Energy and Environment
The Committee has conducted energy oversight through the years as it pertains to national security, alternative sources of energy, oil spills, the skyrocketing cost of oil, and the regulation of the energy industry.
Most recently, the Committee held a series of hearings to determine if all regulations protecting the public health, safety, and environment are useful and necessary. Following the 2009 BP oil spill, the Committee held hearings on the effectiveness of drilling regulations. The Committee looked into trading on the commodity markets as it affected the skyrocketing cost of oil. And the Committee investigated the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's oversight of the energy industry and produced legislation to secure the electric grid.
The Committee has historically examined the effect of regulatory policy on the environment. During the Bush Administration, the Committee sought transparency and accountability for Vice President Cheney's secret energy task force. It conducted extensive overisght of EPA's implementation of regulations; pressed the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture Department onthe protection of wilderness and wildlife; highway construction on federal lands; and development and logging in pristine areas. The Committee further questioned the effort during the Bush Admnistration to manipulate global warming reports and it asked for the first investigation of Steven Griles, the #2 official of the Interior Department, for conflicts of interest. Griles was convicted four years later as part of the Abramoff lobbying scandal.