“Unless Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders step forward,” the newspaper of record opines, the public is in danger of “winding up in worse shape than they were under the Republicans” on energy security and global warming. That seems a bit much — the conservatives did nothing when they were in charge.
Still, they make a strong case:
Exhibit A is a regressive bill drafted by John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat. For starters, the bill would override the recent Supreme Court decision giving the Environmental Protection Agency authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, a decision that even President Bush has reluctantly embraced. It would also effectively block efforts by California and 11 other states to regulate and reduce greenhouse gases from vehicles at a time when the states are far ahead of the federal government in dealing with climate change.
The bill’s fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks are weaker than the president’s proposals and weaker still than standards the National Academy of Sciences says can be met using off-the-shelf technology. And the bill would open the door to a new generation of coal-to-liquid fuel plants favored by the coal lobby that could double the global warming gases of conventional gasoline.
These echo my criticisms, so I can’t disagree too much with the NYT. The only way for the Democrats to prove the Times wrong will be if the leadership steps up and toughens the bill. This will be at important test of the new congressional leadership.