ESA Policy News: December 10

Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy News by Science Policy Analyst Terence Houston.  Read the full Policy News here. HOUSE: GOP NAMES COMMITTEE CHAIRS House Republican leaders on Tuesday, Dec. 7 announced their roster of committee chairmen, all of whom have vowed to conduct vigorous oversight of the Obama Administration. Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), a noted climate skeptic, was picked by House GOP leaders to chair the Science and Technology Committee. “Our Committee will help ensure that taxpayer dollars are invested wisely in research and development programs by providing effective oversight of existing programs and by eliminating wasteful and duplicative programs and streamlining programs where needed,” said Hall in a subsequent statement. Hall was among 143 Republicans to support the first America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-069) enacted in 2007, which authorized funding for three agencies: the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Office of Science at the Department of Energy. However, he voted against the reauthorization bill, which passed by a more partisan vote of 262-150 and will have to be reintroduced if the Senate fails to send the bill to the president before year’s end. Hall expressed concern in committee that “some of these new programs” established in the reauthorization “are potentially duplicative of current efforts” and “increase the cost of the bill by billions.” The steering committee also selected Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) over Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Tea party activists had opposed Upton, whom they felt was not conservative enough. Upton had supported a bipartisan measure that increased the use of energy-efficient light bulbs in the energy law (P.L. 110-140), signed by President Bush in Dec. 2007. A committee lineup of the incoming House Committee Chairmen and Ranking Members, as elected by the Republican and Democratic Caucuses, includes the list below (*indicate expected Ranking Members as Democrats expect to vote on their remaining slots next week): Agriculture: Frank D. Lucas (R-OK), *Collin Peterson (D-MN) Appropriations:  Hal Rogers (R-KY), Norman Dicks (D-WA) Budget: Paul Ryan (R-WI), *Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) Education and Labor: John Kline (MN), *George Miller (D-CA) Energy and Commerce: Fred Upton (R-MI), Henry Waxman (D-CA) Natural Resources:  Doc Hastings (R-WA), *Ed Markey (D-MA) Science & Technology:  Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), *Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) Transportation & Infrastructure:  John L. Mica (R-FL), *Nick Rahall (D-WV) CLIMATE: SUPREME COURT TO HEAR GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS CASE The U.S. Supreme Court announced Dec. 6 that it will take on a potentially landmark case examining if states can hold individual power plants accountable for their greenhouse gas emissions. American Electric Power Co., Duke Energy, Southern Co., Xcel Energy Inc. and the...

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