Thursday, June 07, 2007

Boucher plans legislative writing session Wed June 13 on controversial car/fuel legislation

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) announced this morning that he has scheduled a legislative drafting session next Wednesday, June 13, on his controversial energy legislation that would kneecap California’s greenhouse gas standards and overturn the recent Supreme Court decision that clarified that the EPA has authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.

Boucher, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, defended his auto industry-friendly plan as a response to what he called “regulatory confusion” stemming from the Supreme Court case. [Note to Chairman Boucher: please don’t insult our intelligence! There is no “regulatory confusion.” The car companies know exactly what they would have to do under the California standards, which have already been adopted by 11 other states. The real issue here is that the car companies don’t want to take the innovative steps needed to meet the standards.]

On the car issue, Boucher is generally considered to be fronting for full Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI), who called the draft bill “well balanced” and “a superb starting point.”

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) observed that Democrats campaigned last year on the theme that they weren’t tied to special interests. “This bill does none of that,” he said, noting he would offer a substitute plan.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), chair of the special select global warming committee, noted that state attorneys general who oppose the Boucher special-interest fix, “are not allowed to testify.” (Markey plans his own hearing tomorrow to offer the state officers the chance that Boucher refused to give them.)

“We have an historic debate about to break out,” noted Markey. Indeed.

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