GOP Moves Quickly to Kill House Climate-Change Panel
WASHINGTON - Republicans will eliminate the House committee created by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to highlight the threat of climate change, Representative James Sensenbrenner, the top Republican on the panel, said yesterday.
In one of her first acts as speaker in 2007, Pelosi, a California Democrat, created the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming to draw attention to climate-change science and showcase how a cap on carbon dioxide need not be a threat to economic growth.
Edward Markey, a Malden Democrat, was named chairman.
Republicans, who won control of the House in the Nov. 2 election, have opposed legislative efforts to regulate carbon emissions.
When the panel convened yesterday, Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican, said the hearing "will be the last of the select committee.''
The lawmaker had advocated extending the panel as a forum to scrutinize Obama administration actions.
In an opinion column on Nov. 8 in the Washington newspaper Roll Call, he wrote that the committee was more qualified than any other to challenge Obama environmental initiatives that he said may threaten the economy. He acknowledged that other Republicans thought the panel should be eliminated to save money.
"We have pledged to save taxpayers' money by reducing waste and duplication in Congress,'' said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Representative John Boehner, who is to become speaker in January. The committee, created as "a political forum to promote Washington Democrats' job-killing national energy tax, was a clear example, and it will not continue,'' he said.
The election increased the ranks of Republican climate-change skeptics in both the House and Senate, according to ThinkProgress, an arm of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a Washington research group allied with Democrats.
Markey criticized the attitude among many Republican lawmakers.
"While members of Congress may question the science of global warming, the rest of the world does not,'' he said in his final statement as chairman.
The panel held 75 hearings, creating a record of evidence showing that humans are causing the planet to warm and that the United States is in danger of falling behind in the race for clean-energy technologies, Markey said.
China plans to invest $738 billion on clean-energy technologies, he said.
"The politics may change but the problem isn't going away,'' Markey said.