Attorney General Lockyer Blasts Bush Administration Move to Subvert Clean Air Rules

Federal Government Punches Gaping Hole in Anti-Pollution Mandate

Friday, August 29, 2003
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer issued the following statement on today's approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of a regulation that severely weakens air pollution requirements for power plant owners and manufacturers who perform maintenance on their facilities:

"The new rule is the latest evidence of what has become standard operating procedure for the Bush Administration: roll back safeguards for the environment, sabotage states' authority to enforce their air and water quality laws, and undermine California's efforts to protect the health of its citizens. We cannot afford to let them succeed.

"First, the U.S. EPA adopted a loophole-ridden rule that lets businesses escape requirements that they install state-of-the-art pollution control equipment when they make major modifications to their plants. We're fighting them in court over that regulation. Today, they moved to gut similar clean air mandates when companies perform more than routine maintenance on their facilities. The regulation turns the federal Clean Air Act on its head by defining ‘routine maintenance' so broadly that plant owners will be able to make major, multi-million dollar upgrades without having to install modern pollution control technology. My office and the state Air Resources Board will challenge this rule, as well.

"The Bush Administration, contrary to the President's professed belief in states' rights, has moved aggressively to preempt states' law enforcement authority. That campaign has been waged across a variety of fronts, from protecting consumers, to regulating banking practices, to safeguarding our air, water and health. As president of the National Association of Attorneys General, I have formed a task force to examine the Bush Administration's usurpation of the states' traditional law enforcement powers. I am committed to reversing this dangerous trend."

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