Friday, May 2, 2008

Joe Barton and Big Three - irony and hypocrisy alert

The picture of global warming denialist Joe Barton (R-Texas) having to trade in a Tahoe for something greener is indeed poetic justice.

Congress has been bearing down to do more about global warming. But a little-noticed amendment to last year’s energy bill has hit especially close to home. It requires House members who lease vehicles through their office budgets to drive cars that emit low levels of greenhouse gases.

Among the victims: Texas Republican Joe L. Barton, who will probably have to give up his Chevy Tahoe, despite his protests that it is made in his district. “I guarantee you my district is not upset that I’m driving a Chevy Tahoe,” he said.

Actually, Joe, no, as someone who lives next door to your district, I can tell you many people in the district are upset that you won’t try to get anything done about TXI cement plant pollution in Midlothian.
The requirement was sought by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), who figured that if his colleagues were serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and U.S. dependence on foreign oil, they ought to put their foot where their mouth is.

Only about 130 of the House’s 435 members lease; Senate rules prohibit it.

So, Smokey Joe, you can always buy your Tahoe instead, and pay for it yourself, you freeloader.
Under the legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency will determine which vehicles lawmakers will be allowed to lease, a list that’s expected before the end of the year. Senators are not allowed to use their office budgets for long-term vehicle leases. Lawmakers can seek mileage reimbursement when they use their own vehicles for congressional business.

The EPA’s list could include vehicles such as the Ford Escape Hybrid, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid and the Prius, which received high scores on the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide. The guide rates vehicles on their greenhouse gas emissions on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being best.

Oh, indirect hat tip to Blue Girl; Emmanuel Cleaver was the Congressman who pushed for the bill.

Meanwhile, the auto industry spent $70 million on lobbying last year, a 20 percent hike from 2006 and largely focused on efforts to kill a fuel economy increase bill.

And, hypocrisy from Michigan Congressman Joe Knollenberg, who wants a Meanwhile, the auto industry spent $1.2 billion bailout for the Formerly Big Three “U.S.” automakers to meet tougher fuel standards.

For more in politics, philosophy, natural sciences and more, including for my Friday SCATblogging which Blue Girl knows about, see SocraticGadfly.