Lawmakers defend states’ rights, introduce Clear Skies competition

Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) and George Pataki (R-N.Y.), in a letter to a Senate committee that’s convening today to deliberate the Bush administration’s Clear Skies bill, emphasized the importance of protecting state environmental enforcement powers. Both California and New York have put in place environmental regulations stricter than federal standards, which some enviros say may be weakened if Clear Skies is approved. Meanwhile, a bipartisan … no, make that tri-partisan trio of senators — Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) — yesterday introduced a competing, more-strict clean-air bill. The legislation, dubbed the Clean Power Act, would require stringent caps on power-plant emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide beginning in 2010 and a 90 percent cut in mercury emissions by 2009.