Associated Press: Pelosi Sees Higher Mileage Standards Combating Global Warming

By Jeff Barnard

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that making the United States energy independent is directly connected to combating global warming, and conservation measures such as higher mileage standards for automobiles will help avert climate change.

The California Democrat added that she expects the energy bill that Congress sends to President Bush will include the higher mileage standards adopted by the Senate last June, despite the failure of House supporters to get them into their version.

‘I believe we have to act within the next few years, that is to say have major agreements reached, protocols in place, standards established,’ Pelosi said in a telephone interview before flying out of Washington, D.C., to take part in a global warming round-table in Portland.

Pelosi said she had just met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and felt that Senate conferees over the energy bill would insist on including new mileage standards, just as House conferees will insist on new energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances.

Pelosi added that the public overwhelmingly supports increased gasoline mileage standards, and she hoped the president would sign a bill containing them.

The Senate last June adopted energy legislation calling for a 40 percent increase in auto mileage to 35 mpg by 2020.

Congress has not changed the federal auto fuel economy standard since it was imposed in 1975. It has been at 27.5 mpg fleet average for cars since 1989. The truck requirements, which include SUVs and passenger vans, recently were raised to 22.2 mpg.

‘Conservation is a major asset in this fight against global warming,’ Pelosi said. ‘It makes a tremendous difference how people husband their energy resources.’

Pelosi was to be at the OregonConvention Center in Portland on Wednesday afternoon for a round-table on global warming with Oregon Democrats Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Rep. Darlene Hooley, local officials and environmental leaders.

‘I’m very proud of the work Congress has been doing on global warming and energy independence.  I see those issues as connected,’ Pelosi said.  ‘I think the impact (of global warming) is very serious if we don’t act soon.’

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