You may have to wait awhile to see a Republican-led Congress
wage another broad, "off-the-wall" offensive at pollution control
laws, says Sen. Christopher S. Bond, R-Mo.
After Senate leaders were chosen Tuesday for the new Congress,
Bond joined other Republicans in proclaiming the need for a
moderate course rather than the far-reaching proposals that spelled
trouble for some Republicans in the elections. He called House
legislation last year "off-the-wall" and "disastrous" but noted
that it had been blocked in the Senate.
"I was frustrated that what some Republicans did in the House
was used, I think, very effectively by the White House and
supporters of the Democratic Party to claim that this was an
anti-environmental effort by the Republicans," Bond said.
Bond will be a key player in the new Congress on environmental
issues. He was reappointed Tuesday to the Senate Appropriations
Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee. He is
expected to lead the appropriations panel, which scrutinizes the
Environmental Protection Agency's budget.
Today, Bond is likely to be reappointed chairman of the Small
Business Committee, which examines effects of government
As if to show his moderate approach, Bond asserted that
scientific studies suggested air quality problems that may need new
remedies. But Bond said he and others in Congress would examine
those studies to see whether the EPA's new standards were
warranted. "I know there is a great concern by local governments;
I've already heard from mayors and others who are very much
concerned," Bond said, speaking of emission tests and pollution
control practices that will be required.
The EPA's new rules, proposed last week, would lower limits of
ozone smog permitted in the air and set a new rule for microscopic
impurities from tailpipes and power plants. The rules would take
effect in June but not become enforceable until 2000.
The St. Louis area - which already does not comply with EPA
rules - would be forced to make difficult choices about emission
testing and other new controls that add up to cleaner air.
The looming clean-air fight shattered the quiet surrounding
environmental issues in the aftermath of the election campaigns.
Despite Bond's wait-and-see tone, the Republican national chairman,
Haley Barbour, this week called the EPA plan "a gigantic expansion
of the reach, cost and burden of government on our economy and our
lives. . . . Thus far, it looks as if `Big Government Bill Clinton'
is at the helm."
Until Barbour's remarks, Republican had signaled a moderate
course in the new Congress rather than the aggressive approach of
two years ago. After the GOP took control of the Senate and House
last year, House Republicans tried to cut the EPA budget while
threatening to gut the Endangered Species Act and other protective
Those drives fell short because of wary senators and the
conclusion by House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. …