Global warming has finally made its way onto the list of top legislative priorities in Washington. Last Fall, Congress passed an energy bill meant to curb global greenhouse gas emissions by mandating better fuel economy in cars and funding alternative energy development.
This year, the U.S. House of Representatives is making a promise to pass legislation targeting global warming directly. Its not clear yet exactly what provisions will be included in a global warming bill. Some are anticipating a cap-and-trade system for factory emissions, others are looking for a moratorium on traditional coal power plant construction.
Environmental Defense has filtered through all of the Members of the House of Representatives to highlight 10 who hold the most power in either supporting or opposing this important legislation. I will past the list below. I encourage you to contact these Representatives by email, phone or letter and tell them why Global Warming legislation is vital to homeland security, green collar job creation, and a healthier planet for the next generation.
- John Dingell (D-MI) – Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee with jurisdiction over drafting a global warming bill; has been in Congress since 1955 and is the longest serving active member of the House and second longest serving member in history; represents a district with several auto plants; despite close ties to the auto industry, Rep Dingell helped write automobile fuel economy standards in the 1970s and the 1990 Clean Air Act; has promised to move comprehensive global warming legislation through his committee this year.
- Rick Boucher (D-VA) – Chairman of the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee, where global warming legislation would be marked up before moving to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee; represents a rural district in southwestern Virginia with a significant coal-mining constituency; has worked extensively over his 25-year career on technology issues; has pledged to work with Chairman Dingell to move global warming legislation this year.
- Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) – First woman Speaker of the House; has made fighting global warming a top priority for the 2008 session; last year, established a special committee to explore global warming policy options and keep the process moving; promised that after Congress passed the Energy Bill last year, they would begin work on global warming legislation.
- Joe Barton (R-TX) – Former Chairman and current Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; since 1985, has represented Texas's 6th Congressional District, stretching south and east of Dallas-Fort Worth; is a vocal global warming skeptic, having said "I cannot imagine any objective finding that CO2 is a pollutant"; has pledged to lead the fight in the House to stop global warming legislation.
- Edward Markey (D-MA) – Chairman of the newly formed House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming; also serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources; since 1976, has represented Massachusetts 7th Congressional District, which is made up of Boston's northern and western suburbs; for many years has been a strong voice in the Congress for global warming action and energy efficiency.
- Henry Waxman (D-CA) – Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the second-ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee; since 1975, has represented California's 30th Congressional District, a coastal district outside of Los Angeles; introduced one of the most aggressive global warming bills in Congress – the Safe Climate Act – which would adopt a cap-and-trade program to cut America's global warming pollution 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
- Fred Upton (R-MI) – Ranking Republican on the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee; since 1987, has represented Michigan's 6th Congressional District, which is on Lake Michigan's southeastern coast; has a moderate voting record and likes to tout his independence from House Republicans; supports investments in new energy technologies and says we should do something about global warming.
- Jay Inslee (D-WA) – Sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Natural Resources Committee; also serves on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming; is in his 6th term representing Washington's 1st Congressional District, which lies on the Puget Sound just north of Seattle; has introduced various bills to promote clean energy and energy efficiency, including the New Apollo Energy Act; is the author of a new book on clean energy solutions, entitled Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy.
- Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) – Sits on the House Natural Resources Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; is in his 9th term representing Maryland's 1st Congressional District, which lies on the Chesapeake Bay's Eastern Shore; is coauthor of the Olver-Gilchrest Climate Stewardship Act, first introduced in 2004 as the companion bill of the Senate's McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act; this bill would establish an economy-wide cap-and-trade system to cut America's global warming pollution 75% by 2050.
- Mark Kirk (R-IL) – Sits on the House Appropriations Committee and is a member of the House Climate Change Caucus set up to research global warming policy options; is in his 4th term representing Illinois's 10th Congressional District, which is comprised of Chicago's prosperous "North Shore" suburbs; a cosponsor of the Olver-Gilchrest Climate Stewardship Act and an influential member of the group of moderate Republicans in the House.