Barbara Boxer (a.k.a. The “Queen of Green”) and the Environment and Public Works Committee in the Senate are holding hearings which will affect energy production in more than thirty states. They’re debating new EPA regulations to be placed on coal fired power plants which will likely result in many of those plants being taken off line, if not shut down permanently. This, in turn, results in thousands of workers being laid off and higher energy costs for everyone else. One of the hardest hit states will be Texas, but don’t expect to see Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) there. His invitation seems to have been lost in the mail.
Republicans are complaining that California’s Barbara Boxer, the Senate’s foremost environmentalist, won’t let Sen. John Cornyn participate in a committee hearing tomorrow that affects Texas.
Cornyn is not a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Republicans claim Boxer has allowed fellow Democrats who aren’t members of the committee to participate at such hearings in the past when they affected a senator’s state. A Democratic committee aide says those hearings addressed purely regional issues, whereas tomorrow’s deals with a new regulation that will affect 31 states.
That pending EPA regulation would further restrict coal-fired power plants’ emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. The EPA didn’t include Texas in this rule when it was proposed in Aug. 2010. However, the agency later announced that Texas’ plan for controlling downwind pollution from its coal-fired power plans was inadequate.
It’s hardly unusual for members to request an invitation to hearings held by committees they don’t hold a seat on, particularly if the subject matter will potentially have a large effect on their home turf. And as long as everyone conducts themselves in a professional manner, it’s not an issue. One might well say that the standard would be to default to honoring such a request. This seems pretty thin skinned and petty on the part of Boxer.
The voters of Texas sent Cornyn to Washington to represent their interests. If the potential loss of that many jobs and jacking up their energy costs isn’t of interest to Texans, I don’t know what is. Senator Boxer needs to stop playing games like this and get down to serious business. Besides, she might not want to tick off her Lone Star State colleague too much, given that California gets a significant portion of its energy from Texas.
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