An 80-year-old Democrat from Michigan, John Dingell has been behind many environmental laws during his 51-year career in national politics, including the original CAFE regulations. But the green community is on edge as he assumes chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which handles most energy-related measures. Dingell is a staunch supporter of the auto industry and has resisted toughening CAFE standards.
Will he be a friend or foe to the environmental movement? Grist reporter Amanda Griscom Little interviewed Dingell, and somewhere in the answers there may be a clue. The crafty legislator showed few cards and waved the flag when technical issues came up. When asked about Sen. Barbara Boxer's position that global warming in the single biggest environmental threat on the horizon, he said, "I don't agree and and I don't disagree. I don't know what the biggest one is. Certainly if there is environmental warming, it is a very major environmental problem and it should be addressed."

Wow. Someone who is chairing an energy committee can't say for certain if there is or isn't environmental warming. Wasn't there a big media flap over Silvestre Reyes, the Democrat who'll head a congressional intelligence committee when he didn't know which branch of Islam that members of Al Qaeda were from?

Dingell did say he will push for hearings to address the climate question. And in other topics he explained what a "kiddie car" is, explained what "destituting" an American industry is, explained American's love for large SUVs and explained why the cost of a hybrid "ain't peanuts." Finally, he said he was going to push for more diesels. Read it for yourself.

Source: Amanda Griscom Little / Grist]

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