In the wake of news that Henry Waxman will take over the House Energy and Commerce Committee, there’s been some speculation that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would scrap the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which she created this past session to throw a spotlight on climate change. (The committee is scheduled to expire at the end of this year.)
However, it looks like Pelosi may keep the committee around. At least that’s what the newly elected Waxman says:
With the outspoken Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., appointed as its chair, the panel was originally established to counter the more moderate Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, John Dingell, D-Mich. “(The panel is) set to expire, but the speaker will probably renew it. That’s what I’ve heard,” Waxman told reporters after the House Democratic Caucus elected him to replace Dingell in a hard-fought battle to head the Energy and Commerce Committee. “We’ll benefit from their work,” he added.
Earlier this month, Pelosi sang the praises of the committee to the San Francisco Chronicle:
“It’s a tremendously valuable resource to both Democrats and Republicans intellectually, in terms of the staffing there,” she said of the panel, which is chaired by her ally Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass. “The exchange of ideas – not everyone agrees, but it emphasizes the importance of it. It has been a tremendous resource to me as speaker of the House for my flagship issue.”
Under Markey’s energetic leadership, the committee has become a kind of in-House think tank on climate, convening hearings on everything from smart electricity grids to climate change’s effects on water supply. While it has no legislative authority, it has effectively pushed climate into the headlines, convened a growing network of experts, and assembled one of the better committee staffs in the House. It’s good to hear Pelosi wants to keep it going.