Top Democrat calls for GAO to investigate climate threat

Top Democrat calls for GAO to investigate climate threat
© Greg Nash

A top Democratic senator is urging a congressional watchdog to investigate multiple ways in which climate change poses a threat to the environment and humans as a means to document the issues for future oversight and bill drafting.

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns Trump administration rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards MORE (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, sent five separate letters to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Monday to open up as many studies into how global warming is affecting areas that the federal government oversees.

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The letters, also co-signed by other Democratic senators, ask the GAO to look into how climate change might affect energy infrastructure, nuclear waste storage, flood risk management, Superfund sites and chemical facilities.

Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPoliticians mourn the death of Bill Withers Pressure mounts for national parks closure amid coronavirus White House, Senate reach deal on trillion stimulus package MORE (D-W.Va.) and Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill Democratic senators want probe into change of national stockpile description Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus MORE (D-Ill.) each also signed a letter. Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerEnlisting tech to fight coronavirus sparks surveillance fears Democrats urge administration to automatically issue coronavirus checks to more people Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus MORE (D-N.J.), a 2020 presidential candidate, backed the letters calling for a report on Superfund and chemical sites.

The lawmakers’ requests follow the release of the GAO’s biennial High Risk List, which found that neither international nor U.S. efforts to stave off climate change “approach the scales needed to avoid substantial damage to the U.S. economy, environment and human health over the coming decades.”

“The Government Accountability Office has already joined leagues of scientists and nonpartisan experts in raising the alarm about the short- and long-term risks climate change poses to our country’s environment, public health and economy,” Carper said in a statement.

“These nonpartisan studies would help to inform our oversight and legislative work on the Environment and Public Works Committee as we continue working on climate change solutions.”