WASHINGTON, DC -- Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-MA), released the following opening statement during today’s legislative hearing on a discussion draft bill concerning alternative fuels, infrastructure, and vehicles.
During the hearing Rep. Markey said, “This draft is one that I cannot support. I do not think it reflects the spirit of what this country wants to see happen as we’re challenged by 60 percent of our oil being imported as opposed to only 27 percent of our oil being imported only 20 years ago. Global warming is now viewed universally as a scientific fact and one that requires urgent action. This bill does not respond to those twin challenges….This bill is cutting the legs out from under the states just as they are starting to sprint forward on carbon pollution regulation and it’s cutting the legs out from under the EPA just as it has begun lacing up its shoes after the decision in Massachusetts vs. EPA.”

Rep. Markey’s statement for the record follows:

Opening Statement of Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA)
House Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee
Legislative Hearing on Discussion Draft Concerning Alternative Fuels, Infrastructure, and Vehicles
Thursday, June 7, 2007

Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling today’s hearing.

Today the Subcommittee is holding a legislative hearing to examine a discussion draft that you circulated late last Friday. To say that this Draft has generated a great deal of discussion, most of it highly critical, is putting it mildly. Speaker Pelosi has indicated that she cannot support it. The Attorneys General of Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont have all come out in opposition to it. Amazingly, none of the Attorneys General have been allowed to testify. State environmental regulators, including the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, and NESCAUM, the Clean Air Association of the Northeastern States are opposed to it. They have not been invited to testify. Environmental organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club are uniformly opposed, and the one environmental group appearing before us today strongly opposes key parts of the bill.

Why is this Discussion Draft so controversial? Because it would:

• Override the landmark Supreme Court decision recently issued in Massachusetts v. EPA by precluding the Environmental Protection Agency from using the Clean Air Act to set greenhouse gas tailpipe and fuel standards other than the anemic versions authorized in this legislation.
• Require EPA to deny California’s waiver request that would allow it and 11 other States -- including Massachusetts -- to use its Clean Air Act authority to set vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards.
• Set a CAFE standard for cars of 36 mpg by 2022 and one for light trucks of 30 miles per gallon by 2025, which corresponds to roughly a 1.7% annual increase. However, the Secretary would also be able to allow for a lower CAFE standard for cars and light trucks by these deadlines if they determined that such lower standard was the maximum feasible. By comparison, the Bush Administration has proposed a 4% annual increase in car and light truck fuel efficiency, which my legislation would also accomplish – ensuring that the fleetwide fuel economy for each manufacturer would average 35 miles per gallon by 2018. The Europeans are also moving forward with mandatory fuel efficiency standards of 43.4 miles by 2012 because they’re concerned that their fleet only averages 35 miles per gallon today!
• Create a flexible fuel vehicle production mandate that, while it reaches a requirement of 85% by 2020, would expand flexible fuel vehicles to include those with engines capable of running on 20% biodiesel. This means that essentially all diesel engines could qualify as flexible fuel since modern diesel engines can run on a 20% biodiesel blend with little or no modification.
• Create an Alternative Fuels standard that would include coal-to-liquids fuels, even though such fuels would emit more than 100% more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than conventional gasoline. While some language is included stating that coal-to-liquids fuels must meet or beats current petroleum fuel CO2 emissions, the draft fails to require that the CO2 be permanently sequestered – and also doesn’t require the consideration of the emissions of methane, an even more powerful greenhouse gas, that occur when coal is mined.
• Establish a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) that has been estimated to result in a decrease in carbon intensity of only 3 to 3½ % by 2020. That is less than half the carbon reductions that are mandated under the bill introduced by the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Inslee).

The Discussion Draft fails to meet the test established by Speaker Pelosi earlier this year that any legislation we approve must both address America’s energy dependency without increasing the threat of global warming, and address the threat of global warming without increasing our energy dependency. This Draft fails to meet the moral obligation that we have as a nation to reduce our dangerous dependency on imported oil from the Middle East by making our cars and trucks much more efficient. This Draft fails to meet the challenge posed by global warming. Unless this Draft is dramatically altered before next Wednesday markup, it does not merit approval by this Subcommittee or by the full House.

June 7, 2007

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer (Markey)