Aug 1 2007
06:02 pm

You may recall our recent discussion of HR1506, the Markey-Platts bill that would increase average fuel efficiency standards to 35MPG in ten years.

Republicans are apparently too beholden to the energy cartels to even consider such a modest step (it ought to be 50MPG in five years).

Rep. Duncan's office responds to our communication re. the bill with a form letter position paper (PDF copy attached):

I agree we need to protect our environment, however, there have also been some unintended consequences resulting from these standards. In fact, according to data published in 1991 by the Office of Technology Assessment, "A 40 percent increase in fuel economy standards would reduce greenhouse emissions by only about 0.5 percent, even under the most optimistic assumptions."

This is due in part to the fact that cars and light trucks subject to fuel economy standards make up only 1.5 per-cent of all global man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

Support for increasing CAFE standards for environmental reasons seems to be based more on rhetoric and a desire to increase federal regulation than sound scientific efforts to reduce pollution.

So many distortions, so little time.

Start with "cars and light trucks subject to fuel economy standards." There's a giant loophole you can drive a Hummer through for Big Manly Pickups and SUVs built on "light truck" frames which are subject to lower CAFE standards (which is why there are so many SUVs and Minivans on the road). HR1506 would apply to all vehicles up to 10,000 pounds.

Further, 1.5 percent of global emissions is a pretty huge number, if you think about it in relative terms of encompassing only US cars and light trucks mostly used for personal transportation. But at least Rep. Duncan admits there is such a thing as greenhouse gas emissions, and concedes that some are man-made.

But what about all the other economic and environmental and foreign policy benefits of reducing consumption, reducing pollution, and reducing dependence on foreign oil? Are these the "unintended consequences" Rep. Duncan wishes to avoid?

bizgrrl's picture

reducing dependence on

reducing dependence on foreign oil?

A key element, not to be forgotten.

Brian Hornback's picture

Do You

give Congressman Duncan any credit for voting in the affirmative for the Clean Air Act Ammendments in 1990? or Do you just like to bash Republicans? The answers could be yes to both questions.

Have Great Evening.

R. Neal's picture

I would give him more credit

I would give him more credit if he held TVA to it, and worked in Congress to uphold the new source review provisions that Bush rolled back.

R. Neal's picture

P.S. I voted for Duncan

P.S. I voted for Duncan several times. But thanks for reminding me why I won't vote for him again. Nice work for the party there, my good friend.

Brian Hornback's picture

Well, I am happy

to help a Democrat find his way. so, You are welcome.

BTW, can you tell me when Tennessee's Second Congressional District has last been represented by a Democrat?

Rachel's picture

BTW, can you tell me when

BTW, can you tell me when Tennessee's Second Congressional District has last been represented by a Democrat?

Please stay on topic.

Brian Hornback's picture

Well, now Rachel

I beilieved it was on topic when Randy said he wasn't going to vote for Duncan again and a reference to voting against a Republican.

However, if it wasn't on topic, I apologize and beg for forgiveness.

Have a great evening.

Factchecker's picture

Like so many Repugs, Duncan

Like so many Repugs, Duncan claims that of course, there needs to be a "balance" between legislation benefiting the environment and that benefiting the "economy" (as if it's an either/or, and it often isn't). Thing is, I've never seen an either/or type bill where he "balanced" any of his pro-business votes with even one vote for the environment. Not one. Sure, maybe he occasionally throws a token environmental bone, but not if it's not already a slam dunk or if it conflicts with big business. I'd love someone else to fact-check this for us. Maybe someone on Brian's staff could help.

Besides, when are Repugs going to learn that there is all the job and technology growth to be gained by investing in clean technologies of tomorrow, not the dirty, low tech plundering of the past? Fossil fuels and nuclear are for dying economies that keep falling behind. Only the fat cats can keep making money off them.

And what has Jimmy done for the polluted Smokies and the endless maintenance backlog of lost budget funds? Lifting a finger while the GOP had control of Congress would have been a good time to support his constituents' region.

No wonder Duncan gets near zero grades from environmental organizations.

< / rant>

I wonder when he decided that climate change and man-made CO2 contributions to it are even real, and what convinced him?

Have a wonderful evening.

WhitesCreek's picture

I think Duncan is weaseling

He quotes a report from 1991 and then refers to vehicles subject to the cafe standards. One of the problems with the way the standards are applied is that "light trucks" don't fall under the more stringent requirements. This is why I've switched from my beloved Subaru's to my 34 mpg Matrix. I'd like to do a bit of research on that. (Can I get a copy of Duncan's letter? update: Duh...I see the attachment, sorry)

Anyway, Duncan may be one of the more lucid republicans but he's still an ideologue and quite destructive in his overall environmental votes.

Thanks for your letter, Randy. sounds like folks need to send him another one.


Virgil Proudfoot's picture

Duncan is like a broken clock

He's right exactly twice a day: first, on the Iraq "war" in the AM and, second, on the Iraq "war" in the PM. Otherwise, his hands don't really move (except to pocket bribes [aka "campaign contributions"] from bidness interests).

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