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Rowe To Congress: Allow States to Fight Global Warming
August 3, 2007
On Wednesday, Attorney General Steve Rowe, along with ten state’s attorneys general and the Corporation Counsel for the City of New York sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Members of the House of Representatives strongly urging them to oppose H.R. 2927, an amendment to the energy bill that contains language that could be used to challenge greenhouse gas emission standards already adopted by Maine and thirteen other states.
“This amendment is designed to strip Maine and other states of our authority to regulate greenhouse gases and combat global warming.” Rowe commented. “The Supreme Court has ruled that the States do have this authority (See Massachusetts v. EPA). Unless the sponsors include language to clarify any ambiguity, we will see endless disagreement in Congress and needless future litigation.”
H.R. 2927, known as the Hill-Terry Amendment, provides modest increases in the federal fuel economy standards, requires the Secretary of Transportation to issue fuel economy standards in terms of both “miles per gallon” and “grams per mile of carbon dioxide emissions”. Currently the Department of Transportation is mandated to promote energy efficiency by setting mileage standards.
In contrast, the Environmental Protection Agency is statutorily mandated to set standards for air pollutants from any class of new motor vehicles. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled that the two statutory mandates are “wholly independent”. “The Department of Transportation has never set emissions standards. That job can best be done by the EPA.” Rowe added.
In the letter, the attorneys general urged the House to adopt clarifying language that matches the “explicit savings clause” adopted by the United States Senate in their version of the energy bill. In the Senate report, the explicit savings clause reads, “Nothing in this title shall be construed to conflict with the authority provided by sections 202 and 209 of the Clean Air Act.”
“Mainers are demanding action on climate change. The federal government should join Maine in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, not pass legislation that makes it more difficult for states to act.” said Rowe
Yesterday afternoon it was reported that the sponsors have withdrawn their amendment and that energy efficiency standards will be debated later in the conference committee on the energy bill or this fall when the House is expected to vote on climate change legislation.
“The sponsors made the right decision by withdrawing the amendment, I am hopeful that the House will enact an energy that works to reverse the effects of climate change.” Rowe stated. *****
NEWS RELEASE August 3, 2007 David Loughran, Special Assistant to the Attorney General, (207) 626-8577