Dems aim to address warming — with or without select panel

Source: Nick Sobczyk, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, November 16, 2018

House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) yesterday offered a light criticism of the proposed revival of the select climate change committee, joining at least one other incoming committee chairman in staking out territory on the issue.

Grijalva, who is expected to lead the Natural Resources panel next year, told reporters that a refreshed version of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming could help elevate climate as an issue.

But when asked whether the select panel would simply duplicate his work on Natural Resources, Grijalva said, “Not as well as we’re going to do it, no.”

“We have a pretty good idea of what we are going to do in the committee,” he added. “So if it happens, it happens.”

Grijalva’s comments are a small step in an emerging jurisdictional battle. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has proposed reviving the select committee to help pave the way for energy efficiency measures and legislation to reduce emissions.

But Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), who will likely lead the Energy and Commerce Committee, has repeatedly said in recent days that he thinks the panel is unnecessary.

“I think it’s not necessary, and we intend to move very aggressively on climate change, both Energy and Commerce and the other committees of jurisdiction,” Pallone said yesterday.

Grijalva; Pallone; and Science, Space and Technology Committee ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), who is expected to lead the committee next Congress, also put out a joint statement yesterday laying out their plans to tackle climate change early next year, stressing that their committees have jurisdiction over the issue (Greenwire, Nov. 14).

Other Democrats, however, would be happy to have a seat on the select committee.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), who sits on Natural Resources, said he thinks it’s a “great idea” to revive the panel and would be interested in serving on or even leading it.

“If we’re ever going to build bipartisan support, if we’re ever going to have a safe place to really talk about issues that I think both parties need to talk about, this is going to be the place,” he said.

Lowenthal and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who co-chair the Safe Climate Caucus, also penned a letterto Pelosi yesterday urging action on climate change in the new Congress.

“We believe that the committees of jurisdiction and future Chairs are ready and able to tackle this challenge,” they wrote. “However, should you decide to create a select committee on climate change in the 116th Congress, we stand ready to work with you.”

Reporter Kellie Lunney contributed.