Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, delayed a panel vote on the plan for the third time yesterday.
Earlier, four panel members asked for more data. Democrats Max Baucus of Montana, Tom Carper of Delaware, and Barack Obama of Illinois, and Republican Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island sent a letter to Inhofe asking for more data on how the plan compared with competing legislation and current law, saying it was imperative the most up-to-date information was made available to “effectively negotiate a bipartisan compromise”
The four congressmen contend Environmental Protection Agency officials have not been cooperative in providing information on how Clear Skies and other bills will affect air quality.
Among criticisms of the bill, it fails to address carbon dioxide emissions, is weaker than current laws, and removes tools available to regulators to control emissions from power plants. Further, utilities have been given too long a time to install pollution-reduction equipment.
Inhofe, who said about seven issues prevent lawmakers from reaching a deal on Clear Skies, believes a deal can be struck, and rescheduled the vote for March 9. Should the 9-all deadlock on the measure continue, however, the bill would be defeated on a tied vote.