Mr. President, on Monday I addressed the Senate to share my concerns about the environmental effects of the energy conference report. These provisions are a direct reflection of manner in which this bill was developed and the flawed conference process used to produce it. Nearly a hundred sections of this bill are in the jurisdiction of the Environment and Public Works Committee. We were not consulted on any of these provisions, not on any of them. In some cases, such as on the issue of nuclear security, the Environment and Public Works Committee has reported legislation on a bi-partisan basis. The Senate could have taken up the reported bill and passed it. Instead we've stuck the provisions of the original introduced version of the bill in this report. Now my committee will likely have to go back and clean up this language if this bill becomes law. This could have been avoided if the conferees had spoken to my committee in the first place. I am deeply concerned that the conference report before us does not represent the kind of forward-looking balanced energy policy that our Nation needs. As I mentioned earlier this week, it does not go far enough in reducing our reliance on imported oil. It fails to provide appropriate and adequate remedies to prevent a recurrence of the electricity blackout the Northeast experienced this summer or the price crisis that the West experienced three years ago. It fails to address many other important issues, such as a Renewable Portfolio Standard or climate change. It contains waivers of environmental laws. And it provides for unjustified subsidies and pork-barrel programs. But worst of all, this bill seriously harms the environment. On November 7, 2003, I wrote all members of the Senate listing seven of what I believed to be the most troubling environmental provisions of the conference bill. The Environment and Public Works Committee has jurisdiction over all of these items. Six of the seven items outlined in my letter are now in the bill. The bill has not one, but two provisions extending compliance deadlines for federal ozone pollution standards. As mentioned in my letter that I was concerned that the bill would delay new federal mercury emissions standards for utilities. It doesn't do that. Instead, it authorizes $1.5 billion in compliance assistance grants for utilities. Instead, the bill proposes to pay up to fifty percent of the compliance costs. This is poor policy. Mr. President, I would like to review the status of some of the other provisions I described to the Senate in my November 7th letter in more detail. First, I would like to let colleagues know that the Renewable Fuels Provisions in the conference report differ significantly from the provisions that were reported by the Environment and Public Works Committee in the 107th Congress. The provisions that my committee reported were the ones contained in the energy legislation that the Senate passed this year and last year. The conference report will shield companies that make, use, or market the toxic gasoline additive MTBE, which has contaminated groundwater in every state, from federal and state product liability lawsuits. This provision was not included in the Senate-passed bill. This report shifts an estimated $29 billion in cleanup costs from oil and chemical companies to state and local taxpayers. The General Accounting Office estimates that there are at least one hundred and fifty thousand MTBE-contaminated sites nationwide. Vermont has 851 of those sites. Mr. President, though we know MTBE is environmentally harmful, the conference report dramatically extends the time that this product can be added to our gasoline before we pull it off of the market. The Senate bill would have phased out MTBE use over four years. The conference report would ban MTBE as a motor vehicle fuel effective on December 31, 2014, a ten year extension in its use. States could opt out of the ban. In addition, the bill allows the President to overturn the MTBE ban prior to June 30, 2014. Mr. President, besides the MTBE problem, the renewable fuels provisions in this conference report are deeply flawed. The Senate's renewable fuels title was a carefully drafted package which balanced regional interests. Now, it's unbalanced in so many ways. For instance, the Senate put positive environmental provisions into our renewable fuels package. One provision allowed Northeastern states to require reformulated gasoline statewide. We also provided the Environmental Protection Agency with the authority to better regulate fuel additives to prevent future MTBE-like situations. And, we provided states with authority to reduce the emissions from fuels if too much ethanol was being used. These are all gone. Mr. President, my conclusion is that, though I support renewable fuels and ethanol, the House has changed our decent package so that it is harmful to the air and water. I cannot support using the Clean Air Act to damage air quality. A second item from my letter is the treatment of ozone pollution standards in the conference report. The conferees have agreed to include an extension of the deadline for communities the are unable to meet the EPA's 1979 one-hour ozone standard. This is an entirely new provision, it was not considered by either the Senate or the House of Representatives. Changing cities' ozone compliance deadlines under the Clean Air Act doesn't increase our nation's alternative energy supplies. It is not an energy policy measure, it