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Bush Reverses Position on Power Plant Carbon Dioxide Cuts


In a letter sent to four Senate Republicans on March 13, President Bush reversed a campaign pledge to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. During the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush surprised many by taking a stronger position on the issue than his principal opponent, Vice President Al Gore.

Environmentalists charged that Bush backed down after encountering strong opposition from power utilities and congressional Republicans. In announcing the new administration position, Bush overrode recent statements by EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who had said repeatedly that Bush would stand by his campaign pledge.

"If you attempt to regulate carbon dioxide, you will regulate us into a permanent energy crisis in this country," Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) told the Washington Post. "And I think they understand that at the White House now."

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)  countered that the administration had changed course because "special interests are dictating the president's environmental policies."

- 3/13/01

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