House Republicans next year will use a new oversight subcommittee to examine the Obama administration’s energy and environmental policies.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), future chair of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced that he would form the new panel to watch over the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the departments of agriculture, energy and interior.
Responsibility for those agencies previously fell to two panels — one that focused on energy and the other on regulatory affairs.
Chaffetz appointed Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) to head the new subcommittee. “Each of the incoming chairs brings valuable knowledge and experience to the subcommittees they have been selected to lead,” the congressman said in an announcement.
Lummis’s appointment will likely cause environmentalists to cringe. Earlier this year, the Republican lawmaker sponsored legislation to overhaul the Endangered Species Act, arguing that the law relies on faulty science and strips property owners and states of valuable land and water rights.
The energy subcommittee this month examined EPA’s management of federal renewable-fuel guidelines, foreshadowing the type of work that Lummis’s committee is likely to do.
Republicans during the hearing attacked George W. Bush-era renewable-fuel standards as outdated, saying the rules have increased fuel prices and harmed the economy while forcing distributors to carry ethanol products that can damage engines.
Janet McCabe, one of the EPA’s top officials focusing on air issues, testified that the renewable-fuel standards are “an important component of the broader strategy to combat climate change.”