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E-M:/ Sierra Club Responds to 2003 Air Pollution Status Report



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Enviro-Mich message from "Anne M. Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 22, 2004


CONTACT:
Nat Mund 202-675-2397
Eric Antebi 415-977-5747

  SIERRA CLUB RESPONDS TO BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S 2003 STATUS REPORT ON
AIR
                                 POLLUTION

           Statement by Nat Mund, Sierra Club Air Quality Expert

"The Bush administration's 2003 Status Report on air pollution, released
earlier today, should be read with a skeptical eye.  It not only paints
a
misleading picture of the state of our air, but it also hides the fact
that
the Bush administration has weakened the clean air laws that are
responsible for the progress to date.

"The Bush Administration is using the decline in overall pollution to
mask
increases in sulfur dioxide, a pollutant leading to acid rain.  The
administration consistently points to the acid-rain trading program,
which
allows polluters to buy and sell the right to pollute, as a successful
model for controlling all air pollution problems.  However, this year's
report shows that sulfur dioxide pollution increased by half a million
tons, demonstrating the limits of pollution trading.  The administration
worked closely with polluting industries to rewrite clean air rules for
America's oldest and dirtiest power plants, refineries, and factories.
If
these facilities were using the best available technology to reduce the
amount of soot they produce, we would significantly cut the number of
attacks and hospitalizations caused by asthma.

"The biggest reductions from 2002-2003 came from reductions in carbon
monoxide, a pollutant that the Clean Air Act has successfully reduced in
the past.  Other pollutants have stayed fairly constant.

"It's also worth noting that although smog-forming emissions went down a
little in 2003, too many communities are still experiencing too many
smog
days.  In fact, when the Bush administration announced earlier this year
that 474 counties in 31 states have air that fails to meet federal
health
standards, it proposed allowing many of these areas to clean up less
over a
longer period of time, as compared to strong enforcement of the Clean
Air
Act.

"Everyone can agree that the Clean Air Act has made significant gains in
making our air safer to breathe, but Bush Administration policies
threaten
further progress on clean air by weakening those protections for local
communities."

                                    ###




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