This past Thursday, popular Democratic Congressman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif) announced that he would be retiring from the House of Representatives at the end of his current term. The decision came as a shock to many within the political community, as Waxman has spent four decades becoming one of the most prolific – and respected – politicians of modern times. But no one will feel this loss more acutely than clean energy advocates, who have relied on Waxman's likability and forcefulness to further their environmental agenda.
Rep. Waxman serves as the ranking Democratic Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, a broad group that oversees many different aspects of government regulation, including air quality, environmental health and the supply and delivery of energy. The group has jurisdiction over five Cabinet level departments, including the Department of Energy. Waxman has been instrumental in passing legislation dedicated to environmental protection since the early 1990s, and has been a strong advocate for stronger regulations to be enforced by the EPA and more oversight of greenhouse gas emissions.
"Forty years have gone by very quickly. I have a great deal of satisfaction in our legislative accomplishments. This is a good time to move on and have another chapter," Waxman said in a public statement. He then went on to criticize the current political climate of Congress, believing it has now become too difficult to pass any kind of major legislation.
Whatever his reasons, it is clear that energy efficiency organizations will be at a loss when Waxman is out of Congress. There are few lawmakers with his expertise on the issues willing to fight for a cleaner United States.
Even with Waxman leaving Congress, it is important to be aware of your own environmental impact. Improve the energy efficiency of your home by having an energy audit from Alban Inspections.