House Democrats call for hearing on Hurricane Sandy and climate change

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Representatives Henry Waxman (D-California) and Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) have sent a letter to Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan), Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, requesting a committee hearing during the upcoming lame duck session on climate change, with a focus on the recent superstorm Sandy. "For two years the House of Representatives has pretended that climate change is not happening and that the consequences can be dismissed without concern," Mr. Waxman and Mr. Rush write. "With the election behind us, we will have an opportunity to begin again and give this matter the attention it deserves."

The full text of the letter is below and is also available online here (press release here).

October 31, 2012

The Honorable Fred Upton
Chairman
Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Ed Whitfield
Chairman
Subcommittee on Energy and Power
U.S. House of Representatives
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Upton and Chairman Whitfield:

On November 7, the election will be over.  Regardless of which party prevails, the election should be a time to return to fact-based policy making.  This is especially true in energy policy.

This week, a massive “superstorm” struck the East Coast.  The storm battered the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, devastating portions of New York and New Jersey and resulting in more than 8 million homes losing electricity from the Carolinas to Wisconsin.  Experts are projecting tens of billions of dollars in damages and lost business.

Hurricane Sandy is exactly the type of extreme weather event that climate scientists have said will become more frequent and more severe if we fail to reduce our carbon pollution.  That is why we are writing to request that you hold a hearing on the storm and its relation to climate change in the lame duck session.

We have written you 17 times since March 2011 to request that the Committee examine the topic of climate change.  In January 2012, we asked you to hold a hearing on the role of climate change in causing the record-setting 14 weather-related disasters in 2011 that cost more than $1 billion.[1]  After an unprecedented heat wave in March 2012, we wrote to request a hearing to examine its connections with climate change.[2]  During last summer’s devastating wildfires, droughts, and intense storms, we wrote to request a hearing on the role global climate change played in these events.[3]

You have not once responded to or even acknowledged our requests.  We hope that you will consider the vast devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy and reconsider your approach.

For two years, the House of Representatives has pretended that climate change is not happening and that the consequences can be dismissed without concern.  With the election behind us, we will have an opportunity to begin again and give this matter the attention it deserves.  We urge you to seize this opportunity and begin with holding a hearing in the lame duck session.

Sincerely,

Henry A. Waxman
Ranking Member 

Bobby L. Rush
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Energy and Power

 

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