President Bush's so-called "Clear Skies" legislation, which really ought to be called the "Air Quality Destruction and Big Utilities Relief Act," was stalled yesterday in a Senate committee and is given little chance of passage in its current form. Some on the committee felt that the bill weakened certain provisions of the Clean Air Act and others wanted some regulation of carbon dioxide emissions to reduce the impact on global warming. It's no surprise that the chairman of the committee, Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) wouldn't allow any provision on carbon dioxide since he believes that global warming is a "hoax."
The bill as written would allow utilities to upgrade and expand existing plants without meeting stringent new air quality rules as required under current law. It would also block states from enforcing clean air provisions across state lines, a provision that is aimed at several northeastern states currently suing Midwestern utilities over air pollution violations and carbon dioxide emissions.
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