Former EPA Administrator ignored mercury issue for entire tenure, then punted to the next Administration

WASHINGTON, DC -- Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, blasted an advertising campaign being launched today by, radical environmental organizations, and former Clinton Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Carol Browner, which attack the Bush Administration for its historic proposal to limit mercury emissions from power plants.

“It is time for Carol Browner to ‘move on’. Today’s press conference shows Ms. Browner as the ultimate hypocrite. She had nearly 3,000 days as Administrator and how many mercury regulations on power plants did she issue? Zero! Instead in the last month of the eighth year, she deftly handed a regulatory lemon to the Bush Administration she was unwilling to impose during the Clinton Administration. What a courageous move. I am very proud that President Bush and his EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt have shown leadership where Ms. Browner fumbled and fell,” Sen. Inhofe stated.

The Bush Administration has spent enormous efforts to approach this issue sensibly, and decided to move forward with the first-ever mercury controls on power plants. EPA then conducted one of the agency’s most thorough stakeholder processes ever done on how mercury can be controlled effectively, learning from extensive discussion from environmentalists, state officials and a cross-section of industry. As a result of this and other investigations into the issue, in his first major proposal after taking the helm of EPA, Administrator Leavitt concluded that the Browner approach was both inappropriate and unnecessary and instead proposed a standard that is more flexible, cost effective, and will achieve nearly twice the level of reductions over time by creating a cap and trade system. He simultaneously proposed a less-preferred “alternative” Browner-type approach that achieves the emission control performance of the best performing plants for each type of plant -- but gets far fewer reductions of mercury emissions from power plants overall. This is the largest mercury emission reduction from utilities ever proposed by an American President.

In addition, President Bush has proposed a bold initiative -- Clear Skies, to reduce power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury by 70 percent. This is the largest emission reduction initiative ever announced by an American President.

“Carol Browner is grasping at every chance to rewrite her failures as EPA Administrator and bask in the pathetic admiration of the same organizations she bent over backwards to appease while in office,” Sen. Inhofe said. “Ms. Browner your fifteen minutes have been up for a long time now. It really is time to ‘move on’!”