The Governor has made environmental protection, specifically clean air, a top priority of his Administration. Under the Governor’s leadership, New Jersey has taken a leading role in the legal fight to reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants. Most recently, New Jersey won a landmark lawsuit against Ohio Edison Company for increased emissions from the plant. New Jersey was also successful in its efforts to shut down two coal-fired units at Martins Creek, a Pennsylvania power plant. Presently, the Governor is suing the Bush Administration for its efforts to weaken the Clean Air Act and subject Northeast residents to smog and toxic emissions generated by upwind power plants.
The letter to the Senators is yet another action by Governor McGreevey to protect the quality of New Jersey’s air. Below is the text of the Governor’s letter to Frist, Daschle, Stevens and Byrd:
On behalf of the citizens of the State of New Jersey, I am writing to express my strong opposition to an amendment included in the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies appropriations bill (S.1584, Report No. 108-143). S1584 was approved by the Senate Committee on Appropriations on September 4, 2003 and will soon be coming up for a vote in the full Senate.
This amendment is contrary to federalism and preempts state rights. It would eliminate state authority under the Clean Air Act to clean up air pollution from small to medium sized off-road engines, a major cause of unhealthful air pollutant levels. Specifically, it would preempt state ability to control emissions from all gasoline and diesel off-road engines below 175 horsepower including: lawnmowers, generators, forklifts and construction equipment, as well as certain engines above 175 horsepower.
Air pollution levels in New Jersey, as well as in other states around the country, exceed health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and fine particles in a number of areas. Allowing this provision to become law would result in significant health consequences for the citizens of New Jersey. Following are some of the reasons why:
If legislation relative to small engines is considered to be necessary in the future, it should proceed through appropriate committees charged to oversee the Clean Air Act, such as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. This, not an amendment to an appropriations bill, would provide an opportunity for full and open debate.
As a Governor responsible for the health and welfare of New Jersey citizens, I urge you, our Congressional leadership, not to permit precipitous action on this matter and to make every effort to have this provision removed before final passage. Presented with this additional information, I am sure that the sponsor of the amendment, Senator Bond, as a former Governor himself, would agree that this amendment should be withdrawn for the health and welfare of our citizens.
James E. McGreevey
c: Honorable Tom Daschle, Senate Minority Leader, Honorable Frank Lautenberg, Senator of New Jersey, Honorable Jon Corzine, Senator of New Jersey, Honorable Ted Stevens, Chair, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Honorable Robert Byrd, Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Honorable Christopher Bond, Chair, Senate Subcommittee on VA/HUD-
Alan C. Lloyd, Ph.D., Chairman, CARB
Posted by: Staff at rt23.com
October 14, 2003
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