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House Puts Fossil-Fuel-Funded Member in Charge of New Energy "Oversight" Subcommittee

2 min. read

I don't know if members of the U.S. House of Representatives tend to have dry senses of humor, are a particularly sarcastic/snarky bunch, or simply have a deep appreciation for the absurd and ironic.  Whatever the case may be, this story certainly fits the bill on all counts.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will add a new energy subcommittee next Congress, the committee announced Wednesday.

Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) will chair the new Energy Policy, Healthcare and Entitlements subcommittee, which will allow Oversight members to call for testimony on cross-jurisdictional energy policies.

Who is James Lankford, you might wonder?  For starters, he's heavily funded by the fossil fuel industry. How much so? Since 1999, Lankford's received nearly $300,000 from Devon Energy ($45,060), Chesapeake Energy ($20,650), Koch Industries ($15,000), ConocoPhillips ($11,000), ExxonMobil ($8,450), and many more.

What have the fossil fuel companies gotten for their money? For starters, Lankford is a climate science denier extraordinaire, claiming (erroneously, of course) that "[t]his whole global warming myth will be exposed as what it really is — a way of control more than anything else."  Lankford also opposes cap-and-trade legislation, commenting that it's a way for the federal government to "tax the use of air."

As if all that's not bad enough, Lankford strongly defends the billions of dollars in wasteful, taxpayer-funded corporate welfare doled out to oil companies every year, claiming that it's just "a drop in the bucket."   On his website, Lankford expresses support for the "American Energy Initiative," a bill focused heavily on increasing fossil fuel production, but which would "undermine regulations put in place to prevent another disaster along the lines of the Deepwater Horizon incident," and would grant permits for offshore oil drilling "regardless of whether the applicant satisfied safety standards." Most recently, Lankford voted against renewing the wind energy Production Tax Credit, even as he supports continued, multi-billion-dollar subsidies for the mature, highly profitable fossil fuel industry.

The bottom line? Clearly, anti-clean-energy forces in the U.S. House of Representatives have set up this subcommittee to continue their relentless vendetta against solar, wind, and other forms of clean, renewable energy. Of course, if these people were truly serious about cutting "waste, fraud and abuse" in the energy sector, they would focus their efforts on fossil fuels. But they aren't, so they don't.