Saturday, December 08, 2007

What It's Really All About

Congress is poised to pass an energy bill that will increase CAFE standards over a twelve year period, thereby reducing US dependence on foreign oil, saving consumers billions of dollars, and greatly reducing the tons of pollutants contributing to climate change. Predictably, President Bush has threatened to veto the bill, according to this editorial in today's Sacramento Bee.

First, here's what the bill could accomplish:

With gas at the pump going for well over $3 a gallon, House leaders agreed to raise the average fuel-efficiency standards from 25 miles per gallon today to 35 mpg by 2020, the biggest boost in 32 years.

The new standard would save the country 1.1 billion barrels of oil per day by 2020. That's equivalent to half of the oil the United States imports from the Persian Gulf.

More fuel-efficient automobiles would save consumers an estimated $22 billion by 2020. The legislation would prevent the release of more than 190 million metric tons of global warming pollution, the equivalent of taking 28 million cars and trucks off the road this year.

What could possibly be the downside to such modest gains? Well, apparently the administration and its corporate sponsors discovered that this Congress had no intention to legislatively wipe out a recent US Supreme Court decision.

In a statement issued late this week, the White House made it clear the president was unlikely to sign the energy bill with its tougher fuel economy rules. Among other objections, Bush administration officials complained that the House energy bill "leaves ambiguous the role of the Environmental Protection Agency in regulating fuel economy."

Ambiguity over EPA's role is probably not what bothers the White House.

The bill lacks a provision that would overturn a U.S. Supreme Court decision announced earlier this year affirming EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases emitted from tailpipes. That decision freed 17 states, including California, to regulate auto pollution that contributes to global warming.

The White House was hoping the new energy bill would give car makers what they haven't been able to achieve in court: the ability to stop California and other states from regulating automobile greenhouse gas pollution.
[Emphasis added]

States like California know that the "Clean Air Act" is nothing more than a sham that had the effect of allowing those industries which make their billions off of the systemic production of pollutants to continue profitably. Since the federal government under Bush's reign was doing less than nothing to improve air quality and to slow down carbon emissions, the states felt compelled to do what they could.

Now that one branch of the federal government is trying to rectify the nearly seven years of gross negligence, the corporate sponsors are unhappy and letting their president know about it.

The Senate might not have the votes to override the promised veto this year, but the President has just handed Democrats one more campaign issue.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think you're exactly right about corporations being against this. I've worked with the Auto Alliance and they're actually behind this bill and the new CAFE standards. They've worked with Congress on these new CAFE standards and I think that its important to note that sort of auto industry support.

12:54 PM  

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