Rep. Joe Barton – You can’t regulate God

But you CAN regulate the airlines, the world’s Air Forces, the Coal companies, and the water born freight business. You can regulate the Navy and you can regulate the 500 largest point of source polluters. But trying to regulate Al Gore proved difficult:

Barton was born in Waco, Texas to Bess Wynell Buice and Larry Linus Barton.[1] He graduated from Waco High School. He attended Texas A&M University in College Station on a Gifford-Hill Opportunity Award scholarship[2] and received a B.S. in industrial engineering in 1972. An M.Sc. in industrial administration from Purdue University followed in 1973. Following college Barton entered private industry until 1981 when he became a White House Fellow and served under Secretary of Energy James B. Edwards. Later, he began consulting for Atlantic Richfield Oil and Gas Co. before being elected to Congress in 1984.[3]

Barton was elected to represent Texas’s 6th congressional district in his first attempt, defeating Democratic opponent Dan Kubiak with 56% of the vote in a contest to succeed Phil Gramm, who left his seat to run for the United States Senate that year. He was one of six freshmen Republican congressmen elected from Texas in 1984 known as the Texas Six Pack. He received 88% of the vote in 2000, 71% of the vote in 2002 against Democratic challenger Felix Alvarado, and 66% of the vote in 2004 against Democratic challenger Morris Meyer.[citation needed]

In 1993, Barton ran in the special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the resignation of Lloyd Bentsen, who became Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration. Barton finished third in the contest and missed a runoff slot.[citation needed]

Congressman Barton is the Ranking Minority Member on the Energy & Commerce Committee.[


Rep. Barton has been regarded as a climate change denier[5] and his opposition to addressing global warming has been consistent and long-term. As a chairman with primary responsibility over the energy sector, Barton has consistently acted over the years to prevent congressional action on global warming.[11] In 2001, Barton declared, “as long as I am chairman, [regulating global warming pollution] is off the table indefinitely. I don’t want there to be any uncertainty about that.”[12] Barton led opposition to amendments that would have recognized global warming during consideration of the Energy Advancement and Conservation Act in 2001, opposing an amendment to require the President to develop and implement a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels as called for by the non-binding United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which the U.S. is a party to.[13] In 2003, Barton again opposed amendments that would have recognized global warming during consideration of the National Energy Policy Act of 2003, opposing a nonbinding amendment that would have put Congress on record as saying that the U.S. should “demonstrate international leadership and responsibility in reducing the health, environmental, and economic risks posed by climate change.”[14] In July 2003, Barton offered an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act to remove language that both recognized global warming and called on President Bush to reengage with the international community to find solutions.[15] In addition, Barton has consistently opposed proposals to reduce the nation’s dependence on oil.[16][17][18]

In 2005, prompted by a February 2005 Wall Street Journal article,[19] Rep. Barton has launched an investigation into two climate change studies from 1998 and 1999.[5] In his letters to the authors of the studies, he requested not just details on the studies themselves but significant information about their entire lives and previous studies. This has been widely regarded as an attempted attack on the scientists rather than a serious attempt to understand the science,[20] although some view it as a normal exercise of the committee’s responsibility and an effort to make possible scientific debate on a subject within its jurisdiction.[21][22] The Washington Post condemned Barton’s investigation as a “witch-hunt“.[23] Environmental Science & Technology, an obscure policy journal often cited by politicians, including Barton, reported what it said was scientific proof that global warming science is wrong.[24] See also Barton’s own response to this controversy in The Dallas Morning News.[25] The dispute expanded with Sherwood Boehlert‘s House Science Committee taking a strong interest.[26]

In 2006, Barton earned two “environmental harm demerits” from the conservative watchdog group Republicans for Environmental Protection, the first “for derailing floor passage of a sense of the House resolution … acknowledging climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”; the second, “for holding hearings, in his role as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, designed to intimidate climate scientists and raise doubt about the impacts and causes of climate change.”[27] The hearings were held by Barton’s committee on July 19, 2006, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; there, several skeptics testified regarding the hockey stick graph.

During Former Vice President Al Gore‘s testimony to the Energy and Commerce Committee in March, 2007, Barton asserted to Gore that “You’re not just off a little, you’re totally wrong,”[28] thus reinforcing his denial that carbon dioxide emissions contribute to global climate change.


The Inquisitor
Rep. Joe Barton
Republican, Texas

As ranking Republican on the House energy committee, Barton is a mini version of Sen. James Inhofe. In his view, the climate is changing for “natural variation reasons,” and humans should just “get shade” and learn to adapt. “For us to try to step in and say we have got to do all these global things to prevent the Earth from getting any warmer is absolute nonsense,” he insists. “You can’t regulate God.”

During the Bush era, Barton bottled up all climate legislation and pushed to open up public lands for drilling by private interests. He also targeted leading climate scientists, demanding that they provide Congress with detailed documentation of their financial interests. (Barton himself has received $1.4 million from oil and gas donors, plus $1.3 million from electric utilities.) The inquisition drew sharp rebukes, even from Barton’s fellow Republicans. Your “purpose seems to be to intimidate scientists rather than to learn from them,” then-Rep. Sherwood Boehlert told Barton. The effort “to have Congress put its thumbs on the scales of a scientific debate” is “truly chilling.”


With liars like this can the republic survive?


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  1. Pingback: Republican Joe Barton v. Al Gore | FrontPageSearch

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