KAI RYSSDAL: A couple of weeks ago the Supreme Court gave the Environmental Protection Agency a little talking-to about carbon dioxide. About how it and other greenhouse gases are indeed pollution and so can be regulated. With that decision as backdrop, the president made a stop in the Rose Garden today. He directed his cabinet to come up with rules that would lead to a 20 percent cut in gasoline use in this country within 10 years.
I know what you’re thinking, that you’ve heard about that plan before. You did, in the State of the Union five months ago. Our Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale reports.
JOHN DIMSDALE: The President ordered the Transportation and Agriculture Departments, along with the Environmental Protection Agency to put together a plan to encourage alternatives to gasoline that would also cut tailpipe pollution
PRESIDENT BUSH: This is a complicated legal and technical matter and it’s gonna take time to fully resolve. Yet, it is important to move forward. So I have directed members of my administration to complete the process by the end of 2008. . . .
. . . Just weeks before the end of his term. Administration officials say it takes time to consider the costs and benefits to the environment and the economy, craft regulations and put them out for public comment. Bob Greco is with the American Petroleum Institute.
BOB GRECO: In order to take into account the impact this could have on the nation’s economy, its fuel use and economic growth, it’s important the president hear from all sides on this in a reasoned and deliberative fashion.
Environmentalists, though, accuse the president of bogging the process down in bureaucracy. Darren Lovaas is with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
DARREN LOVAAS: It’s unclear whether the president is actually going to lead this growing parade that’s forming to do something about global warming and energy security, or if he’s going to try to slow it down.
Congress, Lovaas says, is already working on legislation to require more efficient cars and encourage alternative fuels. States, too, are clamoring for federal permission to crack down harder on air pollution.
White House officials counter that the federal government has spent more than any other country on studying climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.