WASHINGTON, D.C. - Clear the Air today criticized the new Bush energy policy for ignoring a very real crisis with the nation's energy production: the need to reduce power plant pollution that is choking our children, our cities and the planet.
After spending months behind closed doors with industry representatives, the Administration announced a plan that emphasizes the need to increase energy production without acknowledging the adverse health and environmental effects of that production.
"The President's plan misses the mark and thousands of Americans will pay the price," said Angela Ledford, director of Clear the Air. "The President should have announced a policy today that would provide the country with energy security while helping millions of Americans breathe easier. Instead, he repeated vague promises on emissions and recommended hundreds of new plants that will belch millions of tons of new pollution into the air. What's worse, many of these plants will not rely on clean energy technologies of the future, but will instead burn coal -- the same dirty fuel that has spoiled our environment over the past half-century."
The principal partners for Clear the Air today commented on the three main reasons the Bush energy policy is bad news for human health and the environment.
John Stanton, Vice President for Clean Air Programs, National Environmental Trust:
"The plan locks in Bush's broken campaign promise to reduce power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, even though policy and industry experts agree that it costs less to include carbon dioxide as part of a comprehensive system of pollution reductions now, rather than putting it off into the future. In addition, the plan offers no specific recommendations on reducing power plant emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury, even though the President has repeatedly promised to cut these harmful pollutants. Mountains of studies and legislation already pending in Congress clearly demonstrate the emissions cuts necessary to reduce death and disease from power plant pollution. There's no excuse for the President to delay action by calling for vague legislation. Let's get a proposal on the table now."
Becky Stanfield, Clean Air Advocate, U.S. Public Interest Research Group:
"The plan threatens the future of life-saving provisions of the clean air act that serve to curb excess emissions from the oldest, dirtiest coal-fired power plants. These plants account for about three-quarters of the emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury from the entire industry, yet are largely exempt from modern clean air standards that newer plants have to meet today. Instead of sending a strong message that these plants are going to have to use modern pollution controls, the Administration's plan forces EPA to place public health in the backseat, behind the financial interests of some power companies.
Armond Cohen, Executive Director, Clean Air Task Force:
"The Bush plan calls for the construction of at least 1,300 new power plants - and provides incentives and public health rollbacks to make sure a significant percentage of those plants burn coal with current technology. If just 25% of these new plants are powered by conventional coal technology, U.S. power plant carbon dioxide emissions would increase by more than half, up 1.2 billion tons each year. In addition, the plants would generate an additional 60 million tons per year of highly toxic solid waste, including ash, slag and scrubber sludge. The Bush plan would take us backwards in technology and environmental quality, and is not worthy of our technologically advanced and innovative nation."
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