Senator Carper Challenges President’s Clear Skies Initiative

Carper's Clean Air Bill Provides More Jobs, Better Health Benefits Than Bush Proposal

WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper today issued the following statement following the president’s remarks yesterday in Michigan and his meeting today at the White House on his proposed “Clear Skies” initiative. Carper, the senior Democrat on the Senate’s clean air subcommittee, is the author of the bipartisan Clean Air Planning Act, which would reduce power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide, mercury, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide. The bill has strong bipartisan support in the Senate, including Republicans Lincoln Chafee, Judd Gregg and Lamar Alexander. Companion legislation was introduced today in the House by Republican Charles Bass, and Democrats Jim Davis and Jim Cooper. “With the economy struggling and the nation’s electricity system in trouble, President Bush is right to focus on the need to preserve and create jobs in whatever new clean air legislation passes Congress. But his Clear Skies plan falls short in many respects. Legislation I have introduced with Sens. Chafee, Gregg, and Alexander would create more jobs sooner and in greater numbers than the president’s Clear Skies plan, while also doing more to protect the environment without overly burdening industry.” “As we saw under the Clinton administration, it is possible to protect the environment while continuing to grow the economy. Under our bill, the installation of new pollution control equipment on existing power plants mixed with the construction of new, advanced-technology plants will create tens of thousands of new high-paying jobs. Our bill also encourages the development of new clean-coal technology, which should help retain coal’s place in our fuel supply and continue to guarantee jobs for our nation’s coal miners.” “Compared to Clear Skies, our bill simply provides substantially greater health benefits at a fraction of the cost. According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency, our bill would produce nearly $60 billion more in public health benefits and prevent nearly 6,000 more premature deaths than the White House plan in 2020 – but it would only cost 2 percent more to implement.” “The bipartisan introduction of the Clean Air Planning Act in the House today is yet another sign that our proposal is picking up steam in Congress and that the approach favored by the White House is not the best course of action for our nation. If the president is serious about cleaning up the environment and securing American jobs, he should work with both parties in Congress to reach agreement on clean air legislation this year.”