Leahy calls for hearings on Clean Air Act lawsuits

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(Host) Senator Patrick Leahy is calling for special hearings to review a plan by the Bush administration to drop lawsuits against 50 power plants that are in violation of the Clean Air Act.

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to implement new rules next month that include less stringent enforcement requirements for the law. The rules also include exemptions for many of the current violations of the Clean Air Act.

Leahy, who’s the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, thinks the actions by the administration are politically motivated:

(Leahy) “I know a lot of these polluters have been big backers of the White House and the administration, but this is about as blatant a payoff to your political backers as I’ve ever seen. It’s just saying, you were breaking the law, suits were brought against you for doing that, but guess what buddy boy? We’re going to let you off, you’re home free. I just can’t understand how this can be done. It’s an outrage.”

(Host) Leahy says he’s also concerned that the actions of the Bush administration will adversely affect the health of thousands of people in the Northeast because a lot of the polluted air from the Midwest is carried to this region of the country.

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