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House Democrats Tap Rep. Kathy Castor As Climate Panel Leader

by Axios | Updated on 12.21.18

E&E News and the Tampa Bay Times report that House Democratic leaders have tentatively selected Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) to head the select committee on climate change they're reviving next year.

Why it matters: It's a tangible sign of the committee's makeup and direction. Castor represents a state and a region on the front lines of the effects of climate change, which is causing sea-level rise and more intense storms.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's office declined comment.

"We need to raise the profile of the climate crisis. People are demanding action and don't understand why we're not leading the world on climate change innovation."

Rep. Kathy Castor

The intrigue: Castor, first elected in 2006, has a 93% rating from the League of Conservation Voters.

But her remarks to E&E News rankled activists pushing Democrats to adopt Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's plan for a Select Committee on a Green New Deal. They envision the panel writing a sweeping climate, energy and economic legislative proposal that's ready for launch in 2020.

  • Castor told E&E News that Green New Deal advocates have some "terrific ideas," but added, "that's not going to be our sole focus."
  • Castor also signaled that she did not believe members who have taken money from fossil fuel interests should be barred from the committee, a goal of activists.
  • However, she later told HuffPost, "Maybe that’s a discussion we need to have in the caucus."

What they're saying: "Without a mandate to create a plan and a requirement that its members don’t take fossil fuel money, we are deeply concerned that this committee will be just another of the many committees we’ve seen failing our generation our entire lives," said Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the Sunrise Movement that's pushing Ocasio-Cortez's plan.

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(33)
  • TrulyTexan
    12/21/2018
    ···

    Have to agree. The only reason we do not have alternate energy sources and clean environment regulation is the power of the fossil fuel lobbyists. No bribed politicians should be allowed on a committee or have a vote on any issue for which they have taken money.

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  • Thelma
    Voted Apathetic
    12/21/2018
    ···

    If she’s taking money from coal and gas, she is not the person we need in charge here.

    Like (4)
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  • Joel
    Voted Happy
    12/24/2018
    ···

    I have mixed feelings about this. Florida may be the first state underwater due to rising seas and I would hate to see Mar-a-Lago spared. No climate change you say? Why is President Bone Spurs building a sea wall around his Scottish Golf Course? Hummm.....

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  • Linda
    Voted Sad
    12/25/2018
    ···

    Caster is not the right choice to lead on climate change. She took money from the fossil industries & probable will side with them over our environment & wild life. We need solar & wind energy. Save our planet.

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  • Richard
    12/21/2018
    ···

    Castor takes money from Big Oil and while Pelosi and the Old Guard might not see a problem with that, the rest of us who actually understand the ramifications of climate change do. It's like putting Colonel Sanders in charge of your pet chicken. We need fresh voices who aren't tainted by corporate money.

    Like (5)
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  • Milan
    Voted Apathetic
    12/21/2018
    ···

    Okay - so turns out she takes money from big oil - can we have someone that hasn’t been bought in government ? Please

    Like (3)
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  • Steph
    Voted Sad
    12/24/2018
    ···

    If she’s taking money from coal and gas, she is not the person we need in charge here.

    Like (1)
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  • Steven
    Voted Happy
    12/24/2018
    ···

    Someone needs to look out for our environment.

    Like (1)
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  • John
    Voted Apathetic
    12/21/2018
    ···

    No member who takes money from the fossil fuel lobby should be allowed on a committee setting “green” policy. Let’s get over our filthy fossil fuel habit and start on the road to recovery.

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  • ColonelMoose
    Voted Apathetic
    12/21/2018
    ···

    Meh....another useless committee

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  • Matias
    Voted Apathetic
    12/24/2018
    ···

    She seems like a good choice for the committee. Maybe we should have 1 person who has accepted fossil fuel money on the committee, to provide different viewpoints. Don't get me wrong, I am a full believer in climate change, but if we don't have another viewpoint in the committee, imagine what it will be like when it comes to the full house, where a large percent of representatives have accepted fossil fuel money. Without that other viewpoint to force compromise, nothing will get past the full house.

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  • Phillip
    Voted Sad
    12/22/2018
    ···

    Should have been Orcasio-Cortez. No one taking any money from anyone should be on a committee or in congress. Congress and the government as a whole needs to be beholding to their constituents and no one else. If the constituents push for something that a corporation wants too then they are doing something right. Further to that the whole USA needs to be redistricted to remove all the gerrymandered ones.

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  • Derek
    Voted Apathetic
    12/21/2018
    ···

    We need to take IMMEDIATE action on the climate! The Green New Deal already has policies in place for launch in 2020. This committee doesn’t assure us that they can work that quickly. Please help protect our beautiful lands and resources and pressure this panel to develop an immediate plan! Or better yet, nominate Ocasión-Cortez to the Panel to continue to develop the Green New Deal!

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  • BarneyNoble
    Voted Apathetic
    12/22/2018
    ···

    It’s good news that the House is reviving its climate change committee. However, that it will be headed by someone who may have taken donations from fossil fuel companies is cause for some concern. Another cause for concern is that the Democrats are splintered between the older guard (Pelosi and others) that take donations from almost any company and feel obligated to pay them favors for donating and a new and rising group that only accepts donations from certain places they agree with and from individuals. However, as long as there is action on climate change, positive action, that is a good thing.

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  • Milan
    Voted Apathetic
    12/21/2018
    ···

    Let’s move things FORWARD people - now!

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  • Bernie
    12/21/2018
    ···

    The only reason we do not have an alternate fuel source is one does not exist with the efficiency of breaking up the carbon molecule with the exception of nuclear which can not be done to scale. PS YOU PLUG IN ELECTRIC CARS. Where do you think the power comes from? (Hint: not wind. Not solar.)

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  • TAKM
    Voted Sad
    12/21/2018
    ···

    Wow, I can't wait for us to sink tons of money and time into a committee that is going to do nothing at all

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  • Leon
    Voted Sad
    12/21/2018
    ···

    Another radical.

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  • Chuck
    Voted Sad
    12/23/2018
    ···

    Climate Change is a United Nations fear mongering HOAX! It’s not about safety for the environment it’s about enslavement over the the masses!!!

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  • Linda
    Voted Apathetic
    12/22/2018
    ···

    Congress needs to remember that they represent the PEOPLE, not corporations!!!

    Like (1)
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