Inhofe, Voinovich Co-Sponsor the CAIR Reinstatement Act of 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today joined Senator George Voinovich (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, to introduce legislation in response to the July 11, 2008, decision by the D.C. Circuit Court vacating the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR). The Court’s ruling has far-reaching impacts on the ability of states to protect human health and the environment.
“I am proud to join Senator Voinovich to introduce legislation today that will help restore health benefits of the Clean Air Interstate Rule,” Senator Inhofe said. “We believe the Court’s recent decision could jeopardize the important emission reduction requirements of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide from the power sector that were scheduled to begin as soon as 2009, and now will at best be delayed if not even achieved at all. The CAIR Rule had direct and enormous measurable annual health and welfare benefits as calculated by the EPA, including 17,000 premature deaths avoided by 2015, 22,000 non-fatal heart attacks avoided, 27,000 hospital admissions/ER visits avoided, and 1.7 million work loss days avoided. In total, the benefits were estimated to be over 25 times greater than their costs by the EPA.
“Our legislation simply ensures that these full benefits are realized and that the air continues to get cleaner in the near term and for the future. It reestablishes a much-needed and critical floor for clean air reduction requirements that doesn’t hold any of the public health benefits hostage for political debate or until a future Congress can agree. There is simply no reason that the public health benefits provided by this rule, which was supported by industry, environmental groups, and a majority of states, should be held up by a court decision.”
About the Legislation:
The Clean Air Interstate Rule contains three regulatory programs intended to support the efforts of 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia to meet their obligations to attain the fine particle (PM2.5) and ozone air quality standards. It is the linchpin of EPA’s program to improve air quality and EPA’s most significant action to protect public health and the environment since the passage of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. CAIR was EPA’s response to help states meet their responsibilities under the Act based on their successful experience addressing acid rain in the 1990s.
This legislation seeks to simply reinstate those public health benefits that have now been jeopardized through a full CAIR codification. According to the EPA’s September 5, 2008, Analysis of Potential Quick-Fix Legislative Changes to Address the Court Decision:
Quick reinstatement of full CAIR leads to the most lives saved among the short-term quick legislative fix options between 2009 - 2011.
Options to quickly reinstate Phase I CAIR followed by tighter legislation do not save as many lives as the full CAIR fix until 8 to 20 years from now; that means 6,500 to 41,000 more lives will be lost mostly in the next three to six years.
The longer the time period allowed in a Phase I legislative fix, the greater the health benefits realized; though still well short of what a full CAIR fix would produce.
The enactment of this legislation would in no manner prohibit states from imposing stricter limits. It also does not prohibit Congress or the EPA from revisiting or increasing the reduction level requirements in future years, either by rule or statute. It simply ensures that these full benefits are realized and that the air continues to get cleaner, in the near term and for the future. It reestablishes a much needed and critical floor for clean air reduction requirements that doesn’t hold any of the public health benefits hostage for political debate or until a future Congress can agree.