Well hey, look at that! No sooner do I write a post on the horrible legislative proposal out of Dingell’s Energy Committee than I find out that Pelosi has more or less beat it back.
A memo Dingell sent to the committee today (PDF) says that he and Boucher are removing most of the controversial elements: the CTL subsidies, the weak fuel-economy standards, and perhaps most significantly, the preemption of state (read: California) tailpipe air quality standards. The memo says:
Almost one month ago, we began circulating a series of staff discussion drafts of energy legislation that generated, as we had hoped, considerable debate. Based on two legislative hearings and other very useful responses we received to those drafts, we have decided to proceed with provisions that represent consensus. You will note that a number of the more controversial issues we raised, such as coal-to-liquids, fuel economy standards, a low carbon fuel standard, various mandates, and the role of Federal and State programs, are not included in the set of prints that we will distribute. These issues are important, and we are committed to addressing them and others when we take up comprehensive climate change legislation in the fall. This will also give us the needed time to achieve consensus on these issues if at all possible.
Of course the fight goes on, but for now, put this down as a big win in Pelosi’s column. The last thing the Dems need right now is a huge internecine fight.
Update [2007-6-18 15:11:28 by David Roberts]: Rep. Markey issues a statement on Dingell’s change of heart:
I welcome Chairman Dingell and Chairman Boucher’s decision to back down from several controversial provisions in their draft energy legislation that would have taken our nation in exactly the wrong direction when it comes to energy independence and global warming.
The original discussion draft would have overturned the Supreme Court’s decision on Massachusetts vs. EPA regarding regulation of CO2 emissions from motor vehicle tailpipes. It would have pre-empted California from adopting their own stronger standards, thereby blocking other states from adopting the California standard. It would have put in place weak fuel economy standards for cars and trucks are insufficient in meeting the challenge our nation faces from its increasing dependence on imported oil from the Middle East. And finally, it would have increased emissions of carbon dioxide pollutants by promoting coal-to-liquids fuels.
There was broad opposition to these provisions, from Governors, the Attorneys General, and the environmental and public interest community. Twelve Democratic members of the committee, including me, all opposed the draft, as did Speaker Pelosi. A bill with these provisions in it was clearly not going to become law.
The new version contains several important provisions that I intend to support, such as the energy efficiency provisions, which will strengthen and expand appliance efficiency standards, reform DOE’s management of the program, improve federal building efficiency, and move our nation forward towards adoption of a smart grid that makes use of telecommunications technologies to better manage demand.
I look forward to further debate on this bill. This Congress has an historic opportunity to finally increase the fuel economy of our cars and light trucks, and I intend to continue my efforts to enact such legislation.