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Nation in brief: Obama proposes fuel standards

Wed., Sept. 16, 2009

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration on Tuesday formally proposed new fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, a move which would mark the first time the federal government has ever set limits on greenhouse-gas pollution.

In May, President Obama announced in a Rose Garden ceremony that cars would be held to a higher environmental standard. On Tuesday, officials filled in the details of that proposal, linking fuel economy to emissions from vehicles.

The net effect would be to require manufacturers to ratchet up their fuel economy 5 percent per year. In 2016, new cars and trucks would have to average 35.5 miles per gallon. Cars currently must average 27.5 miles per gallon; light trucks must average 23.1 miles per gallon.

Senator seeks ACORN probe

WASHINGTON – A Republican lawmaker on Tuesday urged the Justice Department to investigate ACORN, a community organization under fire for several voter-registration fraud cases.

Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., wrote Attorney General Eric Holder requesting the investigation. He cited reports that ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, may “have been engaged in illegal activity” by aiding and abetting tax evasion, prostitution, human trafficking, fraud and conspiracy.

The Senate voted Monday to block the Department of Housing and Urban Development from giving grants to ACORN following a measure introduced by Johanns. The Nebraska lawmaker said the organization has received more than $50 million in taxpayer funds since 1994.

Hidden-camera videos released by conservative activists posing as a prostitute and a pimp have shown ACORN employees giving advice on home buying and how to account on tax forms for the woman’s income.

Brian Kettenring, an ACORN spokesman, said Republicans were “playing politics” and trying to “stop ACORN’s good work fighting to stop the foreclosure crisis and to win quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”


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