Oversight

House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming (Sept. 18): Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and 17 other members signed a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) urging the Bush administration to take action and list 10 species of penguin under the Endangered Species Act.

“Over half of the world’s 19 penguin species are in danger of extinction due to a variety of threats such as industrial over-fishing, direct take and habitat loss that is a direct result of global warming,” the letter stated. “We remind the agency of its clear legal duty to utilize the ‘best available science’ in making its decision … Politics should not, indeed must not, enter into the final decision.”

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (Sept. 14): In response to a Government Accountability Office report on motor carrier safety, Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) expressed his concern about its findings in a letter to John Hill, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

“I am deeply troubled by the GAO findings regarding FMCSA’s practice of assessing fines to motor carriers that repeatedly violate critical motor carrier safety statutes,” Oberstar wrote. “I strongly urge FMCSA to amend its policies immediately to be consistent with statutory requirements with respect to maximum penalties for repeat rule violators. Within 30 days, I would like to know what specific actions FMCSA has taken to comply with these statutory requirements.”

Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (Sept. 18): Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and ranking member Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) wrote a letter to administrator Steven Preston of the Small Business Administration (SBA), outlining specific questions about Women’s Business Center funding they expect the Bush administration to answer at a hearing Sept. 20.

 “Women business owners are an integral and vital part of our economy, and Women’s Business Centers play an important role in supporting them,” the letter stated. “It is the intent of this legislation that successful, established centers begin receiving grants as soon as possible.”

In a statement, Kerry said, “I’m disappointed that the SBA is stalling to implement this important program, and at Thursday’s hearing we will demand answers and accountability.”