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Post date: February 14 2002

Statement By Attorney General Eliot Spitzer On The President's Air Policies

The Bush Administration’s air pollution proposal is a grave disappointment for every American who wants to breathe clean air. In simple terms, this proposal, coupled with anticipated changes to the New Source Review program of the Clean Air Act, is a rollback, not an advance, of air pollution protection.

The Bush Administration proposes to place nationwide caps on three major pollutants – sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury. The proposal offers too little too late. It virtually ignores the greenhouse gases that are linked to global warming. It sets pollution caps that are too high and are imposed too late and fails to account for regional differences. The federal government itself has concluded that enforcement of existing law will achieve greater pollution reductions sooner than this proposal.

It is widely expected that the Administration will use today’s proposal to justify gutting the current Clean Air Act. This would be devastating for New York and other Northeast states that have been particularly hard hit by the ravages of acid rain, urban smog and the accompanying respiratory diseases.

The only beneficiaries of this indefensible policy will be the owners of dirty power plants, coal companies and the oil industry.

I urge the President and EPA Administrator Whitman to reconsider their approach. We need them to join with the northeastern attorneys general in vigorously enforcing the Clean Air Act.

The time to study these issues has long passed. The time for action to significantly reduce air pollution is now.