December 1, 2007

What REAL bipartisanship looks like

Isn't it amazing what negotiation and compromise can do? This bill may not be perfect, (no legislation ever is) but it moves us closer to goals of energy efficiency, works at saving jobs, creates new ones, and at first blush, looks pretty good. We'll see how it all shakes out after it gets to the Senate.

Congressional negotiators reached a deal late Friday on energy legislation that would force American automakers to improve the fuel efficiency of their cars and light trucks by 40 percent by 2020.

[...]

Ms. Pelosi called the compromise on mileage “an historic advancement in our efforts in the Congress to address our energy security and laying strong groundwork for climate legislation next year.” She said that she was confident it would win the backing of environmentalists, auto makers and labor and would clear Congress by the end of this year.

Mr. Dingell, in a statement, called the new mileage standard “aggressive and attainable.”

“After weeks of productive discussion and negotiation, we have achieved consensus on several provisions that provide critical environmental safeguards without jeopardizing American jobs,” he said. Critical to his agreement, he said, were incentives to the American auto industry for producing small cars in the United States and cars that run on a combination of gasoline and ethanol.

[...]

The package nearly fell apart this week when Mr. Dingell insisted on leaving sole authority to regulate automobile mileage standards with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an arm of the Transportation Department. That would have weakened the power of the Environmental Protection Agency and the states, led by California, to regulate auto emissions of carbon dioxide, which are in large measure a function of the amount of fuel burned.

[...]

Mrs. Pelosi and Democratic leaders in the Senate rejected Mr. Dingell’s preemption effort, but softened the blow by agreeing to allow the car companies to retain a credit for vehicles capable of running on a blend of gasoline and ethanol. That credit was set to expire in 2008 but now will begin to decline in 2014 and be eliminated entirely by 2020. (NYT)

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