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  Latest News  
  March 14,  2005
Volume 83, Number 11
p. 10


  Clear Skies Plan All But Dead
Senate deadlock means air pollution bill will not move to full debate


A senate panel on March 9 dealt a severe blow to President George W. Bush's air pollution legislation--known as the Clear Skies initiative--all but killing it.

The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee deadlocked 9 to 9 over S. 131, the legislation that would implement the Clear Skies plan. The vote means the legislation will not move to the full Senate for debate. Pivotal House members have indicated they will not push a Clear Skies bill unless the Senate passes the measure.

S. 131 would control emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury from power plants. Opponents of the measure, however, argued that the existing Clean Air Act will cut releases of these pollutants faster and more steeply than the President's plan. They also complained that S. 131 would eliminate several key components of the Clean Air Act (C&EN, Feb. 14, page 29).

Sens. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-R.I.), James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.), and seven Democrats on the panel opposed the measure. Several of those who voted against it, including Chafee, cited the bill's lack of controls on the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), a key negotiator on S. 131, expressed hope that talks on the bill would continue so it could again be brought to a committee vote. But Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), who helped shepherd the negotiations, said chances were extremely slim that S. 131 would get resurrected, given the other legislation that the panel is scheduled to address this year, including a highway construction bill.

Though the committee could technically take up S. 131 again next year, Voinovich said it was unlikely given the 2006 elections. Congress usually passes few bills during election years.

  Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2005

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Clearing The Air
[C&EN, Feb. 14,  2005]

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