From the Wonk Room.
Jurisdiction over energy and environmental issues – including global warming legislation – in a key House committee will be moving from two Democrats sympathetic to industrial polluters to a progressive environmentalist. According to the Boston Globe, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) will become chair of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Markey’s new subcommittee will replace the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), a coal-country representative, and the Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), an oil-patch Democrat.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), like Markey a strong proponent of progressive action to combat climate change, is in the process of reorganizing the energy and commerce committee after wresting control from Rep. John Dingell (D-MI):
As chair of the energy and environment subcommittee, Markey will have jurisdiction over greenhouse gas emissions legislation, such as the iCAP bill he proposed last year. He will also oversee the Clean Air Act, fossil energy, nuclear energy, drinking water and Superfund cleanups. Markey will remain chair of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which has no power over legislation.
Boucher will take Markey’s former seat as chair of the subcommittee in charge of telecommunications and the Internet. Boucher, like Markey, is a champion of network neutrality and patent reform.
From the Wonk Room.
John Dingell (D-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA)
In the 110th Congress, Dingell and Waxman took very different stances on global warming issues. In stark contrast, Dingell opposed California’s petition to set automotive emission standards for greenhouse gases, while Waxman led hearings to investigate why the EPA denied the California waiver.
The two also took different paths after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called in January, 2007, for rapid action on legislation that would limit greenhouse emissions. Waxman introduced the Safe Climate Act in March to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Dingell, a longtime defender of the auto industry, instead worked through a series of hearings and white papers on this complex issue to introduce draft legislation this October.
Dingell “put aside” the global warming legislation to push a provision in the 2007 energy bill that increased fuel economy standards for the first time in decades. When signed by President Bush in December, it marked a major achievement for the environment and the economy—but has since been used by the Bush administration for an excuse for inaction on mandatory global warming regulations.
As Roll Call writes, “The move marks a major showdown between two Democratic powerhouses.”E&E News reports:
“This is a fight for all the marbles,” said one refining industry lobbyist. “If Henry gets this, my god, given the scope of jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee, all hell will break loose legislatively if Waxman chairs this thing.”