The First Draft: The environment’s in the air today….
The environment is front and center – at the White House and on Capitol Hill today.
President Barack Obama will propose an aggressive new plan to directly regulate fuel emissions for the first time. Under his proposal average fuel standards for all new passenger vehicles — including the large, gas-guzzling SUVs filling American streets — would rise by 10 miles a gallon to 35.5 miles per gallon between 2012 and 2016.
White House officials say the new fuel emission standards will produce a 30 percent drop in climate-warming carbon emissions over the life of the program.
Ten auto company top executives will be on hand as Obama makes the announcement at 12:15 p.m. EDT at the White House.
Also on Tuesday lawmakers will start debating a climate change bill aimed at reducing carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Republicans object that the legislation will burden the struggling economy with higher energy costs.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will start what is expected to be days of arduous debate over the Democrat’s climate change proposal. Republicans are expected to try to remove a key element — the “cap and trade” system that would gradually reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that companies can emit.
Obama will switch gears in the afternoon to talk with former Secretaries of State and a past Secretary of Defense about U.S. non proliferation policies.
Photo credit: REUTERS/Fred Prouser (Traffic in Los Angeles)