Dec. 6, 2010— -- All of the contenders in line to head the prestigious House committees responsible for setting America's energy and science policy are global warming skeptics, and that's causing scientists to worry that Republicans will use their new positions for political grandstanding at the expense of scientific advancement.
The Republicans, who will take over leadership of the House in January, have not yet announced who will chair the Energy and Commerce Committee or the Science and Technology Committee, but the short lists for both committees consist solely of congressmen who question the veracity of climate change.
Already, Republican Speaker-elect John Boehner of Ohio has fired an opening salvo against Democratic inroads on climate change policy, announcing last week that the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, a pet project of outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would be dismantled.
"This is a very partisan world and most Republicans are already focused on the 2012 presidential election," said Marchant Wentworth, a spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "While they play politics, sound science is being trampled in the process."
"Clean air and clean water are at stake. Why use these for a political agenda to whip up a partisan situation?" he asked.
Boehner has said he wants to restore the independence and authority of the committee chairs.
The fight to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee is shaping up to be one of the most contentious.