WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee said today that a “study” issued today by U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) which claims there is a loophole in S. 131, the Clear Skies Act, allowing increased mercury emissions from power plants is “flat wrong.” “This so-called study, issued by a left-wing political group more interested in partisanship than sound environmental law is not worth the trees cut down to print it,” Senator Inhofe said. “U.S. PIRG claims that a perverse incentive is created by plants trying to get under the pounds threshold – a false claim. The legislation does not allow companies above the 30 pound limit to control themselves into the exemption. If you do not qualify initially for the exemption, you cannot qualify later. The number cannot grow; only shrink if units ever exceed 30 pounds. U.S. PIRG’s claim is flat wrong. “Additionally, the number of units exempted is irrelevant because these units emit extremely small amounts of mercury. To the degree it is relevant; the very goal of the provision is to exempt numerous generation plants from a tremendously expensive statutory requirement when they contribute very little mercury. These are the same units that cannot create hotspots because they emit so little mercury.” The only relevant point is how much mercury does this provision exempt from controls? The answer: if you added up all the mercury from these units that would be reduced from these plants if the provision were eliminated, it would be less than two tons -- which is a very small percentage of the total. S.131 puts society’s resources squarely on emitters, requiring controls on those two-thirds of plants that emit 95% of mercury emissions. In addition, the Clear Skies bill includes provisions that make the legislation much stronger than the rules issued recently by the Administration; moving the dates up for all three pollutants from 2018 to 2016, lowering the mercury number in phase 1, and by creating an EPA regulatory program to eliminate the possibility of mercury “hot spots”. “It is obvious to me that green advocacy groups would rather make false claims than make clean air progress in Congress,” Senator Inhofe concluded. “I still await the opponents of Clear Skies to come to the table with a legislative counter offer to the multiple proposals Senator Voinovich and I have offered the Committee.”