Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dingell Out; Waxman Will Lead Energy & Commerce Committee

Nov 20: Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI) has lost his Chairmanship of the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), current Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform won approval from Democratic colleagues in a 137-122 vote to unseat Dingell. On November 5, Waxman (D-CA) announced that he would be seeking the Chairmanship of the Committee [See WIMS 11/13/8].

Dingell is the longest serving current Member of the House and second longest serving Member in the nation’s history. Dingell has been Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee for 28-years and has represented Monroe County and parts of Wayne and Washtenaw Counties since 1955. Dingell was born July 8, 1926 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Over the last five decades, Congressman Dingell has championed some of the best known laws protecting our health and our environment, as well as the rights of workers and consumers including the 1990 Clean Air Act the Endangered Species Act. Most recently, Dingell and Rick Boucher (D-VA) released their "discussion draft" of climate change legislation that has been two years in the making [
See WIMS 10/7/08]. An effort which many environmental organizations said was short of what was needed to seriously address the global warming issue.

Representative Waxman represents California's 30th Congressional District, which includes the complete cities of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Westlake Village and West Hollywood, as well as such areas of Los Angeles as Beverly-Fairfax, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Beverlywood, Topanga, Agoura, Chatsworth, West Hills, Canoga Park, and Westwood. Waxman is regarded as a leader on health and environmental issues and during this past year has conducted extensive investigations of U.S. EPA's denial of California's petition to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles; EPA's revision of the national ambient air quality standards for ozone and the President's use of executive privilege to withhold thousands of pages of documents. Waxman introduced the Safe Climate Act of 2006 [See WIMS 6/20/06] and was also one of the primary authors of the 1990 Clean Air Act.

Waxman's Safe Climate Act would freeze the level of emissions in 2010; gradually reduced by 2% each year through 2020, and then reduced by 5% each year through 2050. The Act would achieve the targets through a flexible economy-wide cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions, along with measures to advance technology and reduce emissions through renewable energy, energy efficiency, and cleaner cars.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) issued a statement saying, “Chairman Waxman has been a leader on global warming for many years, and we look forward to working closely with him in this new role. Our nation faces many challenges, including the climate crisis, and Congressman Waxman understands that we can’t delay in taking on these issues. After many years of working with Congressman Dingell on toxics, endangered species, and EPA-related issues, we recognize his important contributions. We will continue to work with him and others in Congress on our nation’s most pressing environmental, energy and global warming challenges.”

Access the Energy & Commerce Committee website (
click here). Access Representative Waxman's website (click here). Access Representative Dingell's website (click here). Access a release from NRDC (click here). Access various news reports on the Waxman victory (click here).