Washington, DC (February 7, 2007)- After a three week long compromise, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) have reached an agreement to create a select committee on global warming which will be chaired by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). Although the committee has been created, a letter written to Pelosi- signed by both Dingell and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)- specifically states that the select committee will have no legislative authority and will expire on October 30th of this year. In addition, the letter outlines a measure that the Energy and Commerce Committee will have first choice to call witnesses when potential conflicts may arise, but does not clarify whether or not the select committee will have the authority to subpoena witnesses.
According to Fox News, these legislative restrictions most likely stem from Pelosi’s announcement January 18 that she wanted to have a special climate change committee. This set off heated debate among House Democrats as major committee chairmen, including Dingell, became worried about losing power on the biggest environmental issue facing Congress. In announcing the committee, Pelosi said she simply wanted to show that Democrats are serious about climate change. Dingell has assured her and others that he will move aggressively on the issue despite his long opposition to efforts in Congress to impose more stringent fuel economy requirements.
U.S. House Letter
House Committee on Science & Technology
Senate Commerce Committee
Senate Environment & Public Works Committee