1. Update
  2. Environment & Energy

House Announces Members of House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis

By Milo Keller, March 6, 2019

The House of Representatives officially announced the membership of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis on Monday, March 4. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14) will act as its chair, with Rep. Garret Graves (LA-06) as its ranking member.

The Select Committee’s membership will also include Democratic Reps. Ben Ray Lujàn (NM-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Sean Casten (IL-06), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Mike Levin (CA-49), Donald McEachin (VA-04), and Joe Neguse (CO-02), and Republican Reps. Gary Palmer (AL-06), Morgan Griffith (VA-09), Kelly Armstrong (ND-at-large), Carol Miller (WV-03), and Buddy Carter (GA-01).

This Select Committee is a revival of a similar ad-hoc body Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) created during her previous tenure as Speaker of the House, then called the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Although it did play a role in the House’s approval of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, it was also was characterized by partisanship and irresponsible climate denialism.

This iteration of the Select Committee, we hope, will function much differently.

FCNL was pleased that Speaker Pelosi appointed Rep. Castor, who has a strong climate record, to chair the committee. Castor has deep experience in the environmental space before serving in Congress and has been a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee for more than 10 years, serving as its vice-ranking member in the 115th Congress.

Other Democrats on the committee have strong environmental and climate records as well. Their diverse backgrounds, strong voting records in the House, and districts that are uniquely affected by climate change make them well equipped to take on the climate crisis. Some have experience in the clean energy industry, and others bring an environmental justice lens to their climate work.

We were also encouraged by Rep. Graves’s appointment as ranking member, as he publicly acknowledges climate science and previously managed the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. While we were disappointed that Rep. Rooney, one of the strongest Republican climate champions in the House and an engaged member of the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus, did not get appointed to the Select Committee, it is encouraging to see a ranking member who takes the crisis seriously.

Some Republican members of the Select Committee have recently made encouraging statements on climate change as well. We remain concerned that others will not take the climate crisis seriously. Many represent states dependent on fossil fuels. Others are part of a group of lawmakers who have introduced legislation to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gasses, perpetuate the myth of clean coal, and have personal business ties to the oil industry.

While the Select Committee was not given legislative authority, it will serve an important role in the 116th Congress, holding hearings and forums on climate change in partnership with other Congressional committees and across the country.

Moving forward, we hope, with Rep. Castor and Graves’ leadership, the Select Committee will serve as a body for bipartisan dialogue, cooperation, and action on the growing climate crisis. We have no time to waste denying science or delaying Congressional action. It’s time to act on climate.

Milo Keller

  • Program Assistant, Sustainable Energy and Environment

Milo Keller served as the Program Assistant for Sustainable Energy and Environment for 2018-2019.