On November 27th, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced the new and returning House committee chairmen (and yes, they are all men). Some of these congressmen will run committees with jurisdiction over federal climate, energy, and environmental programs. This includes funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Clean Air Act, balancing the use of our public lands between energy production and recreation, and determining the infrastructure needs of a nation that now faces unpredictable extreme weather threats linked to climate change.
The vast majority of these chairmen voted for legislation that would dismantle EPA’s ability to limit industrial carbon pollution, and for retention of special tax breaks for the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas, coal, and electric utility companies have cozied up to many of these chairmen, giving them roughly $3.8 million in campaign contributions over the course of their careers.
Meanwhile, many climate-related extreme weather events have severely afflicted Americans over the past two years, including in their home states. Record-breaking drought and heat waves, severe floods, and heavy storms wreaked havoc for the families living in the chairmens’ backyards. Scientists predict that these weather events will become more frequent and/or severe if the industrial carbon pollution responsible for climate change remains unchecked.
Let’s take a look at some of the Republicans who will oversee federal climate, energy, and environmental programs over the next two years, as well as their campaign contributions from the industries responsible for most climate pollution: […]
Rep. Lamar Smith (Texas) – Science, Space, and Technology
As Climate Progress recently reported, Rep. Smith is the new chair of the Science Committee. Yet he does not accept the overwhelming scientific consensus on man-made climate change. In fact, Rep. Smith has repeatedly attacked the media for reporting on the mountains of scientific evidence confirming this fact. Smith claims that they are “determined to advance the idea of human-made global warming.”
While Rep. Smith seeks to assert that climate change is just an “idea,” his state has continued to suffer from the impacts of climate related extreme weather. Texas has experienced more billion-dollar in damages weather events than any other U.S. state in the past two years. The 2011-12 droughts decimated Texas crops, threatened the state’s water supply, and severely harmed its cattle industry. Ironically, while pollution-fueled climate change helped cause severe economic losses in his state, Rep. Smith assured Americans that “oil and natural gas fuel our economy and sustain our way of life.”
Rep. Smith is heavily supported by the oil and gas industry. It is his second largest contributor, shelling out half of a million dollars on his campaigns over the course of Rep. Smith’s career. […]