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Pelosi Starts Twisting Arms

The Washington Post explains how Nancy Pelosi persuaded John Dingell to accept stricter fuel-efficiency standards in the House energy bill. (Or, as the Times put it, how she "effectively corralled the oldest and arguably the baddest of the 'old bulls.'") To put this in context, it took most of the '80s for Henry Waxman and other environmentalists to get Dingell to come around on acid-rain legislation, so it's surprising that Pelosi got her way so quickly.

Meanwhile, Dave Roberts is right about this: The energy bill that House Democrats have put together isn't perfect. There are still all the old subsidies for oil and gas. There's still a "massive, horrendous boost in biofuels," albeit with some new safeguards. The CAFE standards go easy on light trucks. Even if Bush does sign it, the bill would put only a modest dent in our emissions and fossil-fuel dependency. But—and this is an enormous "but"—considering that Tom Delay's caucus flailed about for years trying to cobble together a pork-laden energy bill focused on drilling and mining (which, for that matter, has been the focus of U.S. energy policy since the Reagan era), it's noteworthy that the Dems have crafted a fairly coherent alternative—that really would make progress on clean energy and conservation—in such short order.

--Bradford Plumer