Energy and Commerce Leaders Continue to Press No-Show Agencies for Answers on Climate Activities

October 24, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today followed up on requests to multiple federal agencies for information related to their current and planned climate activities and their role in the president’s Climate Action Plan. The committee invited 13 federal agencies to testify at last month’s Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing on “The Obama Administration’s Climate Change Policies and Activities,” including leading federal agencies currently engaged in research and technology development, as well as domestic and international programs, foreign assistance, and other activities and initiatives. Despite ample notice and repeated outreach to all the agencies, only EPA and DOE accepted the invitation.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Subcommittee Vice Chairman Steve Scalise (R-LA) sent letters to the eleven agencies that declined to testify reiterating the committee’s request for information, writing, “Your agency is one of more than 18 federal agencies currently listed by the Office of Management and Budget as engaged in climate change related activities, and that collectively receive billions of dollars annually in funding for climate change activities.”

“Our oversight of the Obama administration’s climate activities will continue,” said Chairman Whitfield. “Congress’ role is to conduct thorough oversight of agency spending and actions. With billions of dollars currently being spent annually on climate change activities, Congress and the public should understand the scope of what the federal government is doing, how the billions of dollars are being spent, and what it will accomplish. Anyone who believes the committee ought to be focusing its attention on climate change related issues should be standing with us to get these answers."

In addition, the committee leaders wrote to Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell seeking information related to the full scope of climate change activities being carried out across the federal government. The members wrote specifically to follow up on an OMB report entitled “Federal Climate Change Expenditures Report to Congress,” which projects that total 2013 expenditures on climate change activities across 18 agencies will exceed $22 billion. They also requested updated information regarding coordination by federal agencies on climate change activities which were addressed in a May 2011 Government Accountability Office Report entitled, “Improvements Needed to Clarify National Priorities and Better Align Them with Federal Funding Decisions.”

Click HERE to view a copies of the letters sent to the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of State (DOS), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., the Office of Science and Technology (OSTP), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Click HERE to view a copy of the letter sent to OMB.

Click HERE to view a Congressional Research Service report estimating climate change related funding by agency.