Speaker Pelosi Should Remove the Real Energy Roadblocks: Reps. Dingell and Boucher

As temperatures rise and the public continues to wait for an energy bill that addresses the growing crisis over global warming, Speaker Pelosi has found herself in a pitched battle, not with the party on the other side of the aisle, but, oddly enough, with the House’s most senior Democrat. As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) is one of the most powerful members of the House, and also the man the Speaker has entrusted with her promise to pass strong global warming legislation. While Pelosi and Dingell may paper over their feud, the truth of the matter is that one has promised the American people a new energy future, and the other promised to let the Detroit auto industry off the hook.

Having put global warming and energy at the top of the agenda and created the first committee focused solely on global warming, the Speaker now finds herself in the unenviable position of having her legislative agenda in the hands of two men whose ties to the fossil fuel industry run deep.

In addition to throwing billions of new taxpayers dollars at the coal industry, Reps. Dingell and Boucher’s (D-Va.) proposal would repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority, granted by the Clean Air Act, to regulate emissions from vehicles. To make matters worse, their proposal would substantially limit the agency’s authority to demand cleaner fuels by legislatively overturning the Supreme Court ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA and block at least 12 states from moving forward with adopted clean car standards that limit emissions from vehicles. It has become clear that Reps. Dingell and Boucher are incapable of delivering on the Speaker’s global warming promise.

This sets up a battle between the old guard and the vanguard within the Democratic Party. Americans gave the Democrats control of Congress to put an end to business as usual in Washington, and create a new beginning. Now, Congressional approval levels are near all time lows, and Americans are clearly not happy with where the 110th Congress is heading. The American people are desperate for leadership that can deliver on promises made, and can make progress on the important issues facing our country. In order to fulfill her promise and move her agenda and the Congress forward, Speaker Pelosi needs committee chairs that will work with her, not against her. The time has come for the Speaker to dismiss Reps. Dingell and Boucher from the Chairmanships. It is clear that they stand in the way of her promise to the American people and her vision for global warming solutions and energy independence.