Sen. Boxer adds climate change post to environment committee staff

Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has added a climate change counsel to her committee staff.

Boxer said Thursday that environmental attorney Joe Mendelson would fill the newly created role. Mendelson was most recently policy director of climate and energy with the National Wildlife Federation.

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“Dangerous climate change poses an urgent threat and we have a responsibility to address that threat. I am so pleased that Joe Mendelson will be joining the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee team. We will make the most of his expertise as we craft solutions to climate change,” Boxer said in a statement.

Boxer's office said Mendelson “played a key role” in the 2007 Supreme Court decision that allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The hiring is another sign that liberal Democrats hope to regain the offensive on climate even though bills to impose mandatory curbs on emissions remain frozen on Capitol Hill.

Boxer is on the front line of that battle. She said in December that she would establish a "climate change clearinghouse” to elevate the issue in the Senate.

After the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 2012 was the hottest year on record in the U.S., Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Wednesday he planned to introduce a bill that would impose fees on greenhouse gas emitters.