Peter Bahouth, Executive Director
December 6, 2010
Climate Action Hotline
The incoming Republican majority announced on Wednesday it would do away with on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.The stated reason for the end of the committee is the need to rein in federal spending, including congressional salaries. Chaired by Representative Ed Markey the committee has no power to mark up legislation but served to highlight energy and environmental issues and played a key role in the passage of the climate change bill through the House. The panel held 75 hearings on subjects including climate, fuel efficiency and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Meanwhile there is a race on for the top spot on the powerful House Energy and Commerce committee. Representatives Joe Barton of Texas, John Shimkus of Illinois, Cliff Stearns of Florida and Fred Upton of Michigan gave speeches on Tuesday to the Republican Steering committee on why they are best fit to fill the position and now wait for the committee’s decision slated for next Tuesday.
In a recent interview EPA Administrator Jackson makes clear that EPA is not pulling back on its work to finalize a number of EPA rules including new limits on carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources such as power plants, oil refineries and chemical plants. Jackson told the Washington Post “We are back on the job, we are here, and having us here is important to your family.” However the EPA seems cognizant they need to not overreach and risk Congress limiting their authority. EPA Assistant Administrator for air and radiation, Gina McCarthy, said last week that some pollution limits in the proposed industrial boiler rule “were simply too tight to be able to be achievable,” indicating EPA will adjust the final rule to take into account concerns expressed by the pulp and paper, chemical and other industries.
Meanwhile as Congress is working to pass a continuing resolution 21 of the nation’s largest industry groups looking to protect corporate interests are calling on Congress to do away with funding for the EPA’s work to limit greenhouse gases from large, stationary sources.
In other news, Wednesday the Obama Administration announced that it would not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic coast through 2017, reversing two key policy changes the president embraced in late March.