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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Intimidation Muddies 'Clear Skies' Activity

February 23, 2005

Re "Opponents of 'Clear Skies' Bill Examined," Feb. 19: The Republicans' increasing hubris since the 2004 election is again evident in Sen. James Inhofe's (R-Okla.) direction that two national organizations that oppose President Bush's "clean air" initiative turn over their financial and tax records to the Senate. Inhofe is the leading sponsor of the administration bill, which is deadlocked in the Environment and Public Works Committee. This is a blatant attempt to intimidate critics of this measure but is not the only instance of such tactics. Think back to the House's brazen change in the ethics rules to protect House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and to the untruths unleashed during the recent campaign.

I hope that the new Iraqi government will not model itself after such tactics but will show our representatives in Washington how to govern responsibly.

Irving Aptaker

Pasadena

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When Vice President Cheney and his energy task force meet with a variety of energy lobbyists (including Enron) to draft energy policy, the administration refuses to even disclose whom they met with. Yet when two environmental organizations have the temerity to oppose Bush's Clear Skies Act, Inhofe orders up the tax records of those organizations in a blatant attempt to stifle the opposition. Such intimidation tactics demean the democracy that Inhofe professes to support.

Jeffrey Stewart

Eagle Rock

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Re "Opposite of 'Clear Skies,' " editorial, Feb. 16: The decision of Committee Chairman Inhofe to postpone the markup of the Clear Skies Act until March 2 at the request of committee members shows his (and their) commitment to achieving workable, bipartisan multi-emissions reduction legislation in this session.

In addition to mandating an additional 70% reduction in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-fired power plants (based on 2002 levels), Clear Skies is the first legislation to specifically regulate and reduce mercury emissions at these plants. Inhofe and others on the committee believe we can achieve cleaner air without energy price increases -- by setting achievable emissions reductions goals while allowing flexibility in reaching those targets.

The Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Energy, representing businesses, workers and individual energy consumers, will continue to work with the Senate to ensure passage of this important legislation.

Paul Oakley

Executive Director

Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Energy

Washington

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