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   Mikulski Fails to Comprehend Issue

Mikulski Fails to Comprehend Issue:

Myopic Senate Flubs Gas-Guzzler Vote

On March 13, the U.S. Senate defeated, by a 62-38 vote, a measure that would have required vehicle manufacturers to double gas mileage in 15 years' time.

Sen. Mikulski whined that such a measure would "eliminate 1,500 jobs" at Baltimore's General Motors plant, where lackluster vans are manufactured. Talk about short-sighted! GM has announced plans to close that plant next year anyway.

Sen. Mikulski doesn't seem to understand that the world has changed, and we have to change with it and shape the future for the better. Instead of moaning about jobs that are sure to become obsolete as technology progresses, Sen. Mikulski and her ilk need to be thinking of future opportunities that can create new jobs. For example, if this measure had been passed, jobs related to creating fuel-efficient vehicle components would have opened up.

Jobs aside, the 62 ersatz Senators obviously did not calculate into their voting decision the high--and rapidly increasing--public health costs caused by increased pollution and the respiratory diseases it causes or exacerbates. They also overlooked compelling evidence showing that the benefits of the Clean Air Act have been cancelled out by the increased market share of gas-guzzling SUVs. Would it be too much to ask that these road menaces (hardly any of them are off-road) should get 24 miles per gallon instead of 12? Apparently so.

We, like millions of other U.S. citizens, are angered by the lack of leadership and foresight shown by the U.S. Senate in this vote. As Marylanders, our anger and disappointment are only somewhat tempered by the knowledge that Sen. Paul Sarbanes rightly cancelled out Sen. Mikulski's vote.


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This story was published on March 14, 2002.
  
MARCH 2002
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SPEAKING OUT
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