Jeffords against administration power plant rule

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(Host) Senator Jim Jeffords says a decision by the Bush administration to grant an exemption to the Clean Air Act will result in the unnecessary death of several thousand people in the future. The administration is expected to formally announce its decision to implement the exemption through the rule making process this week.

The rule will allow older power plants in the Midwest to increase their generating capacity without installing new pollution reduction equipment. Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Jeffords said he was distressed that the president is taking steps that undermine an important law proposed by George Bush senior:

(Jeffords) “I happened to be in the Senate at that time and was on the committee that passed out his bill. Why he wants to weaken it the way he is doing and cause thousands of lives to be lost over the next few years just bewilders me. I don’t understand what he is trying to do.”

(Host) Jeffords, who is the ranking minority member of the Senate Environment and Energy committee, is hopeful that the panel will take action to block the administration’s plan:

(Jeffords) “Now what they’re trying to do is to allow these power plants to reduce their costs by not having to reduce the amount of pollution that comes out of those smokestacks. To me, knowing the facts as I do, as the committee will if we let him get away with that – is just criminal in my mind.”

(Host) Jeffords expects the committee will review this issue when Congress reconvenes in Washington next week.

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