Sensenbrenner Plans to Keep Pelosi-Devised Global Warming Panel

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner says he wants Republicans to rebrand but keep the global warming committee devised by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and maligned by many conservatives.

Writing an op-ed that appeared in Monday's Roll Call newspaper, Sensenbrenner, who's ranking Republican on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said he's not suggesting it as an homage to Pelosi's foresight.

Instead, the panel can act as a counterweight to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from taking executive action on issues Congress hasn't approved.

"The complexity of EPA regulations and international climate negotiations warrants a committee dedicated to ensuring that our environmental policies have the balance that the EPA has proven unable to find," Sensenbrenner wrote.

Noting that Republicans were elected to exhibit fiscal prudence, including in its own operations, he said keeping the committee as a watchdog would pay for itself.

"Far from being a cost, I believe that by ensuring that environmental concerns are appropriately balanced against economic considerations, the Select Committee will save the country billions of dollars and countless jobs," he wrote.

Sensenbrenner argued that the EPA tried to "cook the books" to make the Democratic "cap-and-trade" bill sound more affordable even though it "knew its assumptions were impossible and admitted that the cost estimates would be much higher without them."

Sensenbrenner added that other environmental proposals proffered by the special panel, including new standards for industrial boilers and process heaters and support for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as seen in international agreements, are too costly in terms of jobs and taxes.

But since the legislation failed in Congress, EPA may try to accelerate efforts "to regulate greenhouse gas emissions by fiat," he warned. And that's where a Republican majority has to come in and make sure that new regulations for environmental programs don't end up costing more federal dollars or jobs.

"Now that Republicans have retaken the House, the Select Committee is more qualified than any other congressional institution to ensure the administration doesn't bend to unrealistic international demands -- and that the EPA doesn’t attempt to do what Congress wouldn't," he said

Sensenbrenner added that the GOP wouldn't just be a party of no, so to speak.

According to the congressman, the new majority on the panel could "work with Democrats in Congress and with the White House to further technological developments in the energy sector and broaden our energy portfolio without risking economic ruin."

So far, the congressman has not heard from Republican leaders, his spokesman Terry Lane told, but Sensenbrenner doesn't want to bank on the election alone to stop Obama administration proposals, but the "tall hurdle" of an experienced panel.

"The American public put Republicans in charge because they want Congress to fight for the environment with polices that don't kill jobs. The threat of the EPA's reach into the economy is so great that it deserves special attention this Congress, and no panel has developed more experience on these topics than the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming," Sensenbrenner said in a statement.

Click here to read the op-ed.