Today the Bush administration’s Corporate Air Pollution Plan (S. 131) failed to garner the necessary votes to make it out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), dealing a stinging defeat to proponents of this package of public health rollbacks. The Committee deadlocked at 9-9, with seven Democrats, one Republican and one Independent voting against the so-called “Clear Skies” bill.
“Today we thank the Senators who voted to place the health of their constituents above the polluters’ desire to dismantle the very law that protects the air we all must breathe,” said Earthjustice’s Maria Weidner.
Today’s vote comes two weeks after an abortive attempt to mark up this legislation was unexpectedly called off when the Committee’s majority leadership concluded that they could not assemble enough votes to pass the bill out of Committee. Committee members have reportedly spent the intervening weeks in ongoing negotiations.
“Today’s 9-9 deadlock shows that discussions over the past two weeks failed to sway Senators who value public health over corporate welfare,” said James Cox, Counsel for Earthjustice. “This stalemate underscores the need for EPA to end delays in issuing strong rules to control interstate air pollution and toxic power plant pollution, including mercury.”
Some of the most egregious ways the Corporate Air Pollution Plan would undercut current Clean Air Act protections include attempts to:
- Allow power plants to release twice as much soot-forming sulfur dioxide, and more than one-and-one-half times as much smog-forming nitrogen oxides than the Clean Air Act allows, for nearly a decade longer;
- Allow power plants and other facilities to emit nearly seven times as much toxic mercury for a decade longer;
- Repeal provisions requiring major industrial sources of air pollution to install state-of-the-art pollution control technologies;
- Impede states’ efforts to protect their citizens from pollution originating in upwind states;
- Allow certain new power plants and other facilities to disregard their adverse impacts on air quality in national parks or wilderness areas;
- Allow years of delay in deadlines for meeting clean air health standards and weaken requirements for anti-smog measures in cities with polluted air.