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"Clear Skies" won't clear the air.

The Bush Administration s air pollution legislation, inaccurately known as "Clear Skies," will adversely affect the landmark Clean Air Act and severely weaken U.S. efforts to achieve healthy air quality. The Administration plan would hurt public health and help polluters by delaying and diluting reductions in power plant emissions of sulfur, nitrogen and mercury. The plan would (1) roll back the current law's public health safeguards to protect local air quality, (2) curb pollution reductions needed from upwind states and (3) delay the effort to restore visibility in our national parks.

In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's own analysis shows that timely enforcement of the current Clean Air Act will provide greater pollution reductions sooner than those proposed by the administration under "Clear Skies."

Unfortunately, the Administration remains focused on attempts to avoid and delay implementation of existing clean air regulations. The Administration plan would not be fully implemented for more than two decades. It also preempts state authority to aggressively pursue dean air for their citizens. Essentially, the Administration proposes to weaken one of the most effective environ mental taws Congress ever passed, despite the vital need to continue to clean up the air that we breathe.

Meanwhile, millions of American--including children with lung diseases like asthma and seniors with chronic lung and heart problems--continue to breathe dirty air, especially on the hill pollution days we see during the summer months. According to the American Lung Association State of the Air: 2003 report, nearly half the American population--more than 137 million people--still breathe unhealthy amounts of the ozone (smog), a toxic air pollutant. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that over 65 million people live in counties that will violate the health standard for fine particulate (soot) pollution. Fine particle pollution is linked to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year and a host of other health effects, including triggering asthma attacks. The current still-polluted state of the air in this country is indefensible. The American Lung Association believes this nation deserves cleaner air now.

The Administration's approach to the problem will not clear the skies. It will not move us forward and it fails to protect public health. Congress should reject it.

The American Lung Association believes that all Americans have a right to breathe dean, healthful air. That is the promise of the Clean Air Act ... a promise that must never be broken. Voters should contact their Members of Congress and urge them to oppose any legislation that would weaken the Clean Air Act.


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Title Annotation:Sounding Off
Author:Kirkwood, John L.
Publication:National Voter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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