WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, said today the petition by four environmental groups to the Environmental Protection Agency to stay the agency's formal delisting from the Clean Air Act of electric utility mercury emissions as an airborne toxin is nothing but an attempt to hijack the Bush Administration’s Clean Air Mercury Rule and is designed to delay environmental progress. The rule is the first regulation to reduce mercury from power plants in the United States. “Unfortunately for the American public, these so-called environmental groups would rather litigate clean air rules in court than make clean air progress in Congress,” Senator Inhofe said. “Now they are pushing to delay and obstruct President Bush’s mercury rule, refusing to join in reducing mercury from power plants for the first time in our nation’s history. These groups refused to participate in the debate on Clear Skies legislation, which achieves steeper mercury cuts in the first phase of reductions, imposes 70 percent cuts in the second phase a full two years earlier, and mandates the creation of an EPA regulatory program to address concerns over mercury ‘hot spots.' If they had lent their assistance to that process, perhaps the Democratic Senators would not have obstructed the bill. I still await the opponents of Clear Skies to come to the table with a legislative counteroffer to the multiple proposals Senator Voinovich and I have offered the Committee.”