This is fantastic news – and another sign that the stars are aligning for some serious sustainability-oriented policy changes to take place in Washington…
Automakers’ closest friend kicked out of chairmanship
It’s the end of an era — Michigan Democrat John Dingell has been officially toppled from his post as head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
In a secret ballot, Dingell was voted out by the Democrats 137-122 and replaced with Rep. Henry Waxman, a notable critic and aggressive investigator of the Bush Administration as chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
The vote is a victory for environmentalists… Dingell was…a consistent (opponent) of tighter fuel efficiency [CAFE] standards for automobiles.
In effect, Dingell was probably the biggest Democratic opponent to efforts to tighten fuel economy standards as a means of combating now accepted global warming concerns.
Waxman is younger than the long-serving Dingell, who is near to becoming the longest serving House member in history. Waxman is 69; Dingell is 82.
“The ascension of Waxman, a wily environmentalist, recasts a committee that Dingell has chaired since 1981 with an eye toward protecting the domestic auto industry in his native Michigan,” Politico noted Thursday. “The Energy and Commerce Committee has principal jurisdiction over many of President-elect Barack Obama’s top legislative priorities, including energy, the environment and health care.”
A momentous policy opportunity for advancing sustainability during the next administration continues to take shape. Waxman’s staunch support for climate change and clean energy solutions is likely to have significant positive implications for the clean transport sector and emerging green economy as a whole…
Hopefully, Waxman’s replacement of Dingell ends up helping get the U.S. auto industry out of its rut and on track to make some serious green — by producing the types of efficient, clean vehicles we need to solve our economic, oil addiction, and climate change problems.