STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES E. SCHUMER, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
I would like to thank Chairman Leahy and Chairman Jeffords for holding this important and timely hearing on New Source Review. I would also like to welcome New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer to the hearing. Attorney General Spitzer has been leading the charge against power plants that do not comply with New Source Review. Our offices have worked together very closely on this issue and I appreciate him testifying today.
It is a challenge to imagine a more aggressive attack on our clean air protections or a more blatant disregard for the health of our citizens and our environment than the announcement EPA Administrator Whitman made on June 13 to effectively gut the Clean Air Act's New Source Review program.
I know that many of my colleagues have already spoken about the ill effects these proposed changes will have on our air, waterways and forests. I would just like to take a minute to describe the effects such changes will have on my home state of New York.
Ecosystems throughout New York have already been devastated by acid rain created by pollution from factories in Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and elsewhere. According to the EPA's own databases, the Gavin Plant in Ohio alone emits over one-half the NOx of all power plants in New York combined.
The Adirondacks have endured the worst damage in the nation from acid rain, with over 500 of its lakes now unable to sustain life -- a number which is expected to double over the next 40 years.
The Administration has yet to put forth a comprehensive proposal that would effectively improve air quality in the Northeast, reduce unlawful emissions that produce acid rain and reverse the recent trend of high ozone readings in New York. Instead, we have seen numerous attempts to rollback any progress we have been making in this area.
This latest attempt, which will make it easier for power plants to pollute our air at the expense of our citizens, raises numerous questions. I am particularly concerned about the effects these changes will have on pending enforcement cases and I look forward to having the opportunity to pose some of these questions today.
These cases play a key role protecting the health and lives of tens of millions of people. It is estimated that pollution from the targeted plants shortens the lives of between 5,500 and 9,000 people each year.
I have already sent a letter to Administrator Whitman asking that the EPA immediately review the grave consequences of its New Source Review announcement and retreat from the dangerous path down which we are headed.
We simply cannot allow this assault on our clean air to go unnoticed.