WASHINGTON D.C. -- The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee today rejected S. 131, legislation supported by President Bush to relax the Clean Air Act on a bipartisan vote of 9 to 9. U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords, I -- Vt., the ranking member of the EPW Committee, expressed hope that the Senate would now begin a bipartisan process for strengthening the Clean Air Act. Jeffords the ranking member of the EPW Committee said, "We must strive to build upon the success of the Clean Air Act, not gut it." The Bush Administration's corporate air pollution bill stops enforcement of the Clean Air Act, allows the oldest dirtiest power plants to increase pollution without installing anti-pollution technology and gives power plants an extra 10 years to continue to avoid reducing mercury pollution. Jeffords continued, "This bill allows giant corporate utilities to avoid compliance and stops the enforcement of our existing clean air laws. The big utilities are essentially given ten extra years to pollute. In addition, the measure exempts thousands of sources from the requirements to control hazardous air pollutants that cause cancer and birth defects." Jeffords and 18 bipartisan cosponsors have introduced the Clean Power Act, which would set stronger limits for nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury, as well as mandatory controls on carbon dioxide emissions.