Monday, June 04, 2007

Boucher launches attack on states' rights & global warming efforts in his new energy plan, which would help car companies

It was a typical Friday maneuver – except this time it was done by an industry-friendly Democrat rather than by the Bush administration.

On Friday, Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), chairman of the House subcommittee on energy and air quality, released “discussion draft” legislation that looks as if it could have written in the boardroom of General Motors.

The bill notes that “The Administrator [of EPA] shall not grant states the necessary Clean Air Act waiver to exceed federal motor vehicle pollution standards if “such standards are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

In other words, this is a blatant and direct assault on the efforts by California and other states to adopt greenhouse gas standards for motor vehicles.

Boucher is best known in this Congress for receiving big campaign contributions from coal mining companies and coal-burning electric power companies such as American Electric Power and Southern Company. (We can show you where to read the finance forms if you need that.) In return he has sidelined quick efforts to deal with global warming emissions from coal burning and is promoting the regressive idea of converting coal to liquid fuel.

Now it looks as if Boucher has decided to carry the motor oil of the car companies as well. At the very least, it is a little surprising to see such an attack on states’ rights.

One wonders why. There are no records of Boucher’s receiving any contributions this year from GM (though he has received a little money from DaimlerChrysler).

But perhaps he is working as an agent for Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the full House Energy and Commerce Committee and a well-known auto industry supporter. Dingell is noted for getting other Democrats to act as proxies for his interests in key battles. (Some of us remember, for example, how ex-Rep. Ron Klink fronted for him a decade ago in a failed effort to overturn EPA air standards for smog.)

A hearing is scheduled on the Boucher draft Thursday. Expect opposition from members of Congress from California and the 11 other states that have adopted the California vehicle standards.

No comments: