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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press contact: Deron Lovaas, NRDC, 202-289-2384
If you are not a member of the press, please write to us at nrdcinfo@nrdc.org or see our contact page.

HOUSE TRANSPORTATION BILL WEAKENS HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SAFEGUARDS, LIMITS PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN HIGHWAY DECISIONS

Statement by Deron Lovaas, Deputy Director of Smart Growth and Transportation Policy

WASHINGTON (March 10, 2005) -- The transportation bill passed by the House of Representatives today would weaken decades-old safeguards designed to protect our environment, our public health, and our unique historic and natural treasures, according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Specifically, the bill would weaken a provision under the Clean Air Act that helps reduce air pollution caused by car and truck traffic. The bill also would undermine public participation in the decision-making process by changing requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Following is a statement from Deron Lovaas, deputy director of smart growth and transportation policy at NRDC:

"By undermining safeguards we now enjoy under the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, the transportation bill will result in more air pollution from cars, and damage to land, air and water quality from highway construction.

"This bill includes one-size-fits-all requirements to curtail public comment periods and public participation on transportation projects. This would reduce opportunities for citizens to have a voice in making decisions about highway building in their communities.

"The House bill also doesn't include an item in the Senate version, which provides modest funding for storm water management. This funding is needed to help communities near existing highways maintain clean water quality by reducing storm water runoff from roads, which is a significant source of pollution."

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 1 million members and online activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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