A perfect footnote to the new Republican House majority's decision last week to to put the kibosh on the Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared today that 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest year on record (dating back to 1880.)
There's really not much more to say about this. Nancy Pelosi created the Committee in 2006, shortly after the Democrats took over the House. So tit for tat is fair play. The real climate change fight over the next two years won't be taking place in Congress, but instead will focus on whether or not Republicans are able to neuter the EPA's efforts to limit greenhouse gas regulations.
The Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, which has first-crack jurisdiction over the Environmental Protection Agency budget before the full committee takes it up, will be chaired by Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). Simpson promises to be an anti-EPA attack dog as subcommittee chair. His website has this:
"As Chairman, Congressman Simpson will be tasked with reducing spending levels that have grown out of control in recent years under Democrat control. In particular, he has his eyes set on the EPA, which has seen exponential growth in its budget since President Obama came into office. 'The EPA is the scariest agency in the federal government, an agency run amok,' Simpson said. 'Its bloated budget has allowed it to drastically expand its regulatory authority in a way that is hurting our economy and pushing an unwelcomed government further into the lives of Idahoans. As Chairman of this subcommittee, I look forward to bringing some common sense to the EPA and some certainty for our nation's job creators.'"
Exponential growth? President Obama did indeed hike EPA's budget significantly in his first budget, from 7.6 billion to 10.3 billion. But his second budget, for the fiscal year 2011, actually cut the proposed appropriation to 10.02 billion.
Perhaps Rep. Simpson needs a remedial course in the definition of "exponential growth."