Ralph HallRep. Ralph Hall.Cross-posted from the Wonk Room.

Incoming House Science Chair Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) plans to put big oil back in charge of his committee. In an interview with the Dallas Morning News this month, the climate zombie declared his intention to use the House Science and Technology Committee to investigate the “false statements” of climate scientists, and “subpoena” those who don’t appear willingly. Hall also explained why the BP disaster “didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for offshore drilling.” He sees the BP explosion that killed 11 men, injured dozens, and led to the despoilment of the Gulf of Mexico as a “tremendous,” “blossoming” flower of energy:

As we saw that thing bubbling out, blossoming out — all that energy, every minute of every hour of every day of every week — that was tremendous to me. That we could deliver that kind of energy out there — even on an explosion.

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Hall has received $14,500 in campaign contributions from BP. In an extensive report today, The New York Times describes the explosion differently:

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The worst of the explosions gutted the Deepwater Horizon stem to stern. Crew members were cut down by shrapnel, hurled across rooms and buried under smoking wreckage. Some were swallowed by fireballs that raced through the oil rig’s shattered interior. Dazed and battered survivors, half-naked and dripping in highly combustible gas, crawled inch by inch in pitch darkness, willing themselves to the lifeboat deck.

It was no better there.

That same explosion had ignited a firestorm that enveloped the rig’s derrick. Searing heat baked the lifeboat deck. Crew members, certain they were about to be cooked alive, scrambled into enclosed lifeboats for shelter, only to find them like smoke-filled ovens. Men admired for their toughness wept. Several said their prayers and jumped into the oily seas 60 feet below. An overwhelmed young crew member, Andrea Fleytas, finally screamed what so many were thinking:

“We’re going to die!”

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Under the leadership of Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), the committee approved legislation to champion scientific innovation, prevent and respond to oil spills, and to create a National Climate Service. Although the oil spill and climate initiatives were killed by Republican filibusters in the U.S. Senate, the science innovation legislation was finally passed last week.