The Hill has a story today about Raúl Grijalva leading an investigation into a second BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico that had not been properly inspected and may not have been run legally. Grijalva first voiced concerns about this platform, a larger one than the Deepwater Horizon that spilled this year, back in February.
Grijalva’s power to do such investigations is going to be curtailed by the changes in the incoming congress. The new chair of the Natural Resources Committee will be Doc Hastings of Washington. Hastings isn’t a BP apologist like incoming Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Joe Barton, and in fact, supported giving subpoena power to a commitee investigating BP. But, his record has largely been one supporting oil, gas, mining and timber (he’s a former paper company executive), and it’s doubtful that he’d use his position to further probe what the oil industry is doing in it’s off shore operations.
There was talk that Grijalva could move up to ranking member of the committee, which would give him some power to do investigations. However, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, whose chairmanship of the Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming is about to go away (the committee, for obvious reasons, is likely to be dissolved), wanted the ranking member spot. Being that Markey is senior to Grijalva (Markey was first elected ’round about the time Grijalva first served on the TUSD school board), he got the slot. Grijalva will be ranking member of the Subcommittee on National Parks.
In an interesting side note, Hastings is already in a bit of a kerfuffle with Barton. Hastings wants the Energy and Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction over energy issues moved to his committee. Being that incoming chair Barton is from Texas, it is less than likely he will gladly relinquish jurisdiction over energy.