dingell and the gas tax

Over the past few months, we’ve been talking quite a bit about Congressman John Dingell, the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and what it might take for him to look beyond the immediate interests of the Big 3, and start to address energy policy aggressively, mandating better fuel efficiency from American automobiles, increasing the funding for alternatives, etc. As you might recall, I wrote to him about an idea that I had for how we might be able to pitch a gas tax to the American people in a somewhat palatable way, and his office promptly replied… with a completely irrelevant form letter on the war in Iraq. Well, to their credit, some time after our exchange of notes, a comment was left here by someone claiming to be a District Administrator in the Dingell office. (I have no reason to believe he isn’t, but I suppose it’s possible.) He wanted to let me know the following:

…You should however be receiving a more detailed response to your letter, with Mr. Dingell’s position and legislative record on gas tax legislation, in the next few weeks from our Washington, DC office. In general though, Mr. Dingell has been supportive of increasing the tax on gasoline…

I haven’t done a great deal of research yet, but there is evidence of the Congressman having supported gas taxes in the past, so I suppose there’s at least some reason to remain optimistic that he could do the right thing and institute a significant tax that would decrease consumption, spur technological breakthroughs, and channel money into alternative energy research. That “Washington Post” article really had me doubting whether he was willing and capable of driving through any significant policy initiatives, but I suppose there’s always a chance. And I suspect that it doesn’t hurt that Nancy Pelosi is threatening to move in on his legislative turf. I suspect that will light a fire under his ass. Hopefully, something will come of it. (If you’d like to contribute a few flames of your own to his ass fire, you can send Dingell an email here.)

I’m looking forward to getting whatever his office sends on the subject of a gas tax, and I’ll be sure to share anything I receive here.

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6 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    That is pretty cool that someone from Congressman Dingell’s office contacted you via the blog.

    – Steve

  2. trusty getto
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Cool is one interpretation.

    Another is that the surveillance software that crawls the net appears to work perfectly.

  3. donofri2
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the comments Mark. I believe we have met on a number of occasions when I covered Washtenaw as the Congressman’s community rep.

    Some additinoal info:
    If you are looking for an indication of what Mr. Dingell may do on Alternative Energy you may want to explore the Energy and Commerce Committee Website: http://www.house.gov/commerce where you will find information on a bill focusing on Energy Independence that Congressman Dingell introduced with Congressman Hoyer in the 109th Congress called the PROGRESS Act. The bill has 5 major components:

    * Establishing a National Energy Security Commission that would bring together government, industry and academic leaders to develop national goals that respect regional energy solutions and develop recommendations that Congress would have to act upon under expedited rules.
    * Establishing a New Manhattan Center for High Efficiency Vehicles that would create an advanced vehicle efficiency consortium and commit a minimum of $500 million a year for ten years to federal alternative fuels and vehicle technology programs in the federal government.
    * Establishing a National Biofuels Infrastructure Development Program that would reimburse private sector partners to share the costs of investing in the wholesale and retail biofuels pumps, tanks, and other related distribution equipment.
    * Promoting Transit Use & Developing a Rail Infrastructure Program that would create a stimulus package of infrastructure investment that upgrades the pipeline for biofuels – the freight rail system – in order to get an affordable and reliable supply of biofuels to market.
    * Ensuring Federal Government Leadership in the Use of the Alternatives to Oil by increasing the use of alternative fuels in federal and state fleets, developing biofuel plants in every region of the country, and speeding development of standards that are needed to promote alternative fuels use.

    Hope this helps clarify his positions.

    Also, for more on Mr. Dingell’s work and check out:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dingell
    and
    http://www.house.gov/dingell

    Best,
    Jeff Donofrio
    District Administrator

  4. murph
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Cool Point #2: that wikipedia is provided as a reference…

  5. ol' e cross
    Posted January 31, 2007 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    If you want to pitch your idea in person, here’s something from the Corner Brewery:

    “Feb 17 – Brunch with Congressman Dingell – Arbor Brewing Company Pub & Eatery – The Dean of the House of Representatives, Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and our own Representative to Congress in the 15th district will be at Arbor Brewing Company Feb 17th flipping pancakes and chatting with constituents at the 2nd Annual U of M College Dems Pancake Breakfast. Event is open to all. Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for the rest of us work-a-day schmucks. All proceeds benefit the College Dems. 10-12. Cash bar available (we make a mean spicy bloody mary).”

  6. mark
    Posted February 2, 2007 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    Yeah, it’s a bit rich for my blood… I guess I could stand outside with a sandwich board though. I’m sure I’d hit it off with the other protestors.

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