Key Republican Wants to Retain Climate Committee, But With New Focus

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the ranking minority member on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, says he wants the panel to continue when Republicans take control of Congress in January, but with a change of purpose.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the ranking minority member on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, says he wants the panel to continue when Republicans take control of Congress in January, but with a change of purpose.

House Democrats established the select committee in 2007 as a way to focus attention on the two subjects in the name of the committee. Under a presumed Sensenbrenner chairmanship, the committee would undertake more oversight of EPA regulations, with an eye toward rolling back or otherwise altering those rules.

"The threat of EPA's reach into the economy is so great that it deserves special attention this Congress, and no panel has developed more experience on these topics than the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming," said Sensenbrenner.

"These regulations are moving quickly, but the oversight and subpoena power wielded by the select committee would put a tall hurdle in the path and would further expose the economic destruction these policies would bring," Sensenbrenner said. "For these reasons, I believe the select committee should be renewed, but with a new focus that seeks balance between environmental regulations and economic consequences."

Other leading House Republicans have either called for the select committee to be disbanded or have yet to weigh in on the matter. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the presumptive next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is one calling for the select committee to be abolished. "To date, this new select committee has needlessly spent nearly $8 million in taxpayer money, and that does not account for the countless dollars spent on so-called 'fact finding' missions," he wrote in a recent op-ed article that appeared in the Washington Times. 

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