conservation is unamerican

As long as I’ve already set the precedent of stealing large blocks of text from Think Progress tonight, and since I still have half a glass of wine, here’s a little something more… This has to do with a clause buried deep within the new Bush federal fuel efficiency bill that makes it illegal for states to enact legislation more aggressive than the federal government. Here’s how the folks at Think Progress explain it:

With the Bush administration asleep at the wheel, states have been forced to take the lead in combating global warming. Last year California adopted rules which “will require a 30 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions from cars and light trucks by 2016, a target that will most likely be met by big increases in fuel efficiency.”

The approach is gaining popularity. The New York Times reported last Sunday:

“The Bush administration hates the California plan, and industry has challenged it in court. But George Pataki of New York and other Eastern governors have pledged to emulate it — which means the states may end up carrying a ball that Congress dropped. That would not be a bad thing at all.”

Yesterday, the Bush administration released new federal fuel efficiency standards. (Not surprisingly, the standards will do little to increase fuel efficiency and may actually encourage automakers to produce bigger, more inefficient vehicles.)

Buried on page 150 of the draft rule is a provision that would totally undermine state efforts to curb CO2 emissions:

“[A] state may not impose a legal requirement relating to fuel economy, whether by statute, regulation or otherwise, that conflicts with this rule. A state law that seeks to reduce motor vehicle carbon dioxide emissions is both expressly and impliedly preempted.”

In other words, no state can have a fuel efficiency rule any different than the federal government. So much for state’s rights.

So, once again the Republicans have proven themselves to be the party of state’s rights… until something doesn’t go their way.

Just so we’re clear on this, individual states are coming forward and taking action to conserve resources and cut our dependence on foreign oil, thus increasing our security, and instead of being praised for their sacrifice, they’re being told that what they’re doing is illegal.

If you feel as strongly about this as I do, you can send a letter to the presidents of the automotive companies, who are the ones pushing Bush for this legislation, and let them know how you feel. An on-line form has been set up by the folks at Environmental Defense.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted August 25, 2005 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    I thought I could count on the Republicans for State’s Rights issues. I say we secede and legalize gambling, prostitution, and marijuana.

  2. Tony Buttons
    Posted August 26, 2005 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    You missed this sub-clause:

    “All drivers of biodiesel vehicles will be shot in the head seven times.”

  3. Mike Davis
    Posted August 26, 2005 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    This is sickening. As far as I can tell it is another completely indefensible position yet the political opposition to this is limp. The problem behind this is that voters are too entrenched.

    Americans treat their politics like college football; they loyally support their “team” at all costs until death. Right or wrong gets thrown out the window and there is no switching of sides on different issues. The heart of this problem is the two-party state. I firmly believe that a one or three party state is better than a two party state, because at least then you deal with individual issues instead of lumping them together in some kind of two product choice.

    Republicans who want more stringent fuel efficiency standards aren’t willing to “cross the aisle” to get them, because then they’d give up other things they value which might be more important to them. Instead of being able to act now we sit here in a political quagmire and wait for the time when the tides will turn and Democrats are elected. It’s sad.

    My advice is if you want to have a better democracy, support a third party candidate, even if you disagree with them. It’s better for your country tomorrow.

  4. chris
    Posted August 26, 2005 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    OK, that is the MOST unRepublican thing I have ever read. It is balls to the wall federalism at its best. It is more flip flop than W’s platform for his first campaign where he stated he would be anti-international interventions.

    And Mark, seriously, are you Tony?

  5. Posted August 27, 2005 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    You’d think that it wouldn’t take much to encourage Americans to drive smaller cars–SUVs are “out”, hybrid technology is getting cheaper every day, and gas is at an all-time high. I didn’t think it was possible to mess this up, but Bush has managed to do it.

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