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Federal energy bill takes big step forward with first fuel economy increases in decades

Michigan Congressman John Dingell a key player in historic pact
The first increases in federal automotive fuel economy standards in more than three decades passed Congress in December, drawing cheers from leading Michigan environmental groups, including the Michigan Environmental Council.

The landmark legislation increases automotive fuel economy by 40% as part of a national energy bill. It makes significant progress on global warming pollution reduction, takes a major step forward for energy security, and includes key provisions to stimulate and protect jobs in Michigan's automotive and manufacturing sectors.

U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell, from Dearborn, was instrumental in crafting the pact.

"The Dingell-Pelosi fuel economy agreement ensures that the next generation of vehicles will be built in Michigan, the state that put the nation on wheels and which is now poised to lead the automotive sector into a new era," said Charles Griffith, clean car director for the Ecology Center.
Lana Pollack, president of the Michigan Environmental Council, said the achievement was a triumph of policy and of politics.

"We're satisfied that this agreement will bring substantial environmental benefits while protecting Michigan’s automotive industry,” said Pollack. “Pulling it off was a massive political challenge. We’re fortunate that John Dingell’s respect for conservation and environmental stewardship is as strong as his loyalty to Michigan’s auto industry.”

The achievement was not without casualties. Political compromises forced the elimination of a national renewable energy standard that would have jump-started renewable power ventures and created a new generation of jobs in cutting-edge industries, especially in Michigan’s slumping manufacturing economy.

The federal energy legislation came on the heels of Gov. Jennifer Granholm joining with other midwestern governors on an aggressive energy security and climate stewardship platform. Her action helps position Michigan as a player in the transformation of automotive and energy technologies nationwide. These actions are expected to result in economic stimulus, new jobs and inroads on slowing global warming.
RELATED TOPICS: climate change, green economy
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