Alexander Says Strong National Clean Air Standards Good for Tennessee Economy

Says Upcoming EPA Regulations on Local Communities Could Hurt Businesses Like Volkswagen, Send Jobs Overseas

Posted on March 3, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies, of which he is the Ranking Member, that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be careful that its upcoming regulations to tighten local ambient air quality standards, such as those for ozone, could punish Tennessee communities for pollution from other states.   

“I want to make sure we don’t get the cart before the horse here,” Alexander told EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.  “I’m working hard for stronger national emission control standards, but if you come in with unrealistic local standards, the effect will be to send businesses like Volkswagen in Tennessee offshore with its suppliers, and that will put jobs where we don’t want them. Communities in Tennessee are doing all they can locally to clean up the air, but it will take strong national emissions controls on coal plants for us to be able to meet your upcoming stricter standards.”  

Alexander pointed out much of the pollution in Tennessee blows in from other states and that imposing local standards in Tennessee won’t affect the pollution the wind carries over from smokestacks in other states.  Because many businesses have to get clean air permits to operate their facilities, if new regulations impose local standards that are unfeasible, businesses will just locate elsewhere, taking jobs with them. 

Alexander, a long supporter of clean air standards, recently joined Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) and a bipartisan group of 9 other Senators to introduce S. 2995, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 2010, that would cut mercury emissions across the United States by 90 percent from coal-fired power plants and tighten national limits on emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX).


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