Congress Begins Debate On Bush Clean-Air Bill

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PRESIDENT Bush's clean-air plan begins a long and tortuous journey through Congress this week. The House Energy and Commerce environment subcommittee today will be the first panel to tackle the Bush legislation. The two main combatants are subcommittee chairman Henry Waxman (D) of California, the champion of environmental organizations, and the chairman of the full committee, John Dingell (D) Michigan, who usually expresses concerns of the auto, utility, and other industries.

Among the issues to be debated:

Auto emissions. Should the Bush antipollution requirements for cars be made tougher over objections of the auto industry? Mr. Waxman wants to double the current manufacturers' warranty on antipollution equipment from 50,000 miles to 100,000 miles. And he favors expanding the president's proposal to require use of alternative motor fuels.

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Airborne Toxics. Should the legislation cover more chemicals than the Bush proposal, force companies in all cases to install expensive antipollution equipment, and direct industry to prepare better for accidental spills.

Acid rain. Should customers of power plants in nine states pay a disproportionate share of the cost of reducing the sulfur dioxide emissions by 10 million tons over the next decade?

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