Cathy McMorris Rodgers will take control of the Energy and Commerce Committee after receiving more money from oil and gas PACs than any other House Republican.

by Donald Shaw, Sludge

The House Republican who received the most oil and gas PAC money in the last election cycle is set to be the next chair of the House committee that oversees national energy policy. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) is expected to be put in charge of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in January when control of the House flips from the Democrats to the Republicans, after serving as the committee’s ranking member in 2021 and 2022. In addition to energy policy, the Energy and Commerce Committee conducts oversight and crafts bills impacting the oil and gas industry through its wide-ranging jurisdiction over policy areas including “environmental protection,” “clean air and climate change,” “safe drinking water,” and “renewable energy and conservation.”

McMorris Rodgers did not face a competitive Democratic challenger and did not need a large campaign war chest, but the oil and gas industry still donated more to her campaign in 2021-2022 than it ever had before.

Oil pump oil rig energy industrial machine for petroleum in the sunset background for design

McMorris Rodgers’ ascension to chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee means that the two primary congressional committees in charge of energy policy will be controlled by oil industry allies. The Senate Energy Committee is chaired by Sen. Joe Manchin, who was the top recipient of oil and gas industry money of any federal candidate in 2021-2022, despite having not been up for re-election that cycle. Manchin, who took a shotgun to Obama’s climate bill in a 2010 campaign ad, has frequently sided with his fossil fuel industry donors, including killing President Biden’s clean energy program proposal that would have imposed fees on power companies that fail to meet emission reductions targets. Manchin and McMorris Rodgers will control Congress’ energy committees just years before the 2030 deadline that United Nations scientists have identified for the world to halve carbon emissions in order to avoid worse climate-related droughts, flooding, and species extinctions.

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