Bush’s “Clear Skies” Plan: A public health and environmental disaster

Americans have grown accustomed to the Bush Administration’s doublespeak on environmental matters, to the point of grudging acceptance and complacency. But it is time for the public to again pick up its arms, as Bush’s Clear Skies plan nears a Senate vote.

 

As if last month’s Clean Air Act rollbacks weren’t damaging enough, Bush’s “air pollution” plan will result in an estimated 100,000 additional early deaths and two million additional asthma attacks between now and 2020. The

health care costs of these consequences are staggering, and could total billions of dollars each year; a price that will be borne by taxpayers. Such costs could be avoided at a fraction of the price if industry agreed to a small profit loss and took responsibility for cleaning up old power plants, instead of relying on the Bush Administration to bail it out.

 

President Bush, while ignoring the costs to health care and human life, justifies his actions by threatening Americans

with mass job losses and plant closures. An irrational claim that ignores the issue of where the real loss lies—clean air and public health. Although the bill is touted as a mechanism to reduce air pollution, in reality it would result in 34 million additional tons of SO2 pollution and 8 million additional tons of NOx through 2020, if compared to a more protective EPA proposal previously submitted. The administration plan would also allow 163 additional tons of mercury through 2020, and does not address carbon dioxide.

 

Never has there been a more crucial time to make your voice heard. The Clear Skies initiative has been stalled,

largely due to public opposition. This outcry has fostered bipartisan resistance to the bill.

 

Conversely, legislation offered by Senators McCain and Lieberman represents a balanced, market-based strategy

that combines reasonable limits on global warming pollution with an emissions trading mechanism that has already

proven highly successful at lowering costs under the acid rain program. The approach has won support from industry, environmentalists, farm groups, and economists.

 

As the vote nears, make your Senator aware of your strong opposition to the Bush Administration’s Clear Skies initiative and urge them to vote NO on S. 485. Please also register your support for the Climate Stewardship Act (S. 139), which would better protect public health and clean air.

 

Please call or fax a letter to your Senator’s office today: Senator Barbara Boxer: phone (202) 224-3553, fax (202)

956-6701; Senator Dianne Feinstein: phone (202) 224-3841, fax (202) 228-3954.

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