Waxman to push for climate hearings

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, wants to put Republicans on record about whether the powerful panel should hold hearings on climate change.

Waxman, over the last two years, has publicly asked the committee’s GOP leadership to hold hearings on extreme weather, major scientific reports about climate change, temperature data and related topics, but to no avail.

On Wednesday, Waxman hopes to put members to a vote when the committee considers its oversight plan for the 113th Congress, he told The Washington Post in a wider interview on climate policy and political strategy.

“Rep. Rush and I will propose amendments to their plan for the coming Congress to require hearings on these issues. We may be defeated, but to vote against even having hearings? Imagine having that on your record,” Waxman said of his plans with Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), a top lieutenant.

The committee, under GOP control, has been active on climate change, although not in the way Waxman would prefer.

In the last Congress, the panel – and the full House – approved legislation that would nullify the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, but it did not advance in the Senate.

The GOP-crafted oversight plan for the new Congress calls for fresh attention to EPA regulations that many Republicans and some centrist Democrats contend will be economically harmful.

“The committee will continue to monitor international negotiations on efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions in connection with concerns about global climate change. In addition, the committee will examine the EPA’s efforts to regulate domestic greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act based on its endangerment finding. The committee will consider whether such agreements and regulatory efforts are scientifically well grounded,” the Oversight plan states.

“The committee will also review the activities undertaken in this area by the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and other agencies within the committee’s jurisdiction, including efforts to prepare for and respond to weather events and natural disasters in the future,” it states.