Carper Statement on “Clear Skies” Markup

WASHINGTON (March 9, 2005) – Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., released the following statement after today’s committee vote on the president’s “Clear Skies” proposal. Carper, the senior Democrat on the clean air subcommittee, joined all Democrats, Republican Lincoln Chafee and Independent Jim Jeffords in opposing the president’s plan, which failed on a 9-9 vote. “A tie vote does not mean the end of clean air legislation this year. It means find another way. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been meeting with Senator Voinovich, the nation’s utilities, and environmental groups in order to find common ground on clean air. The president’s plan does not go far enough, fast enough to reduce our emissions of mercury, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, and it completely misses the mark on global warming. I feel we can do better. Our talks have yielded some progress, but we weren’t able to reach consensus because of EPA’s reluctance to provide detailed cost-benefit analyses of various clean air proposals before Congress. That information, which I’ve requested repeatedly over the past several years, will tell us the environmental and cost implications associated with developing new clean air standards. We need that information in order to come up with the best proposal possible. EPA has historically provided unbiased scientific information on legislation whenever Congress requested it, but for the last three or four years, they’ve been constrained from doing that. That’s got to end. It’s my hope that the White House will give us the information we’ve requested so we can roll up our sleeves and get back to work. Am I disappointed that we couldn’t reach a consensus today on clean air? Yes. Am I discouraged? No. We can still find the middle ground on this issue. It’s my hope that over the next few weeks and months, we will develop a strong, bipartisan alternative to the president’s plan.”