Free-Markets to Drive Environmental Cleanup, Not Self-Serving Trial Lawyers

WASHINGTON -President Bush and Congressional leaders this week began to move forward their bold plan to improve clean air standards. The "Clear Skies" initiative builds on strong free market incentives and prevents ambitious trial lawyers from gaming federal courts using the environment.

"Clear Skies" has at its heart a "cap-and-trade" rule which would allow emissions credits to be traded on an open market. Power plants that currently have the dirtiest emissions would have a financial incentive to clean up and benefit from the marketable credits they would receive in return.

"Cap-and-trade opportunities have been a wildly successful innovation in environmental cleanup for two decades," said ATR President Grover Norquist. "The best part is that competition to clear the air takes away chances for opportunistic trial lawyers to make a quick buck for themselves."

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will be holding a hearing on Tuesday, February 2nd on the Clear Skies initiative. Taxpayers hope that the hearing will start to lead to bipartisan support for a bill that will help provide regulatory certainty, reduce emissions, and create an atmosphere to fulfill America\’s energy needs well into the 21st century.

"Recent years\’ blackouts in the Northeast should wake up policymakers that increased energy production is essential to our economy," concluded Norquist. "If cap-and-trade has proven to be a practical improvement to environmental and energy policy, why not expand it?"