Cathy’s Climate Change Coming Out
From “Save the Dams” to “Drill, Baby, Drill"
For at least a decade U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ (CD5, eastern Washington) stock pivot from any question relating to the science of global warming was, “I’m for saving the dams! They make clean, renewable energy!” In a similar vein, whenever the northwest is blanketed with choking smoke from widespread forest fires, Cathy’s stock pivot solution to any question that might link forest fires to climate change is “Reduce forest fuels!” The consummate smiling, baby-cooing politician, McMorris Rodgers has studiously avoided making any public statement suggestive of her full-on denial of climate science.
Now, after more than a decade of pivots, buzzwords, and obfuscation, thanks to the new slim Republican majority in the House, McMorris Rodgers, having risen in the U.S. House Republican hierarchy by seniority, has become the leader of the powerful United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce. She is finally in a position to actually help move the country to produce more of that “clean, renewable” energy like the energy produced by the Snake River dams she disingenuously touts. Instead, she is more clearly showing her colors.
While she lulls her constituents back home in Washington State with platitudes about renewable energy, her first action as the new leader of the Energy and Commerce Committee is an important re-naming. You won’t learn of this in the Spokesman Review, but her action was headlined “House Republicans announce major shakeup for key committee that oversees energy, health, technology policy” on Fox News (the bold is mine):
“…We are reorienting our subcommittees to ensure our work tackles the greatest challenges and most important priorities of the day, including lowering energy costs, beating China, and building a more secure future," she [McMorris Rodgers] continued.
Under the changes, the Energy Subcommittee will change to the Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee; the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee will switch to the Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Minerals Subcommittee; and the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee will now be the Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee.
Changing a name might seem like a small thing, but you can bet that changing the name of a powerful Congressional subcommittee—and, with it, that over which it has jurisdiction—is not done on a whim. It speaks volumes. In 2012-22 McMorris Rodgers was the top recipient of PAC money among all House members, the winner both of the most PAC money overall, but also the leader among recipients of Business PAC money—precisely because she was in line to lead Energy and Commerce and because she is committed to fossil fuel energy as the ascendent driver of the economy and, therefore, of national wealth and power.
She can be counted on by the fossil fuel companies to drive their agenda on account of her steadfast Fundamentalist upbringing and faith, a faith that acts like a shield to prevent her from understanding, or even hearing, the scientific consensus on global warming. (If you subscribe, as she proudly proclaims, to the literal interpretation of Genesis as the origin story of the earth and all of life, then an ice core from the Greenland ice sheet demonstrating the history of climate over the last 100,000 years must be dismissed as a least misinterpreted—or even as the work of the devil trying to deceive mankind from the one true Word.)
Danny Westneat, in a November 19, 2022 article in the Seattle Times, puts McMorris Rodgers’ commitment to the fossil fuel agenda in perspective:
One of her largest categories is oil and gas, with donations from Koch Industries, Marathon Petroleum, Chevron, Southwest Gas, Occidental Petroleum and so on. McMorris Rodgers scored $270,000 in oil and gas contributions — more than the rest of Washington state’s 12-member congressional delegation combined, federal finance reports show.
She has been open about using her new position to push for drill, baby, drill. She calls it “flip the switch.”
“We need to Flip the Switch on American energy now to bring down costs,” she said in a recent Energy and Commerce news release, meaning ramping up “coal, oil, natural gas, hydropower, and nuclear power.”
Notice that coal and oil get first billing, while solar and wind are not mentioned at all. McMorris Rodgers has been one of Congress’ top skeptics of a green energy transition, as well as a booster for coal mining, restarting the Keystone oil pipeline, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and selling more oil-drilling leases on federal lands and offshore waters.
Now, three months after Westneat’s article, McMorris Rodgers is in charge of Energy and Commerce—and she is all about “flipping the switch”, starting with renaming subcommittees to bury any commitment to climate and renewable energy and in favor of drilling, digging, and burning more fossil fuel. Remember that next summer as we choke on wildfire smoke, the Southwest goes dry, and “100 year storms” occur many times each year. McMorris Rodgers, the doctrinally committed devotee of the fossil fuel companies, will be working hard to make things worse.
Keep to the high ground,
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