More oversight of Interior, EPA, and USDA in the 114th Congress

By Spencer Chase

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2014 - A new subcommittee will spend the next two years keeping an eye on the administration's energy, environmental, and agricultural policies.

Incoming Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, announced in a release that he plans to create the Interior Subcommittee, which will follow issues related to the Department of Interior, Department of Energy, EPA, and USDA. Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming's at-large representative since 2009, will chair the subcommittee.

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In the 113th Congress, the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care & Entitlements, handled a broad range of issues from domestic energy production to the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. Chaffetz said there was a prospect for this subcommittee to tackle a broader array of issues.

“When assessing the future of the committee and our goals, we saw an opportunity to make some changes, which includes modifications to subcommittee issue areas and titles,” Chaffetz said in a statement, adding that the changes will allow the subcommittees “to take a new approach to addressing the matters that come before the committee.”

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The newly created subcommittee could have impacts on agriculture and rural policy through looming debates on the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Power Plan proposed rule, and the Waters of the U.S. proposed rule, to name a few. Final rules are upcoming on the CPP and WOTUS proposed rules, and many lawmakers have been critical of the use of the ESA, saying its scope is broadening much further than original congressional intent.

Chaffetz said other subcommittees will include Government Operations, Health Care, Benefits, & Administrative Rules, Information Technology, National Security, and Transportation and Public Assets.

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