November 30, 2010

Changes in the cards for house committee on climate

Rep. Ed Markey will be forced to relinquish his climate change committee gavel next year, but he’s not going quietly.

Before the GOP takes over the House in January, Markey (D-Mass.) will hold one last hearing in his Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Markey’s invited a star-studded cast of witnesses to attest to the perils of climate change and, he hopes, leave a lasting impression before House Republicans launch their efforts to roll back the Obama administration’s efforts to clamp down on greenhouse gas emissions.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark and outspoken environmental advocate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., are among those invited to testify.

Kennedy recently told POLITICO he blames the right-wing media and the “narcissistic hacks” in Congress for the death of climate legislation. He did, however, proclaim Markey to be an environmental hero.

The hearing will certainly be Markey’s last as chairman, and may be the final one ever for the select committee, the panel created in 2007 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to draw attention to global warming.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the committee’s ranking member, has said he’d like to keep it around to probe the Obama administration’s energy policies, but GOP leadership is expected to axe the panel. A spokesman for Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner (R-Ohio) said no decisions have been made.

The outgoing chairman also wants to remind Republicans that he and others will fight from the minority to curb global warming emissions, said Markey spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder.

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