Carper Urges Bipartisan Compromise on Clean Air

Republicans Must Work with Democrats to Develop Multi-Pollutant Legislation

WASHINGTON (Jan. 26, 2005) – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., ranking member of the Senate Clean Air, Climate Change and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, issued the following statement at the Jan. 26 hearing on the need for multi-pollutant air legislation: “To pass multi-pollutant legislation this year will require agreement and cooperation from both sides of the aisle. Clean air does not have to be a partisan issue. If you look back at the history of this committee, the most significant environmental laws all passed with overwhelming support of both Democrats and Republicans. I hope that will be the case here. I have opposed the president’s Clear Skies plan because I think we can do better. The president’s plan does not go far enough, fast enough, and it completely misses the mark on carbon dioxide and global warming. In order to get a bill through Congress and attract significant support from Democrats, we have to be willing to take the first steps toward regulating carbon dioxide. And we have to be willing to pursue other pollutants – mercury, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide – more aggressively. If we establish the right targets and timelines, American ingenuity will meet the challenge. Clean technologies will come to market, emissions will be reduced, and the public health will be protected. Where we go from here is largely up to the president and the leadership of this committee. I am concerned about reports saying the White House wants to move Clear Skies through the Senate without engaging Democrats about what is best for the country. If the approach to moving this bill is going to be ‘my way or the highway’, then we’re going to end up in a traffic jam. I hope we can work through our differences and produce legislation that will improve our air quality in a cost-effective way.” Carper is the primary author of legislation, titled the Clean Air Planning Act, which would more aggressively reduce power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide, mercury, and nitrogen oxide than the president’s proposal, while taking the first steps toward reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The bill as introduced in the last Congress has strong bipartisan support in the Senate, including Republicans Lincoln Chafee, Judd Gregg and Lamar Alexander. According to EPA data, the 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.