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Convention Edition 2003

Fall 2003

President's Message (Maile Bay)
First Saunders Award to Jean Aoki (Mary Anne Raywid)
Ray of Hope for School Governance Change (Mary Anne Raywid)
Initiative and Referendum Forms
Action Needed Now to Support Clean Air (Kay Maxwell)
Busy Year Ahead for Judiciary Study Committee (Jean Aoki)
Thanks for Evaluation Efforts! (Jean Aoki)
Two New Studies Approved at Convention
League of Women Voters of Hawaii Board of Directors 2003-2005
Administration Blows to Education
Hawaii Pro-Choice License Plates
Big Vote of Thanks (Suzanne Meisenzahl & Mary Anne Raywid)

Action Needed Now to Support Clean Air

The Bush Administration unveiled a plan late last year that would substantially weaken public health and environmental protections under the Clean Air Act, while doing nothing about global warming. Dubbed the "Clear Skies" initiative, the pollution plan is now being pushed in Congress by industry lobbyists and Administration officials. Your Senators need to hear from you today urging opposition to efforts to weaken or delay implementation of the Clean Air Act.

For over three decades, the Clean Air Act has worked to cut air emissions at the same time that the nation's economy has grown dramatically. The "Clear Skies" pollution plan, on the other hand, will move the country backward by delaying deadlines to meet the health standards in the Clean Air Act, relaxing pollution reduction requirements for power plants and other major pollution sources, and repealing protections for our national parks.

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is holding hearings on the "Clear Skies" initiative, and as soon as they believe there is political support for undermining the Clean Air Act, Senate leaders will take the legislation to the floor. Constituent pressure is needed now to block the Administration's socalled "Clear Skies" proposal. The LWVUS National Lobby Corps is working the Senate this month on this issue, and needs your support from the grassroots. Please, act today!

Action Needed

  1. Contact your Senators now, by phone and by e-mail, urging them to oppose attempts to weaken or delay implementation of the Clean Air Act. Tell them the League opposes the Administration's "Clear Skies" proposal. Phone calls can be made through the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121. E-mail can be sent through the Get Involved Section on the LWVUS website at

  2. While priority is on the Senate, you may also contact your Representative, who also needs to hear your concerns.

  3. Follow up with a written letter from your League. This debate is likely to extend through the summer, and written correspondence is still an effective way to make your points with your elected representatives. Mail can be sent to your Senators (The Honorable Jane Doe/Dear Senator Doe) at U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C., 20510 or to your Representative (The Honorable Jane Doe/Dear Representative Doe) at U. S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515.

  4. Join with like-minded organizations in your community to take action to protect public health and the environment through support of the Clean Air Act.

  5. Send this e-mail alert to other concerned citizens – your grassroots network, your friends and coworkers. Encourage them to join our e-advocacy efforts at


The Administration's "Clear Skies" legislative initiative would substantially weaken public health and environmental protections under the Clean Air Act. The League of Women Voters urges you to oppose it. Instead, the Clean Air Act should be fully implemented and strengthened to reduce pollution, improve the health of all Americans and stop global warming.


The Clean Air Act has greatly reduced air pollution levels by setting strong standards to significantly reduce pollution emissions from power plants and other industrial sources. For over thirty years, the Clean Air Act has effectively improved public health and protected the environment. The Administration's "Clear Skies" air pollution plan will move the country backward in the following ways:

The plan delays deadlines to meet the health standards in the Clean Air Act while relaxing pollution reduction requirements for power plants and other major pollution sources. Pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury would increase to dangerous levels under the plan, resulting in more harmful air for those most at risk – the elderly, children, pregnant women, and people with asthma.

The New Source Review program, which requires polluting industries to upgrade their facilities with the most up-to-date pollution reduction technologies when major modifications are made, would be gutted. Oil refineries, chemical plants, power plants, factories and other industries can escape modem pollution controls under the "Clear Skies" plan.

Under the plan, critical state authority to protect air quality would be repealed, as would protections for our national parks.

Finally, global warming will worsen. Power plants are the greatest source of carbon dioxide emissions, responsible for 40 percent of C02 emissions in the United States. The "Clear Skies" plan allows C02 pollution to continue to increase and relies on ineffective voluntary approaches to reduce carbon pollution.

As an alternative, Senator Jeffords (R, VT) has introduced S. 366, the Clean Power Act, in the Senate and Representative Waxman (D, CA) and Representative Boehlert (R, NY) have introduced H.R. 2042, the Clean Smokestacks Act in the House. These bills build on the Clean Air Act rather than undermining it. They put new pollution control requirements in place.

On a parallel track, the Administration has proposed a new rule through its rulemaking authority that would gut the New Source Review program. The League of Women Voters of the United States submitted comments in the rulemaking process objecting to the proposed new rule and urging that it be withdrawn. See In addition, most state Leagues joined with the LWVUS and other environmental, civic and public health groups in a letter to the Administrator of EPA urging opposition to the proposed rule.

To read more about the Administration's air pollution plan, visit .

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact

Kay Maxwell

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