Northeast states con EPA to shift blame for
failure to control air pollution

Letter to the Editor
Copyright 1998 USA Today
January 22, 1998

The Northeast states and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are in the pro- cess of perpetrating an economic and environmental fraud of such paramount proportions that I feel compelled to respond.

In 1970. Congress passed the Clean Air Act, which required states to reduce air pollution emissions. West Virginia set the wheels of compliance in motion. Manufacturers and state utilities spent millions of dollars to obey the law. Today, with rare exception, we are in full attainment.

However, it appears that our neighbors to the North have been less than vigilant in their efforts to comply.

Instead of buckling under and taking responsibility for their own air pollution, the Northeastern states are clouding the issue by blaming states like West Virginia for their refusal to meet attainment.

It defies logic - and good science - to believe that our air emissions are responsible for the continued air-pollution problems of the Northeastern states.

West Virginia has fewer industries and utilities, and we do not have the choked highways and, traffic-jam pollution that goes along with living in the Northeast.

It is shameful to suggest that the solution to the Northeast air-pollution problems will be eliminated if states like West Virginia are forced to reduce their emissions even more.

As president of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, I believe the con job our neighbors to the Northeast are trying to pull should be stopped.

If allowed to succeed, these unreasonable demands will cost West Virginia manufacturers and utility companies millions more to reduce emissions beyond current compliance levels.

It will cost us thousands of jobs and will drive up our energy and utility costs to the point that we will lose our competitive economic development.

The idea that the EPA would consider supporting this preposterous and cavalier position is totally unacceptable. West Virginia should not be expected to protect the Northeast states in their campaign to dodge compliance.

Our companies don't mind doing their part to restore the environment, We just don't believe we should be expected to pay for the Northeast's cleanup, too.

Karen S. Price, president, West Virginia Manufacturers Association, Charleston, W.Va.

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