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Great Lakes Article:

Bush to Unveil Global Warming, Pollution Plans
MSNBC Staff and Wire Reports

Under President Bush's new initiatives, coal-fired power plants like this one in Shippingport, Pa., would get incentives to reduce emissions of mercury, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide. Bush to unveil global warming, pollution plans Policies aim for improvements without economic sacrifice.

In his most significant environmental policy announcement to date, President Bush on Thursday will unveil two plans that rely not on mandates but on industry incentives. One is a voluntary plan to reduce emissions tied to global warming; the other involves regulating pollutants from power plants. Environmentalists criticized both plans, with one calling the power plant initiative "a Valentine’s Day Massacre of the Clean Air Act."

THE GLOBAL WARMING plan is the president’s response to the U.N.-backed Kyoto treaty, which the White House has said would devastate an economy already jolted by the Sept. 11 attacks and put "millions of Americans out of work." The second initiative would create a "cap-and-trade" system for power plant emissions of the three worst air pollutants: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. Left out of that mix was a fourth emission - carbon dioxide, one of the key greenhouse gases that many scientists fear are warming Earth. Under the cap-and-trade system, power plants that do not reach emission limits could trade or sell the volume they have left to power plants whose emissions go beyond their limits.  The administration policies reflect a belief that stronger measures would create undue hardship on industry and consumers. Environmentalists counter that the Kyoto pact - with its mandatory cuts - could actually boost the economy by fostering renewable energy industries and that in any case tough measures are called for because the fate of the planet is at stake. The administration can enact some of the policy provisions directly. But others, such as the cap-and-trade proposal, fall under the Clean Air Act and would have to go through Congress, where the Democratic-controlled Senate is likely to block changes. And Senate Environment Committee chairman Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., wants even stricter legislation to reduce power plant pollutants. Like the environmental community, he also wants to add carbon dioxide to the list. Bush is steering clear of regulating power plant output of carbon dioxide, saying it would cause an economic burden. He had promised during his presidential campaign to do so, but reversed himself last year.

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