John Dingell is the consummate Washington politician, and he is Exhibit A that the environmental debate in Washington is about political – not scientific – ends.
In his conversation with The News editorial board last week, Dingell made clear his objections to his own party’s misguided green agenda even as he touted his own environmental record in shepherding the 1990 Clean Air Act to passage. As head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Dingell is determined to pass GW legislation, but “I got to write a bill, and I got to write something that will work.”
The Clean Air Act, he says, is a prize example of a bill that worked. But “worked” is a relative term. When asked if the act de-acidified northeast lakes (the headliner problem that sold the1990 bill), Dingell frankly admits that he has no idea.
“I haven’t heard much about it,” he goes on. “It’s a long term problem. But now that they have legislation, the environmentalists have moved on to other things.”
In other words, the 1990 act was a success because it satisfied a loud Democratic constituency. And it got them off Congress’s back (“I haven’t heard much about it”). Did it solve the problem? Who cares!
Ditto global warming. No one believes that raising auto mileage standards, or hiking gas taxes 50 cents, or putting in place a cap and trade system to meet Kyoto goals, will address global warming.
But it will scratch the green itch-du-jour. It will increase federal power over the American market. And . . . well, isn’t that the point?