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Speaker Pelosi Announces Climate Change Panel January 18, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday said she will create a task force to tackle the issues of global warming and energy independence which should help in her effort to pass a broad-based energy bill by July 4.

“Today, I am proud to announce plans to create a select committee on energy independence and global warming to raise the visibility of these urgent issues and gather critical information to protect America’s security,” she said.

She added that she’d like leaders of energy, technology and environment committees to wrap up energy legislation in June so that “this year, Independence Day is also ‘Energy Independence Day.'”

Pelosi announced her plans for the task force and energy bill at a press conference held partly to celebrate the near completion of the first 100 legislative hours of the new 110th Congress.

“Now is time to act, the future of our country, indeed our planet, is at stake,” she said.

The new energy task force is seen as a way to highlight and generate more publicity about global warming and won’t have any legislative jurisdiction.

Still, some lawmakers and Democratic aides have voiced concerns about the California Democratic leader’s plan.

After a meeting with Pelosi on Wednesday, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell,D-Mich., said, “these kinds of committees are as useful and relevant as a feather on a fish.”

And Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also doesn’t like the idea. The energy committee, he said, is “more than capable of handing the issues…There is no need for it.”

Other lawmakers voiced support.

“Absolutely, I would support it,” said House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., noting that climate change is a big issue for her constituents.

The National Environmental Trust welcomed news of the select committee to examine climate change.

It will increase chances Congress will pass anti-global warming legislation before the 2008 elections, said the environmental group’s president Phil Clapp.

“This is a really gutsy move by the Speaker,” he said. “The Speaker has probably taken the only course that could produce a comprehensive bill before the 2008 elections swamp the political process.”

By Maya Jackson Randall and John Godrey, Dow Jones Newswires

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