Okay, now that the voting stuff is over, Washington gets down its real business: power. Case in point is the backroom battle between Republicans to be the big cheese on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. That’s serious power — and a guarantee of a whole lotta money love from Big Oil.
A sorry display: In one corner is Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). Yes, that Joe “I’m sorry BP” Barton. At the moment, he’s the lead Republican on the committee, but his party’s term limits rule would prevent him from becoming chair. But a little thing like that isn’t stopping Sorry Joe. He’s lobbying hard for a special waiver to allow him to hold on to his top spot, and now is rallying the troops — namely all those fresh Republicans coming into the House. He just spammed them all with a congratulatory letter [PDF] in which he also mentioned that “when I am chairman you won’t find any Democrats applauding.” And he added:
…I have led the charge against radical cap and trade legislation, fought the new entitlements and mandates that are the rotten core of President Obama’s health care law, and consistently applied free market principles to legislative decisions. It’s been an uphill battle, and I’m grateful that, thanks to your votes, the cavalry is riding to the rescue.
When you bitch upon a czar: In the other corner is Rep. Fred Upton, of Michigan. He once was considered more of a moderate on climate and energy issues, but now he’s doing everything he can to dispel that notion. [The Hill] His latest salvo is an op-ed piece in the conservative journal Human Events in which he blasts away at Barack Obama’s “energy czar” Carol Browner and promises, if chairman, to make her appear before the committee for regular grillings:
Given her absence from Capitol Hill for the last two years, there is little doubt that she will surely become a familiar face with Republicans in charge. We have questions, and the American people deserve answers. The free pass of zero-accountability for Obama Czars will soon end.
Let the games begin.
And in other green news:
Looking for blame in all the wrong places: There’s more evidence that attack ads on clean energy had little impact on the results of Black Tuesday. [Repower America]
Timing is everything: One of the EPA’s more aggressive leaders in fighting global warming is leaving the agency. [Politico]
Yin and yang: A British energy official told a Hong Kong audience that “very negative forces” are holding up a climate change policy in the U.S. At the same time he praised China’s “high ambition” in dealing with climate change. [AFP]
Train, train, go away: Newly-elected Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio say thanks, but no thanks, to hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money to build high-speed railways. [The New York Times]
Risky business: An AP investigation finds that oil companies are taking more and more and risks to drill for oil in places where spills could be especially hard to control. [AP]
All charged up: Yep, so the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are coming. But what are the next 10 electric cars on the way? [Discovery News]
Nothing ventured, nothing gained: It had been a good year, then venture capital investments in clean tech in the U.S. plunged 55 percent in the 3rd quarter compared to a year ago. [BusinessGreen]
Do these make me look green?: Levi continues its quest for greener jeans. [GreenBiz]
No more toys for tots: Yes, it’s true. San Francisco has banned Happy Meals. [Treehugger]
Now on to brussel sprouts.