- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 22, 2008

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner congratulated Rep. Henry A. Waxman upon his election as the new chairman of the House energy panel, and then warned the California Democrat not to let his state stiffen car-emission standards because of the damage that it likely would do to the nation’s ailing carmakers.

“This change would effectively bar the American auto manufacturers from competing in the largest market in America, unless they make substantial changes in manufacturing that would increase costs to consumers, making the ‘Big 3’ even less competitive - and making their collapse even more likely,” Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, wrote in his letter to Mr. Waxman.

Mr. Boehner, who recently won another term as leader of the House Republicans, repeated a familiar point in his letter: Tougher environmental restrictions likely will cost jobs and further harm the nation’s economy.

“Mr. Waxman has a different perspective on this issue than Mr. Boehner, but he will give his views full consideration,” said Karen Lightfoot, a spokeswoman for Mr. Waxman.

Mr. Waxman’s intra-party coup Thursday that unseated Rep. John D. Dingell, Michigan Democrat, signaled a more liberal, pro-environment tilt for the key House Energy and Commerce Committee in the upcoming session of Congress, observers say.

Environmental and industry groups largely lauded Mr. Waxman’s selection this week, and his congressional colleagues said the move marks a “sea change” from the past eight years in Washington.

But House Republican leaders criticized House Democrats for upending Congress’ informal system of seniority, which largely dictates the ascension to power, by choosing the more junior Mr. Waxman.

California lawmakers have bristled since the Environmental Protection Agency blocked the state’s efforts to impose carbon-emission standards tougher than the federal regulations. Mr. Waxman co-sponsored legislation earlier this year which would have granted the state a waiver, allowing it to impose the tougher standards.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that a special committee investigating global warming would continue its work for two more years.

“I think we do have a need for one more term, because our work is not finished,” Mrs. Pelosi said Friday morning. “We do not have the climate-change legislation that I had hoped we might be closer to, at least at this point. The committee serves a tremendous intellectual resource purpose for me to get the scientific basis for how we go forward, and it is a big problem. It is as big as the world, literally and figuratively.”

Mrs. Pelosi first impaneled the global warming committee in 2007, shortly after ascending to the speaker’s seat. It was widely perceived then as an attempt to do an end run around Mr. Dingell, a longtime champion of the auto industry.

Environmental measures, including cap-and-trade measures to reduce carbon emissions and plans to spend $150 billion on “green” energy projects, are expected to be leading policy initiatives.

The select committee, chaired by Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey, released its final report Friday, squarely pinning the blame for global warming on man-made causes.

“The scientific debate on the cause of global warming is over,” the committee report reads. “A clear scientific consensus now holds that global warming is happening, that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are largely responsible, and that failure to dramatically reduce those emissions in the coming decades will result in catastrophic impacts.”

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