August was a particularly hard month for the environment. While Congress was in recess, and people around the country were enjoying their summer vacations, the Bush Administration was busy dismantling our nation’s environmental laws. Last week, the Bush Administration released its devastating final New Source Review rule that will gut clean air laws -- allowing power plants to avoid installing simple anti-pollution equipment when they make major changes to their plants. This departure from the Clean Air Act will prolong the life of out-of-date power plants that belch out pollution, not only contributing to growing rates of premature death and childhood asthma, but also to the unsightly haze that taints the beauty of our magnificent parks and scenic vistas. This rule is the biggest rollback of the Clean Air Act in history. According to the American Lung Association, the Harvard School of Public Heath and others, the rule will mean: at least 20,000 additional premature deaths per year; at least 400,000 additional asthma attacks per year; and at least 12,000 additional cases of chronic bronchitis per year. According to EPA’s own valuation methodology, the economic cost to the American public associated with these negative health effects is at least $154 billion dollars each year. I was proud to work with the first President Bush on the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990. He called our work, “a new chapter in our environmental history, and a new era for clean air.” That was an example of what we could do – Democrats, Republicans and Independents together -- when we made a shared commitment to our environmental future. Now this President Bush insists on moving us backward, undoing his father’s legacy and weakening our nation’s environmental laws. Unfortunately, this announcement was not an isolated incident. The Bush Administration has continued its pattern of sacrificing our environment to the demands of special interests. Also last week they overturned an interpretation of the Clean Air Act on greenhouse gases. They said the law doesn’t give them the authority to regulate emissions into the air that are potentially harmful. Most everybody in the world but the Bush Administration thinks that global warming is potentially harmful. I met with Governor Leavitt yesterday, and he seems like a fine man, and we had a good frank discussion. But he will face some tough questions when he comes before the EPW Committee for his confirmation hearing. He will have to explain to the Committee and the American public why this Administration is determined to weaken our environmental laws. That is going to be a tough question to answer. T.S. Elliot once said April is the cruelest month, but as far as the environment is concerned, August was the most brutal in my memory. Thank you.