does not offer an energy-related solution to compliance with ozone pollution standards, and does not belong in this bill. In the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, Congress gave the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to put the areas that were still in nonattainment onto specific schedules to improve air quality. This bill exposes the public to dangerous air pollution emissions for far more time than under existing law. Several federal courts have already struck down administrative efforts similar to provisions in the conference report. They declared those efforts a violation of the structure and intent of the Clean Air Act. The change is also unfair to states that have already achieved compliance with the Clean Air Act's national standards. Several cities have been "bumped up." EPA has already asked them to undertake more stringent ozone control efforts. These stronger measures are already required in numerous cities throughout the nation including: Chicago, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Wilmington, Trenton, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. In addition, the conferees have included language that undermines implementation of the agency's more protective eight-hour ozone standard in Western Michigan. This section was also added in conference. It requires EPA to do a two-year demonstration project to address the effect of ozone transport in Southwest Michigan. They can only take actions, according to the report, "other than local controls." This means more delays in cleaner air. During the two years of the study, EPA may not impose any otherwise applicable requirement or sanction to protect public health. Not only is the Clean Air Act substantially amended in this bill, but the Clean Water Act is as well. The conferees have included language similar to provision in the House-passed bill that exempt oil and gas exploration and production activities from the Clean Water Act stormwater program. The Clean Water Act requires permits for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity. The conference report changes the Act to add "construction activities" to the statute's exemption from stormwater pollution control requirements. The scope of the provision is extremely broad. Stormwater runoff typically contains pollutants such as oil and grease, chemicals, nutrients, metals, bacteria, and particulates. According to EPA estimates, this change would exempt at least 30,000 small oil and gas sites from clean water requirements. In addition, every construction site in the oil and gas industry larger than 5 acres are exempt should this language remain in the final energy bill. Some of those have held permits for ten years or more. That is a terrible rollback of current law. So let's review what we're debating today. An energy bill. Actually, it's an energy producers bill. An energy polluters bill. An energy profiteers bill. The three P's. Producers, polluters, profiteers. I'd like to focus briefly on the polluters. A senior member of the conference committee reported that, yes, this bill will not reduce our reliance on polluting sources of energy. But it will secure our energy independence. I agree with the first statement, that with this bill our nation becomes more addicted to energy sources that pollute. In fact, I would say that this energy bill equals pollution. Four words and a numeric symbol say it all here on my chart. Energy bill equals pollution. This bill pollutes our surface and groundwater by exempting oil and gas development from provisions of the Clean Water Act. This bill pollutes our drinking water by allowing MTBE to seep into our public and private drinking water systems. This bill pollutes our land by allowing unlimited development of energy installations on public lands, including parks, wildlife refuges, and sensitive areas. And this bill pollutes our air in so many different ways. Primarily by extending pollution compliance deadlines and continuing to avoid serious progress in cleaning up our air. Pollution. That's what we're voting on in this legislation. A vote for this bill is a vote for greater pollution. Another example of the support for pollution in this bill are the leaking underground storage tanks provisions. This is another issue in the Environment and Public Works Committee's jurisdiction. This is another case where my committee unanimously passed a bill that is stronger than the provisions in this conference report. The conference report's inspection provisions are so lax that a tank last inspected in 1999 may not be reinspected until 2009. The bill my committee passed, and that I supported, would require inspections of all tanks every two years. While the underground tanks program needs reform, the conference report takes a step backward. It allows leaking tanks to remain undetected for years. And, in many cases, it allows the polluter off the hook for cleaning up his own mess. Mr. President, this is wrong. The American people do not want energy security at the expense of the environment. The word "conservation" and the word "conservative" are closely related. I am an independent Senator, but I consider myself to be a careful legislator. I seek to be conservative. I try not to support legislation that exploits our natural resources and pollutes our environment. This bill abandons that approach. It is an aggressive, overreaching measure. I oppose this bill, and other Senators should as well.