Representative Henry Waxman won the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee, ousting John Dingell, the longest-serving member of the U.S. House.As Shaker Oddjob just said by email: "THAT'S CHANGE!! ...[T]he single largest reason why car fuel efficiency standards have not been meaningfully raised since the 1970's is because Dingell has been the chairman of the House committee most responsible for such legislation, and he's from Detroit. Waxman is a liberal and from California, the state where smog from automobiles has been the biggest air pollution problem."
House Democrats voted 137-122 for Waxman in a secret ballot, lawmakers said. Waxman, who currently leads the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he argued that a change in leadership of the energy panel was needed to work with the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama.
"We have a new opportunity that only comes once in a generation," Waxman said. "We must meet the challenge."
(And so significant a problem that the state's Republican governor wanted to impose emission rules for vehicles sold in the state stricter than the federal requirements, which, of course, the Bush administration blocked.)
This is a big deal for the entire country with regard to the environment, and it's also the first sign that the Dems might be moving left again. Not too shabby.
[1,000 points to anyone who laughed at the title of the post.]