WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, issued the following statement today in response to the release of a draft Environmental Protection Agency rule on clean air standards: "If this draft rule were to be put into effect, polluters could emit many more tons of cancer-causing air pollutants and heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead, seriously jeopardizing the health of millions of Americans. This rule turns the Clean Air Act topsy-turvy by letting polluters run their controls at half-speed. Once again, it appears that the EPA is looking for ways to make the Clean Air Act more friendly for polluters at the expense of public health. The rationale and ramifications of this rule will be front and center at Mr. Wehrum's nomination hearing this week." The EPW committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday to consider the nomination of William Wehrum to head the EPA's air office. Mr. Wehrum was acting head of the office with this draft rule was written.