Politics of clean air in US

Jul 29, 1997 02:00 AM

July 16, 1997 EPA's new air standards will spark economic upheaval without significantly benefiting Americans' health, said the top official of the nation's largest electric trade association.
"Little bang for the big bucks price tag of environmental controls on America's towns and counties is simply unacceptable," said Thomas R. Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, whose members deliver 75 % of America's electric power. "Many scientists believe these sky-high-priced new air rules will not buy better health for America's frailest: our children, our sickly and our seniors."
In announcing the proposals last month, President Clinton couched them as a remedy for childhood asthma. Such political rhetoric obscured the weak science underlying the strict proposals, Kuhn said. "The EPA has relied on a handful of inconclusive, shaky studies to promote a blatantly political agenda," said Kuhn. "The facts of the Clean Air debate are these: electric companies have dramatically cut air pollution, the airis cleaner now than at any time in the last twenty years and even greater improvement in our air quality is already guaranteed under the Clean Air Act as it stands -- without the pricey new rules. "Moreover, EPA's claim that the new standards, which will thrust hundreds of counties into non-attainment, can be achieved largely by reductions in utility emissions simply is untrue," Kuhn continued. "Further, burdens placed on utilities will result in higher electric rates for consumers. "Congress must put the emergency brake on this federal agency careening out of control," said Kuhn.

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