President Bush will make air pollution a top priority in Congress early next year, with "an aggressive push" to build support for his pollution-cutting plan, senior administration...

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WASHINGTON — President Bush will make air pollution a top priority in Congress early next year, with “an aggressive push” to build support for his pollution-cutting plan, senior administration officials said yesterday.

At the same time, the administration will hold off until no later than March on a rule to cut pollution from power plants that would accomplish some of the same ends as Bush’s anti-pollution plan, the officials said.

The White House told the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday of its game plan, which is meant to allow time for Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., sponsor of Bush’s “Clear Skies” initiative, to hold hearings on it in January.

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“The president decided to make a strong push at the start of next year to complete his clean-air and clean-energy agenda,” said EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt, who met with Bush to discuss the strategy earlier last week. Administration officials hope Inhofe can get the bill onto the Senate floor soon.