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Sunday, January 22, 2006


Blue states secede from the U.S. government on energy policy

The divide between Republicans and Democrats has entered a new phase. Blue states, disatisfied with Bush and Repubublican energy policies, have started taking policy action on their own. Here is an account from the Washington Post:
Seven states that voted Democratic in 2004's presidential election have signed on to a regional plan to restrict power plant emissions. Eleven states that went Democratic have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, automobile tailpipe emissions requirements, which face a court challenge before they can be implemented.

Nine of the 10 states that have adopted appliance efficiency regulations also voted Democratic.

Requirements that a portion of electricity come from renewable sources have caught on beyond the Democratic-leaning states. Seven states that went Republican in 2004 have joined 13 Democratic-leaning states and the District of Columbia in setting those rules.

Though the new regulations are not necessarily partisan, the activists behind them say their adoption requires lawmakers and constituents who are concerned about global warming and energy-conservation -- issues that Democrats often emphasize.

The Bush administration welcomes state efforts "as long as they do not put Americans out of jobs or move emissions from one state to another or one country to another," said Michele St. Martin, a spokeswoman for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

State officials say their constituents are demanding new limits on pollution and energy consumption. "What is frustrating is that these things aren't being done on a national basis," said Maine Gov. John E. Baldacci (D).

In some cases, states complain that the federal government has failed to take steps required by law.

The Energy Department has not decided if it should implement some new rules for appliance energy efficiency or update some old ones, for example, even though legal deadlines have passed for numerous appliances, such as home furnaces and boilers. The department says it is working on improving its performance.

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