Thursday, December 9, 2010

US House Names Key Committee Chairs Affecting Climate Change Regulation

With the Republican party becoming the majority in the US House of Representatives in last month's election, that means there will be new chair people for the key committees and subcommittees.  The biggest news is that Fred Upton of Michigan will take over the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is the one with oversight authority for issues such as climate change and other energy and environmental issues.  Upton beat out Joe Barton of Texas, most famously known for his apology in a House hearing to BP President Tony Hayward.

The committee also would have jurisdiction over any attempt to roll back the health care law that was passed in this Congress.  Meanwhile, Ed Whitfield of Kentucky is hoping to take over the subcommittee chairmanship that Upton held.

Other key Republican committee assignments include Darrell Issa of California to chair the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  Issa has said that he intends to hold hearings investigating climate scientists even though all investigations have exonerated all scientists of any wrongdoing while demonstrating the tendency of climate deniers to misrepresent both the state of the science and what scientists say about it.  The scrutiny of climate science is also part of Ralph Hall's intentions as the Texas Representative takes over the House Science Committee.

All of this means that science will be on trial, or depending on your point of view, the victim of witch hunts, by the incoming Republican leadership in the House.  Meanwhile the science continues to demonstrate with greater and greater certainty that the planet is warming due to man's activities.  So it will be interesting to see in the hearings that are very likely to occur whether scientists are able to take advantage of the opportunity to educate a few Congressman.

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