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Electricity Restructuring Press Briefing The White House

Carol M. Browner, Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency                Remarks Prepared for Deliver
Electricity Restructuring Press Briefing                     The White House
           March 25, 1998

     Good morning, and thank you for joining us today.

     Today, the nation's electricity industry is facing great changes -- changes that could have profound effects not only on the American people's pocketbook, but also on our health and our environment. I am here to tell you the Clinton-Gore Administration is fully committed to ensuring that these changes are positive ones -- that they provide cleaner, healthier air for every American, and every American community.

     We announce, this morning, a package of principles and specifications that this administration believes must lie at the heart of any legislation guiding the restructuring of the electricity industry. This package is our blueprint to Congress so that together we can design legislation that protects the environment, public health, and the economy. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in cost-effective ways, march in lockstep with our previous commitments to clean air, and give citizens the right to know about the emissions from their local utilities.

     The American people deserve no less.

     Our package will make renewable energy a significant power source for the nation. We set
a goal: by 2010, five and a half percent of the nation's power coming from these clean sources -- more than double where we are today.

     The package ensures that savings from restructuring are not just turned into profits, but also into benefits for the American people -- about $3 billion for energy efficiency, assistance to low-income residents, development of clean technologies, and other benefits.

     The package improves our ability to control nitrogen oxide emissions -- the principle contributor to smog -- -- in the most cost-effective way possible, through pollution trading among utilities.

     The package takes yet another step for the public's right to know. Just as this administration has given citizens more information about what is in their drinking water, and about toxic releases from local industries -- we are now giving them information about air pollution emissions from their utilities and about where their power comes from -- so people can make informed decisions when choosing an energy supplier.

     Finally, as the electricity industry goes through this difficult transition, this administration remains firmly committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the timetable set out in the President's climate change strategy. We will work with Congress on a future cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas.

     These principles are our challenge to Congress to do all it can to protect the American people while ensuring a smooth transition for our nation's electricity industry.

     Thank you.