House climate panel will study drilling ban backed by 2020 Dems

House climate panel will study drilling ban backed by 2020 Dems
© Cameron Lancaster

Rep. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorLawmakers, public bid farewell to John Lewis Economic recovery versus climate action: A false choice OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 | Commerce Department led 'flawed process' on Sharpiegate, watchdog finds | EPA to end policy suspending pollution monitoring by end of summer MORE (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the special House committee studying the impacts of climate change, said Friday her panel will examine a proposal by 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Democrats want Biden to debate Trump despite risks Overnight Defense: Embattled Pentagon policy nominee withdraws, gets appointment to deputy policy job | Marines, sailor killed in California training accident identified | Governors call for extension of funding for Guard's coronavirus response MORE (D-Mass.) to ban new fossil fuel drilling on public lands and waters.

A number of other 2020 Democratic candidates — including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersCuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Trump Spanish-language ad equates progressives, socialists Biden's tax plan may not add up MORE (I-Vt.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerUSAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA rule extends life of toxic coal ash ponds | Flint class action suit against Mich. officials can proceed, court rules | Senate Democrats introduce environmental justice bill Senate Democrats introduce environmental justice bill MORE (D-N.J.) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) — also have endorsed a moratorium on drilling on public lands. 

“We’re going to examine that in the Climate Crisis Committee because what the scientists are telling us now is that we’ve got to cut our carbon pollution dramatically,” Castor said during an appearance on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” that is set to air later Friday.

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“If we are going to have a just transition [to clean energy], especially for communities across the country that have a lot of jobs in fossil fuels, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to expand extraction, especially on public lands,” she continued. “It’s an important issue moving forward in the context of how we cut our carbon pollution.”

Several liberal lawmakers have argued that the government should ban oil and fossil fuel drilling if it wants to mitigate the effects of climate change. A recent U.S. Geological Survey report found that the extraction and burning of fossil fuels from federal lands accounted for nearly one-quarter of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions between 2005 and 2014.

With Democrats taking control of the House last fall, the incoming Speaker, Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video Trump says he's considering executive action to suspend evictions, payroll tax Trump won't say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread MORE (D-Calif.), named Castor, a close ally, to lead a new select committee examining climate change. That panel does not have the authority to write legislation, but it is tasked with offering policy recommendations to the full House Democratic Caucus by next year.

“That gives us time to take a look at [a ban],” Castor said, “but a lot of the committees now are on the front lines of turning back the damage of what the Trump administration is doing to clean air and clean water.”

Castor’s comments came a day after the House passed her bill to block President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE from pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement. But the legislation is going nowhere in the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellProfessional sports players associations come out against coronavirus liability protections Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House Top GOP senator urges agencies to protect renters, banks amid coronavirus aid negotiations MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed to be a “Grim Reaper” for what he deemed socialist bills coming out of the House.

That new nickname for McConnell has irked Castor, a seven-term lawmaker from the Tampa area who has called climate change — and related extreme weather events — extremely dangerous for American families and businesses.

“I’m very disappointed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling himself the Grim Reaper,” she said. “He says he is not going to hear any important national security, health legislation, especially climate change.

“What a terrible thing to say, that you’re the Grim Reaper.”

The interview with Castor airs on C-SPAN at 10:15 p.m. EDT Friday and again at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday.