Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plans to renew her select committee to address global warming next year, ending speculation that she would terminate the panel to clear the way for the next chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
"It is my intention to put forth a renewal of that committee in the new Congress," the speaker told reporters on Friday.
Pelosi established the committee to move forward on climate change legislation during his first year as speaker. Most observers saw the move as a way to strong arm outgoing chairman of the Energy and Commerce panel, Michigan Rep. John D. Dingell, who fought previous efforts to limit carbon emissions.
But California Rep. Henry A. Waxman ousted Dingell on Thursday, fueling speculation that Pelosi might terminate the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
Waxman, who sought to limit the legislative authority of that select committee at its inceptions, has signaled his intent to move a comprehensive climate change bill next year. He sent the speaker a letter in October, before even announcing his intent to oust Dingell, that called on Pelosi to advance legislation reducing carbon emissions by 15 percent in 2020.
"We do have need for one more term because their work is not finished," the speaker said. "We don't have the climate change legislation that I had hoped we might be closer to at this point. The committee serves a tremendous intellectual resource for me."
Last year, Pelosi forced Dingell to accept a bill that included higher fuel-efficiency limits on cars and trucks, but the legislation didn't go as far as she had hoped. She told reporters on Friday that she would let the incoming Obama administration take the leader on a comprehensive energy overhaul that should include climate change components.
The speaker also wants Massachusetts Rep. Edward J. Markey to remain chairman of the select committee.