Environment/Nature

Speaker Pelosi blocks bad global warming legislation written by fellow Democrats

In a weird turn of events, House Speaker Pelosi has been forced to put a stop to global warming legislation being worked on by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Apparently, Representatives Rick Boucher (D-Virginia) and John Dingell (D-Michigan) were crafting legislation that would have kept the EPA from granting to the Clean Air Act for states that want to restrict greenhouse gasses more than the federal limits. (See the SFChron story)

Given that Rep. Boucher is considered a good friend to the coal industry and Rep. Dingell represents a Detroit district, their interest in protecting their corporate donors and, frankly, the jobs of people in their districts, is totally understandable. California’s recent anti-global heating legislation is viewed by the energy and transportation industries as a huge problem since California is such a major economy, and since 11 other states use California’s clean air regulations in place of the federal government’s. But global heating is such a major issue that, if any state is willing to make more stringent cuts than the federal government requires, we should be cheering this, not restricting it.

Furthermore, states willing to go out on a limb as a laboratory for global heating solutions should be encouraged to do so. After all, addressing global heating will take a massive committment at the federal, state, local, and individual levels, and permitting California and the other states to develop multiple solutions will only benefit the country over the long run.

Yes, it’s a headache for auto makers, but it’s time to suck it up and deal. There are more important things than profit. And to Reps. Dingell and Boucher, I also say that there are more important things than campaign donations.

5 replies »

  1. Brian,

    Good on you for catching this and discussing it. I couldn’t believe that the Dems would be the party to actively preempt state law on anything, let alone on an issue as important as this one. (Then again, you should see the Dem bills on data security–they all have preemption of state laws in the text as well.)

    Thank God Nancy dropped the hammer on that right quick.

  2. “After all, addressing global heating will take a massive commitment at the federal, state, local, and individual levels, and permitting California and the other states to develop multiple solutions will only benefit the country over the long run.”

    Brian, you’re absolutely right about this. When did it become a bad idea to do more to improve our air and our environment? I’m reminded of Casey Stengel’s observation about the hapless NY Mets of the early ’60’s – “Does anybody here know how to play this game?” That seems to be what we find ourselves asking constantly about our government and its inability to address our problems and needs….

    But I think you stop short here: “Yes, it

  3. I was pointed at this one, but thanks anyway.

    I don’t inherently have a problem with federal laws pre-empting state laws. I believe that there is a time and a place for such things. But there is also a time and a place for permitting state laws to exceed the minimums set by federal standards.

    The big companies with big money want a perfectly level field across the entire country, and I understand that it’s in their interest to have it so. But smaller companies live and die by providing goods and services that live in the niches created out of the differences between federal and state laws (and from state to state as well). So, in some sense, having a flat legal field is a boon for industry and commerce, but so is having a very bumpy field.

    Or, to put it another way, allow me to quote the Ferengi Rules of Aquisition:

    #34: War is good for business.
    #35: Peace is good for business.

  4. Excellent post, Brian. As a Californian, I don’t want the feds (even if they are of the Democratic persuasion) deciding we left coasters shouldn’t be allowed to clean up our environment as much as we want to. If American car companies decide they can’t sell to California specifications, perhaps they should just abandon the market

  5. Robert, and if the big companies can’t sell to spec, then someone else will step in to sell cars, be they foreign auto makers or people like Tesla Motors (doing the plug-in electric roadster that goes 0-60 mph in 4 seconds).

    Every time a law changes, someone creative has a chance to make money (legally) off the changes, even if someone else runs the risk of getting hurt in the process.

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