Dingell drops controversial provisions — for now

Today’s National Journal reports that House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D., Mich.) and Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D., Va.) have withdrawn provisions in their discussion draft legislation that would have blocked EPA and California, along with other states, from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. By withdrawing the provisions — fiercely opposed by House Speaker Pelosi and several prominent Democrats, including Rep. Henry Waxman and Sen. Barbara Boxer — Dingell and Boucher cleared the way for the committee to mark up energy legislation this week and next.

As I argued in a previous post, the Dingell-Boucher provisions would not only protect the auto industry by keeping the authority to regulate fuel economy in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and out of the hands of EPA and the State of California; it would also forestall, perhaps indefinitely, any EPA rule making to establish national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases — a regulatory Pandora’s Box with potential to bring the U.S. economy to its knees.

Dingell and Boucher have lost their first set to with Pelosi and Waxman, but the two chairmen say “they are committed” to addressing the issues of fuel economy and vehicular greenhouse-gas emissions when the committee takes up “comprehensive climate change legislation in the fall.”