Members of Congress Introduce Environmental Legislation

A bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced legislation\r\nyesterday aimed at curbing global warming and cleaning the air by\r\ncutting power plant pollution.

A bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced legislation yesterday aimed at curbing global warming and cleaning the air by cutting power plant pollution.

Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calf., and Sherwood Bohlert, R-N.Y., announced the introduction of the Clean Smokestacks Act of 2001, while Sens. Jim Jeffords, R-Vt., Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., announced the introduction of the Senate companion bill, the Clean Power Act of 2001.

Thursday''s announcement comes a day after President Bush reneged on his campaign promise to introduce a four-pollutant power plant bill.

The Clean Power Act and Clean Smokestacks Act would cut power plant emissions for four major pollutants by 2007.

It would reduce pollution that makes breathing difficult for people with respiratory problems, including children with asthma.

The emission cuts include:

  • Smog and soot-forming nitrogen oxides would be cut by 75 percent from 1997 levels.
  • Acid rain and soot-forming sulfur dioxide would be cut by 75 percent below Phase II of the Clean Air Act''s Acid Rain Program.
  • Toxic mercury emissions would be cut by 90 percent from 1999 levels.
  • Global warming carbon dioxide would return to 1990 levels.

In addition, the Clean Power Act and Clean Smokestacks Act would require every power plant to clean up to the level required for new power plants by the facility''s 30th birthday or five years after enactment of the Act, whichever is later.

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club were quick to praise the bills after criticizing President Bush this week for changing his mind about curbing carbon dioxide.

"It is heartening that these members of Congress recognize Americans demand cleaner air and protection from global warming," said Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. "Pollution from old, inefficient power plants kills tens of thousands of Americans each year and contributes to global warming."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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