, from
current emissions of 11 million tons to a cap of 4.5 million tons in 2010, and 3
million tons in 2018.
• Cut emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from power plants by 67 percent,
from current emissions of 5 million tons to a cap of 2.1 million tons in 2008,
and to 1.7 million tons in 2018.
• Cut mercury emissions from power plants by 69 percent, establishing the
first-ever national cap on mercury emissions. Emissions will be cut from
current emissions of 48 tons to a cap of 26 tons in 2010, and 15 tons in 2018.
• Emission caps will be set to account for different air quality needs in the
East and the West.
Additional information about Clear Skies, including legislative language and region-specific information about air quality and health benefits, can be found on EPA's web site are: www.epa.gov/clearskies
Attached is a copy of the statement released by President Bush on the Clear Skies legislation.
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 29, 2002
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today, I am pleased to announce that Environmental Protection Administrator Whitman has submitted legislation to Congress to implement the Clear Skies initiative I proposed in February. Since February, my Administration has been working to develop legislation that meets our common commitment to cleaner air for all Americans. I also am pleased that Chairman Billy Tauzin and Chairman Joe Barton introduced this legislation in the House on Friday, and that Senator Bob Smith will introduce it in the Senate today on behalf of the Administration. Clear Skies will cut power plant emissions by 70 percent -- much further, faster, more certainly, and more cost-effectively than current law.
America has made significant progress over the last 30 years in our quest for cleaner air, and we have learned a lot about what approaches work best. Now is the time to put those lessons to use. Building upon the success of our most effective clean air program, we have crafted a new Clean Air Act for the 21st century -- one that will do more to clean up emissions from power plants than ever before. In the next decade alone, Clear Skies will eliminate 35 million more tons of pollution than the current Clean Air Act, bringing cleaner air to millions of Americans. Clear Skies will also help save our forests, lakes, streams and coastal waters from acid rain and nitrogen and mercury deposition. And Clear Skies will do this through the use of a market-based system that guarantees results while keeping electricity prices affordable for the American people. Administrator Whitman and I look forward to working with Congress to deliver the health and environmental benefits promised by passage of Clear Skies legislation.