Saturday, January 15, 2005

Congress to Ask NAS To Evaluate The Bush Administration Changes

Dear friends,

Nothing urgent here, but just in case you are interested. The National Academy of Sciences today sent an “interim” report to Congress regarding New Source Review. There may be a bit of news on this. (Congress Daily has already done a brief item, below.)

Congress asked NAS to evaluate the Bush administration changes.

A final report is due at the end of the year, and this interim report mainly outlines how they intend to do the evaluation in the final report.

HOWEVER, there is a very interesting section on page 17, in which NAS basically says that the Bush “clear skies” plan would mean more pollution than if NSR were used. (Find report click here)

In other words, the NAS appears to have backed the concerns expressed by health, environmental and state and local government groups.

Jeffords: NAS Report Backs Concerns About 'Clear Skies'
Congress Daily

Senate Environment and Public Works ranking member James Jeffords, I-Vt., today said an interim report by the National Academy of Sciences supports his view that President Bush's signature air quality plan will be worse for the environment than a current EPA permitting program. The report, submitted to the committee today, states that Bush's proposed "Clear Skies" plan would not curb air pollution by as much as the New Source Review programs now in place. "The report provides further proof that the Bush administration has been recklessly tinkering with the Clean Air Act for several years and wants to go even further," Jeffords said in a statement. "They want to replace existing programs, like New Source Review, that have documented benefits, with a proposal that is weaker and slower when it comes to reducing emissions and protecting health and the environment."

The administration contends that exemptions it would allow would be offset by tightened clean-up requirements for new plants. The NAS study, however, points out that the new requirements would not offset all of the modifications the administration proposed. "It is therefore unlikely that Clear Skies would result in emission limits at individual sources that are tighter than those achieved when NSR is triggered at the same sources," the study notes.

A final report is expected by the end of the year. Senate Democrats and Jeffords have charged that the Bush administration illegally overhauled NSR in 2003 to favor energy producers. They say Bush's changes to NSR would indefinitely extend a grace period for polluters under the Clean Air Act. A spokesman for Environment and Public Works Chairman Inhofe defended Bush's proposal, pointing out that it is intended to cut sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury by 70 percent over the next 15 years.

-- by Darren Goode


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