LCV Ed Fund Pans Bush Energy Plan for Putting Polluters Before Pennsylvanians

Media contacts: Scott Stoermer or Ann Riley at (202) 785-8683

PHILADELPHIA, PA (July 24, 2001) - During a press conference today to highlight clean energy alternatives, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCV Ed Fund) spelled out the Bush energy plan’s failure to recognize the environmental values and energy priorities of Pennsylvanians. The Bush plan places a renewed emphasis on fossil fuel use and production, which already accounts for more than half of Pennsylvania’s energy output. Not coincidentally, more Pennsylvanians die from air pollution-related illnesses than in any other state. Ann Riley, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of the LCV Ed Fund, made the comments during the “America’s Energy Future Tour,” a showcase of cleaner and more efficient energy sources organized by Clear the Air, the Clean Air Council, and the National Environmental Trust.

“The Bush energy plan puts the profits of polluters ahead of the priorities of Pennsylvanians,” said Riley. “Bush’s focus on more coal production will only make Pennsylvania’s air more unhealthy to breath and the Keystone State already leads the nation in deaths caused by dirty power plants. America’s Energy Future Tour shows us the many choices we have to make Pennsylvania’s environment and its economy stronger, instead of the Bush plan’s proposals to make us weaker.”

“Coal is a twentieth century fuel that should play an increasingly small role in meeting America’s energy needs in the twenty-first century,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director of the Clean Air Council. “The answer to U.S. energy needs lies in energy efficiency and clean renewable energy. Having an energy policy that relies on fossil fuel is a giant step backward for the United States.”

Pennsylvania ranks 4th in the nation in coal consumption and 4th in the amount of total emissions that make Pennsylvania’s air the unhealthiest in the country. According to a report released recently by Clear the Air, Pennsylvania leads the nation in mortality, hospitalizations, and asthma attacks from illnesses related to pollution from power plants. The Bush energy plan calls for the construction of 1,300 new power plants (or a new power plant every week) over the next twenty years, increasing the nation’s coal output. The plan also seeks to weaken important clean air standards that have saved the lives of 1,460 Pennsylvanians since 1997. Another primary component of the Bush plan - which adds hundreds more nuclear power plants - raises alarm among Pennsylvanians who have unanswered questions about the safety of nuclear energy that have lingered in the twenty-two years since the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island.

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