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Texas Attorney General Urged to Join Clean Air Lawsuit

Abbott Campaigned Promising to Oppose Bush Administration’s Gutting Of Clean Air Act Program

Environmental Defense’s and Public Citizen’s Texas offices have urged Texas Attorney General Abbott to join nine other states’ attorneys general in their lawsuit against the Bush Administration for its revisions to the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review (NSR) Program. The two organizations made their request in a letter sent to the Attorney General this week.

“Attorney General Abbott’s campaign ads said he would fight for Texans, but he has been silent on this critical issue since taking office. He committed in writing that he opposed the Bush Administration’s proposed changes to the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act, but has failed to act on his campaign promises,” said Jim Marston, Environmental Defense’s regional director in Texas

In response to a questionnaire from Public Citizen during his 2002 campaign, Abbott stated opposition to proposed changes for New Source Review.

Announced in November 2002 and made official on New Year’s Eve, the Bush Administration’s NSR rollback broadly exempts power plants and industrial facilities nationwide from long-standing federal air pollution controls. Health protections under the NSR program historically have required power plants, refineries, steel mills, chemical plants and other large industrial sources that lack modern pollution control systems to update their pollution reduction technology when they take action that significantly increases air pollution.

“New Source Review has proven an effective tool in Texas, most recently bringing Alcoa to the table to reduce its pollution, and Gregg Abbott can show some real leadership by joining this suit,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office. “Inaction will break his campaign promise and show the Attorney General chooses polluters over Texans’ health.”