Friday, January 07, 2005

News Notes from Clean Air Watch: Baucus says "NO" to Bush plan

Dear friends,

Well, a development this morning that is sure to irritate those seeking to promote the Bush administration’s so-called “clear skies” legislation in Congress. Environment and Energy Daily reports that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) declared in an interview yesterday that he would not support the legislation unless it included provisions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions – something the “clear skies” supporters bitterly oppose.

Said Baucus: "We as a country should address, in some reasonable way, carbon dioxide emissions," Baucus said. "We as a country have to address climate change gases." These comments put Baucus directly against Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK), who earlier this week declared that concerns about global warming were “alarmist” and the product of "environmental extremists and their elitist organizations." (Senator Inhofe is not known for his scientific credentials.)

Baucus previously was viewed by some as a possible swing vote who could side with the President’s backsliding plan when the issue comes before the Inhofe committee. Now “clear skies” will have a much higher hurdle. Note to Maalox: Send a case to Senator Inhofe.

Other news you may have missed:

Several interesting studies out this week. Our friends at the National Wildlife Federation have a new report out warning of mercury problems in the Mid-Atlantic region and rating various state clean-up efforts. click here

Also of possible local interest, our friends at Environmental Defense have a good ranking of the top polluters in the nation, based on information in the US EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory. Check www.scorecard.org

And one other item of note out of Phoenix (no – I am not referring to the Annual Business Festival of Access Buying, or AB FAB, at the Arizona Biltmore). Phoenix has officially been declared “clean” for the pollutant carbon monoxide – a remarkable development considering the growth in the motor vehicles in the area. Like many areas, Phoenix still has other air pollution problems. But this development should be noted as a Clean Air Act success story – a cleanup prompted by motor vehicle emission standards and an effective auto emission inspection program.

--Frank O’Donnell, Clean Air Watch

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