06-27-07 by dugan
It’s one thing when the bicoastal literati with clean, soft hands slam the Detroit clique that opposes any mandatory improvements in auto efficiency standards. It’s completely another when a fellow, and struggling, industrial city does it.
That’s the significance of an editorial today in the Buffalo News whacking Michigan lawmakers for trying to kill a modest increase in CAFE standards, from 27.5 miles per gallon to 35 mpg.
The editorial says:
Michigan Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both Democrats, tried to stop the measure by arguing that the standards were too stringent. It was, as it has been for years, sad to see the senators from Detroit so belittle their own industry’s ability to solve a problem the world needs solved.
With the fight now moved to the House, critics should turn to Michigan Rep. John Conyers. He’s rightly admired among progressives for his insistence on true universal health insurance (see HR 676 summary). But even there, he is responding to automakers desperate to shed their billion-dollar retiree health care obligations.
When the auto industry tells him to jump the other way on auto efficiency, he does. It’s sad to see Conyers’ experience, power and intellect forced into a parochial single-industry box, at a time when Americans hunger for a noncorporate national vision on global warming and oil dependency.