Today, Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA) introduced the America's Climate Security Protection Act, a bipartisan bill establishing a cap-and-trade system for limiting carbon emissions. While reaction to the full bill (not yet available online) has been mixed, we've obtained legislative analysis produced by the Senators' staff that indicates at least one part of it will encourage states currently looking to fight global warming through their own, more stringent measures:
The fifth section makes clear that states are not preempted from enacting and enforcing greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements that are at least as stringent as the federal ones.
HillHeat also notes, in comparison with principles for a worthy bill laid out yesterday by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), that Title III of the bill goes beyond merely waiving preemption and enshrining a federal-state partnership:
- ENCOURAGE STATE LEADERSHIP: The bill explicitly rewards states with stricter standards than the federal cap.
While it remains up for debate whether or not this bill truly fills the vacuum of federal inaction that has motivated state action thus far-- and continues to do so in traditionally less "green" states like Virginia and Utah-- its embrace of the same federalist spirit that has moved the debate to this point is a breath of fresh air, particularly in wake of recent efforts by other members of Congress to preempt state action. The auto companies and the current executive branch continue to insist on litigation and delay, but the Senators involved in crafting this debate have now further highlighted their anachronistic position as one that is rejected by bipartisan majorities.