Last spring, Reps. John Dingell (D-MI) and Rick Boucher (D-VA)-- respectively, the chairmen of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and of its Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee-- mounted an unsuccessful effort to preempt state efforts to combat global warming emissions. As the current winter approaches its end (and we approach the first anniversary of Massachusetts v. EPA), the background has changed-- debate over a comprehensive cap-and-trade approach to global warming-- but the goal, sadly, remains the same.
HillHeat has the scoop on the duo's white paper on "Appropriate Roles for Different Levels of Government," and how its language mirrors EPA's justification for denying California's waiver application-- particularly in the area of deeming climate change to be "a global, not local, problem, perhaps providing less need for allowing states to be more stringent." Congressional Quarterly (subscription only) also has reported on the (mostly negative) reactions to the paper's release, and notes that the authors do admit that there might be benefits to a state-friendly approach:
The discussion paper notes that "more stringent state programs could achieve additional levels of reductions, spur technology development, test new programs, or reduce the cost of achieving the level of national reductions sufficient to stabilize global atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations."
If Dingell and Boucher were to succeed in adopting a preemption provision (something that they acknowledge even members of their own committee oppose), it would contrast with the current draft of the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade legislation being hashed out in the Senate, which explicitly praises and incentivizes stricter state-based efforts. In other words, things don't look good for the duo's intentions.
Still, given their dogged willingness to raise this matter again within the context of securing their support for economy-wide climate legislation, and the desire of both members of Congress and an increasing number of industry voices to pass something this year, one can never be certain...