The 2012 election results are in, the 113th Congress has convened, and with them come shakeups in the House committees that drive policymaking and provide oversight for domestic energy policy, including for hydraulic fracturing.
The Committee on Energy and Commerce, which is the primary committee with jurisdiction over energy issues, has instituted significant changes, especially to the power structure of its subcommittees.
Rep. Terry (R-NE) takes over as chair of the Commerce, Manufacturing & Trade subcommittee from Rep. Bono Mack (R-CA), who was defeated in her bid for reelection last year. Rep. Terry is known to be a supporter of domestic energy extraction, and is working on a bill with Rep. Whitfield (R-KY) to strip fracking oversight responsibilities from the federal government and devolve those responsibilities to the states.
Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL) takes over from Rep. Butterfield (D-NC) as the Ranking Member of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade subcommittee. In the 112th Congress, Rep. Schakowsky sponsored the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2011, which would have removed the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act, and required the contents of fracking fluids to be publicly disclosed. The bill never made it out of subcommittee review, but it is notable that Rep. Butterfield was not one of the 73 co-sponsors of the bill.
Rep. Tonko (D-NY) has taken over as the Ranking Member of the Environment and Economy subcommittee from Rep. Green (D-TX). Rep. Green is known to be a supporter of domestic energy, including energy produced from hydraulic fracturing, and joined the Natural Gas Caucus this past February. Rep. Tonko, while not necessarily an opponent of fracking or natural gas power, has been a major proponent of “clean energy” and efficiency technology development, and has written legislation to improve gas turbine efficiency, authorize wind energy R&D, and promote combined heat and power.
The Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which has jurisdiction over energy research and the commercial application of energy technology, sat eleven new Democrats and seven new Republicans. Major changes include the replacement of Rep. Hall (R-TX) with Rep. Smith (R-TX) as chairman of the full committee, and the replacement of Rep. Quayle (R-AZ) with Rep. Massie (R-KY) as chairman of the Technology subcommittee. Rep. Quayle was defeated in a primary by fellow sitting Republican Rep. Schweikert (R-AZ), necessitated by the redrawing of Rep. Quayle’s district after the 2010 Census.
The Committee on Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction over mineral and petroleum resources on public lands, has not instituted significant changes from the 112th Congress. Rep. Sablan (D-NMI) has taken over from Rep. Christensen (D-VI) as the ranking member of the Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs subcommittee, but the remainder of the power structure has remained intact.
Here is a breakdown of the changes for each of the three committees:
Committee on Energy and Commerce
Upton (R-MI) remains chairman.
Blackburn (R-TN) becomes vice chair.
New Members: Bilarkis (R-FL), Ellmers (R-NC), Hall (R-TX), Johnson (R-OH), Long (R-MO)
Commerce, Manufacturing & Trade:
113th Chair: Terry (R-NE), 112th Chair: Bono Mack (R-CA)
Oversight and Investigations:
113th Chair: Murphy (R-PA), 112th Chair: Stearns (R-FL)
Waxman (D-CA) remains RM.
New Members: McNerney (D-CA), Braley (D-IA), Welch (D-VT)
Environment and Economy Subcommittee:
113th RM: Tonko (D-NY), 112th RM: Green (D-TX)
Commerce, Manufacturing & Trade:
113th RM: Schakowsky, 112th RM: Butterfield (D-NC)
Committee on Science, Space and Technology
113th Chair: Rep. Smith (R-TX), 112th Chair: Rep. Hall (R-TX)
113th Chair: Rep. Massie (R-KY), 112th Chair: Rep. Quayle (R-AZ).
New Members: Rep. Posey (R-FL), Schweikert (R-FL), Rep. Stockman (R-TX), Rep. Bridenstine (R-OK), Rep. Cramer (R-ND), Rep. Stewart (R-UT), Rep. Weber (R-TX)
Johnson (D-TX) remains RM.
New Members: Swalwell (D-CA), Maffei (D-NY), Grayson (D-FL), Kennedy (D-MA), Peters (D-CA), Kilmer (D-WA), Bera (D-CA), Esty (D-CT), Veasey (D-TX), Brownley (D-CA), Takano (D-CA)
Committee on Natural Resources
Hastings (R-WA) remains chairman.
New Members: Lummis (R-WY), Cramer (R-ND), Daines (R-MT), LaMalfa (R-CA), Mullin (R-OK), Stewart (R-UT)
Markey (D-MA) remains RM.
New Members: Cardenas (D-CA), Horsford (D-NV), Huffman (D-CA), Ruiz (D-CA), Shea Porter (D-NH), Lowenthal (D-CA), Garcia (D-FL), Cartwright (D-PA)
Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs:
113th RM: Sablan (D-NMI), 112th RM: Christensen (D-VI)