California to Cut Auto Emissions
The U.S. Congress refused to require cars to go farther on a gallon of gas. But lawmakers in California took matters into their own hands, passing the nation's strongest measure to limit global-warming emissions. The California Climate Bill, expected to signed by Gov. Gray Davis (D) would require the state air resources board to limit carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles. This would mean that automakers would have to offer higher fuel efficiency vehicles for sale in California. For more information, see www.sierraclub.org/currents/california_climate_bill.asp.
Bush To Slash Superfund
Funding for 33 Superfund cleanups would be cut, and funding reduced at another 15 sites, under a Bush administration plan announced in late June. Established in 1980 under the principle that the "polluter pays," Superfund has been weakened subsequently, with taxpayers picking up an increasing percentage of the program's cost. More than 1,200 toxic sites that have not yet been cleaned up remain on the EPA's National Priority List of sites, and according to a study Congress commissioned from Resources for the Future, an estimated 23 to 49 new toxic sites could be added to the list each year. For more information, go to www.sierraclub.org/toxics/superfund.
Clean Air Act Weakened
On June 13, the Bush administration announced its plans to weaken the "New Source Review" provision of the Clean Air Act, which requires polluters to upgrade pollution-fighting technology when they expand existing facilities. The idea of NSR was to phase out older, dirtier technologies in favor of newer, cleaner ones. But the new rules will make it easier for old plants to increase their pollution without adopting new pollution controls. For more information, go to www.sierraclub.org/currents/new_source_review.asp.
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