News Release

Behind Bush’s Coal “Clear Skies” Photo-Op in Michigan

President Bush is visiting the Detroit Edison coal-burning power plant in Monroe, Mich., this afternoon to promote his air pollution plan called the “Clear Skies Initiative.” [See: abcnews.go.com/wire/Politics/ap20030915_1081.html] The administration is being criticized by public health, environmental, labor and public interest leaders for recent EPA changes to the Clean Air Act. Among those available for interviews are the following:

MEGAN OWENS
Field director of the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan, Owens said today: “The government’s own data show that nearly 300 people a year will die prematurely from this plant’s pollution alone, and thousands will suffer asthma attacks, hospital visits, and lost work days…. This visit comes only days after the administration rolled back an important provision in the Clean Air Act called New Source Review. This rollback not only will allow power plants like the one in Monroe to escape cleaning up, but also would allow them to pollute even more.”
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VICKI LEVENGOOD
Michigan representative of the National Environmental Trust, Levengood said today: “It’s ironic that the president would choose the plant that pumps out more pollution than any other in the state to sell his ‘Clear Skies’ plan…. According to EPA’s own analysis of the president’s Clear Skies plan, the Monroe plant will not reduce its emissions of sulfur dioxide. In 2001, the plant emitted 102,700 tons of sulfur dioxide. EPA’s own analysis of the president’s plan indicates that the Monroe plant will continue to emit 102,700 tons of soot upon full implementation. By contrast, EPA data show that under faithful implementation of the Clean Air Act, Monroe’s emissions of sulfur dioxide in 2020 would be only 10,000 tons — a 90 percent reduction in emissions.”
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TOM JOSEPH
Business manager for the Plumbers and Steamfitters union in Toledo, Ohio — which is 14 miles away from Monroe, Mich. — Joseph said today: “Workers upgraded two of the units at the plant so that they would be cleaner, but then the administration came in and let the plant off the hook so they didn’t have to upgrade and clean up the other two units. That laid off almost 900 workers and gives us dirtier air.”

Dr. KENNETH ROSENMAN
Professor of Medicine, board certified in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Michigan State University, Rosenman has examined the issues regarding the Monroe plant. He said today: “The new EPA regulations the Bush administration has issued will make our air dirtier and cause an increase in disease and death in Michigan. We know that air pollution causes increased disease and death and these new regulations will reduce the progress in cleaning up the air. They will increase emergency room visits, days lost from school and work, hospitalizations and death in comparison to the EPA continuing on its current course.”

KAY DOERR
Chair of the board of the American Lung Association of Michigan, Doerr said today: “This will mean an increase in lung cancer, asthma, emphysema. What people might save in their electric bills, they will end up spending in their health bills, besides the human suffering.”
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TYSON SLOCUM
Research director for Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program, Slocum said today: “Bush has prioritized giving billions away to an industry [coal] dedicated to polluting Americans’ air. And no one benefits more than energy companies like DTE (parent company of Detroit Edison), which gave $122,000 to Bush and congressional Republicans since 1999…. Bush’s ‘Coal Research Initiative’ will have spent $900 million (from 2002-04) on even more subsidies to the coal industry for coal technologies that are neither ‘new’ nor ‘clean.'”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167