Welch opposes emission standards bill

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(Host) Congressman Peter Welch says he strongly opposes a plan in Congress to prohibit states from adopting car emission standards that are tougher than those imposed by the federal government.

The proposal is being considered by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce committee as part of the panel’s review of a comprehensive energy bill.

For the past two years, the state of California has been seeking a waiver from the federal government to establish more stringent greenhouse gas emission standards for cars.

Eleven states including Vermont are set to adopt the California rules if the waiver is granted. The waiver was put on hold when the Environmental Protection Agency argued that it didn’t have the authority to restrict carbon dioxide emissions.

But recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the E.P.A. does have jurisdiction in this area.

Welch says efforts to prohibit individual states from imposing tougher standards are misguided:

(Welch) “My fight here is going to be to have the federal government catch up with policies that states like Vermont have been pursuing. The argument against preemption is made by lobbyists. They want to have one stop shopping where they think they can get their way and then impose it on the 50 states. And I strongly oppose that.”

(Host) Welch says it’s critical to allow states to develop creative solutions to national problems:

(Welch) “We’ve got a federal system here. And that whole system was based on the notion that states could be places where we experimented, where we took the lead. And frankly the pressure on the federal government right now to step up on global warming, to do something about health care – that’s the result of leadership that’s come from many of our states including Vermont.”

(Host) Welch says he’s optimistic that the provision can be defeated because a number of congressional leaders from the Northeast are strongly opposed to the plan.

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