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Conservative leaders attack Browner, Administration and Upton on climate science and clean energy
Posted By Susan On November 22, 2010 @ 10:32 am In Tea Party extremists | 12 Comments
Senior Fellow Daniel J. Weiss  is CAPAF’s Director of Climate Strategy.
The incoming House Republican majority includes many climate science deniers. They have already begun their attacks on promoters of policies to reduce energy use, save families money, and cut global warming pollution. This includes an attack on Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), a leading candidate to become Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
He is under fire for his efforts to require more energy efficient light bulbs. But he has also joined the global warming witch hunt by hurling misleading charges about Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Carol Browner in an attempt to discredit her long record of basing energy policies on sound science. This attack is the beginning of efforts to undo the Obama Administration’s successes at creating clean energy jobs, saving families money, and reducing oil use and pollution.
The attack on Upton sprung from the effort by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to become Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (E&C). House Republican term limit rules restrict their members to three Congresses (six years) as chair and/or ranking minority member of a committee. Barton seeks a waiver to allow him to become Chair of E&C in 2011 even though he already served as chair for two years and ranking member for four years. Without a waiver, the next most senior Republican – Upton – should become chair.
Despite Upton’s life time American Conservative Union record of 72 percent , many on the far right believe he is not conservative enough to oversee federal energy, communications, and health care policy. Politico  reported on this anti-Upton campaign.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy notes that incandescent bulbs  that use only 10 percent of their energy for light – the rest is waste heat. More efficient compact fluorescent bulbs
Upton’s light bulb efficiency provision was part of the Energy Independence and Security Act that President George W. Bush signed into law in 2007.
The attack on Upton’s leadership to require light bulbs to waste less energy and save more money is an example of the right’s broad attack on science and clean energy technology.
After the assault he promptly dimmed his support for energy efficiency and consumer savings. Politico  reports
After the right’s attack on Upton, he followed in their footsteps by launching a similar misplaced attack on Carol Browner. On November 15, he sent a letter  questioning her actions on the Department of Interior moratorium on deep water drilling in the wake of the nation’s worst oil disaster. It focuses on the disproved charge that her office modified the DOI report so that it appeared that the moratorium decision was peer reviewed by scientists when it was not.
This question was fully examined by the Inspector General at the Department of Interior , and it found no wrong doing.
Upton’s letter is like issuing a speeding ticket to a car traveling at 25.1 miles per hour in a 25 MPH zone, even after the radar gun demonstrated there was no violation.
Interestingly, we could find no record of Upton raising similar concerns about the Bush administration’s frequent editing of documents to remove descriptions of climate science. The New York Times  revealed that
Upton’s misleading attack on Browner is his attempt to demonstrate his right wing, anti-science bona fides during the mud wrestling to win the coveted E&C chair. However, this false attack is not an isolated incident, but instead part of the incoming House majority’s effort to attack climate science and scientists, as well as the administration’s successful clean energy policies.
As chair, Upton plans to conduct hearings  designed to undermine EPA rules to protect public health and the environment from toxic coal ash, smog, mercury and other toxic chemicals, and global warming pollution. All of these safeguards will be based upon the best medical and scientific evidence available in order to protect children, seniors, and others from these harmful, controllable contaminants.
Upton’s attacks are the rule, rather than the exception, among the new majority. His colleagues plan a host of similar efforts to conduct witch hunts in the name of oversight. This could include efforts to overturn or delay the implementation of President Obama’s new fuel economy standards  that would reduce oil use by 1.8 billion barrels, save consumers $3000 or more over the life of their car, and cut nearly a billion tons of greenhouse gas pollution. Bloomberg  reports,
Incoming Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Darrell Issa (R-CA) plans to interrogate the administration over some of its other successes .
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (a.k.a. the “stimulus”) has had a real success creating clean energy jobs , investing in renewable technologies , and reducing families’ energy bills  via efficiency.
Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), the likely chair of the House Science Committee, has already announced his future assault on climate science .
Fred Upton is on the receiving end of the kind of assault that he has levied on Carol Browner. Many more similar attacks are likely after his colleagues take control of the House of Representatives on January 5, 2011. The objective of these attacks is to defeat or delay health and science based policies that protect and benefit society as whole even if they reduce profits for big oil, dirty coal or other special interests.
Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), defeated by a Tea Party candidate in his primary, alerted his Republican colleagues  that their assault on science and clean energy policies would harm Americans. At a House Science Committee hearing on global warming science he warned,
Former House Science Committee Chair Sherry Boehlert (R-NY) also counseled his compatriots against this attack on science .
Inglis and Boehlert are urging Republican leaders to reject the unfair, anti-science attacks aimed at Fred Upton and his common sense light bulb efficiency legislation. Hopefully, he and his colleagues will refrain from hurling such false, destructive charges at Carol Browner, scientists or other administration officials. If not, they will demonstrate the same ignorance, selfishness, and economic obliviousness shown by Upton’s attackers.
– Daniel J. Weiss  is Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy, Center for American Progress Action Fund
Article printed from Climate Progress: http://climateprogress.org
URL to article: http://climateprogress.org/2010/11/22/conservative-attack-climate-science-and-clean-energy/
URLs in this post:
 Daniel J. Weiss: http://www.americanprogress.org/aboutus/staff/WeissDaniel.html
 Upton’s life time American Conservative Union record of 72 percent: http://www.conservative.org/ratings/ratingsarchive/2009/2009%20Combined%20Ratings.html#MI
 believe he is not conservative enough: http://www.politico.com/static/PPM187_votesummary.html
 Politico: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/45059.html
 incandescent bulbs: http://aceee.org/node/3069
 Politico: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/45360.html#ixzz15xhwQqry
 November 15, he sent a letter: http://upton.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Upton_letter_to_Browner.pdf
 Inspector General at the Department of Interior: http://www.doioig.gov/images/stories/reports/pdf/DeepwaterMoratoriumPublic.pdf
 New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/08/politics/08climate.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
 Upton plans to conduct hearings: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/18/declaring-war-on-the-regulatory-state/print/
 of President Obama’s new fuel economy standards: http://www.whitehouse.gov/search/site/fuel%20economy%20standards
 Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-16/michigan-republicans-may-fill-dingell-void-as-gm-ford-friends-in-congress.html
 interrogate the administration over some of its other successes: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/45364.html#ixzz15xy0BeX9
 clean energy jobs: http://www.whitehouse.gov/recovery/anniversary/chapter1
 investing in renewable technologies: http://www.whitehouse.gov/recovery/innovations/executive-summary
 reducing families’ energy bills: http://www.energy.gov/recovery/documents/Homes_Weatherized_State_August_10.15.10.pdf
 his future assault on climate science: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/45279.html#ixzz15xxKyr00
 alerted his Republican colleagues: http://climateprogress.org/2010/11/18/republican-rep-bob-inglis-blasts-gop-right-wing-pundits-for-denying-global-warming-science/
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