Jeffords says White House actions endanger environment

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(Host) Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords says the Bush administration has systematically undermined the nation’s environmental laws. Jeffords released a lengthy list of administration actions on Wednesday that he says will cause more pollution and will endanger public health.

He says the White House actions include a proposal to remove 20 million acres of wetlands from protection. He also criticizes an administration plan to allow older power plants to release more air pollution.

(Jeffords) “Right now in America, there are about 30,000 – 30,000 premature deaths each year, related to power plant pollution. Think about this, 2,500 Americans face premature death from power plant pollution each month.”

(Host) Jeffords has a long history of work on environmental issues. While he was Vermont attorney general in 1970, he helped draft Act 250, Vermont’s development review law. Jeffords says he wants to learn more about plans to reform the permit process, which include changes to Act 250.

(Jeffords) “Well, I haven’t seen the changes yet. But I’m seriously concerned that there will be movement back on Act 250, which I know has created problems for some. But I feel overall and presently it is in pretty good shape and I would hate to see it changed. But that’s the Vermont Legislature’s problem, not mine. But I will certainly be watching what the process is.”

(Host) Jeffords was joined at his news conference by environmental leaders in Vermont. Before the Republicans regained control of the Senate in November, Jeffords was the chairman of the Senate Environment Committee.

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