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Bush sets new EPA chief to work on 'Clear Skies' bill

[JURIST] President Bush Friday nominated acting Environmental Protection Agency [official website] administrator Stephen Johnson [EPA profile] to fill the job permanently. In White House remarks, the President said:

... his immediate task is to work with Congress to pass my Clear Skies Initiative. This innovative legislation will reduce power plant pollution by 70 percent, without disrupting the economy or raising electricity prices. The bill will give governors the flexibility they need to meet strict new air quality standards, improve public health, and protect vulnerable ecosystems from acid rain. Clear Skies is a common-sense, pro-environment, pro-jobs piece of legislation, and Congress needs to get it to my desk this year.
The EPA has background information on the Clear Skies Initiative, originally proposed [White House speech] by President Bush in 2002, but since harshly criticized by environmental groups such as the Sierra Club [fact sheet] and the National Resources Defense Council [backgrounder]. The US Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works held hearings [witness statements] earlier this week on the relevant implementing legislation, S. 131, the Clear Skies Act of 2005 [THOMAS bill summary]. AP has more.

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