In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress delegated to the Environmental Protection Agency authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. Some members of Congress do not seem too happy with this result. How else to explain draft legislation, noted on the Warming Law Blog, that would limit the EPA's ability to impose greenhouse gas regulations? It also seems that this legislation, drafted by Democrats in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would prevent the EPA from granting California a waiver of preemption for its regulations controlling greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles (see also here). Automakers would not be completely off the hook, however, as the draft legislation would require the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration to tighten federal automobile fuel efficiency standards. Oil companies would also be required to reduce the carbon content of their fuel offerings. "Discussion drafts" and summaries of the legislative proposals are available here
If this legislation seems to be tailored to the needs of the automobile industry, it should be no surprise. Michigan Representative John Dingell, a longtime ally of the auto industry, chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. But industry-friendly emission controls did not begin with him. Back in the 1960s, after California adopted the first-in-the-nation automobile emission controls, and other states appeared ready to follow suit, the automakers ran to Congress asking for uniform federal standards. The automakers feared a patchwork of variable state standards, and also believed that federal rules would be less stringent than those developed in the states, particularly those states without a significant auto industry presence. So began federal regulation of automotive emissions.