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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Isakson Disappointed Senate Committee Stalls Clean Air Legislation

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) today expressed his disappointment that a key Senate panel failed again to make progress on the Bush Administration's proposal to rewrite the Clean Air Act.

After postponing three previous votes on the "Clear Skies" legislation, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee stalled it again today with a 9-9 vote. Isakson, a member of the committee, voted for the bill.

"In the end, perfection is the enemy of the good," Isakson said. "And I hope at some point in time in the not too distant future, this Committee can find a way to get over its differences, move forward with the Clear Skies legislation as close to proposed as possible and see to it we work on the betterment of the air that our children breath and our country breathes."  

The legislation is especially important to Georgia's environment and economy as about 60 percent of Georgia's population lives in a "non-attainment area." The legislation would allow many of Georgia's counties that are currently classified as "non-attainment" to be designated as "transitional" provided they produce a plan showing they will meet air quality standards by 2015. This designation is key to continued economic growth and development in those counties.

Specifically, the Clear Skies bill would also reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide by 89 percent, nitrogen oxide by 77 percent and mercury by 76 percent.

"Today we had the opportunity to bring to the floor legislation that is better than current law. It ends litigation and achieves significant reductions of 70 percent of three pollutants. It provides a clearer regulatory path that achieves certain and greater pollution reductions than existing law," Isakson said.  "This would have been real progress .  We would have moved the ball forward." 

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