Ranking Members Waxman and Rush Call on Committee Republicans to Hold Hearing on Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change

Oct 31, 2012

Today Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman and Energy and Power Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby L. Rush sent a letter to Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield requesting a hearing during the lame duck session on Hurricane Sandy, extreme weather events, and climate change.  Hurricane Sandy is the type of extreme weather event that climate scientists have said will become more common if we fail to reduce our carbon pollution.  The members have written 17 times to request that the Committee examine the topic of climate change but have not received any responses.

The members write, “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.”

The full text of the letter is below and is also available online 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