With several strokes of Obama’s executive pen, he did more this morning for environmental policy in a few minutes than Bush did in eight years.
President Obama directed federal regulators on Monday to move swiftly on an application by California and 13 other states to set strict limits on greenhouse gases from cars and trucks. He also ordered the Transportation Department to begin drawing up rules imposing higher fuel-economy standards on cars and light trucks.
It appears he has taken Al Gore’s advice to heart:
To avoid losing another year on emissions and fuel efficiency, Mr. Obama will order temporary regulations to be completed by March so that automakers will have enough time to retool for vehicles to be sold in 2011.
He announced a program in the stimulus package that is supposed to save the taxpayers $2 billion by weatherizing most federal buildings. There is also money set aside to help two million people weatherize their homes. And that’s just the beginning.
He also ordered federal departments and agencies to find new ways to save energy and be more environmentally friendly. And he highlighted the elements in his $825 billion economic stimulus plan intended to create jobs around renewable energy.
Among the most clueless responses to Obama’s actions?
“I am fearful that today’s action will begin the process of setting the American auto industry back even further,” Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) said. “The federal government should not be piling on an industry already hurting in a time like this.”
Of course, Obama addressed that concern directly in his comments.
“Our goal is not to further burden the struggling American auto industry,” he said, but rather to make a major step toward addressing global warming by cleaning up the American transportation fleet.
Detroit wants to stay stuck in the mud, but they’re broke, asking for taxpayer money, and in no position to protest. This all appears to be part of our daily dose of change we can believe in.