We recently told you about the new fossil fuel–loving senators who were just elected, but they’re not the ones who’ll be causing the most trouble. The more tenured senators who’ll assume the Senate’s leadership posts are the ones you really need to watch out for — and they’re just as prone to silly science denial as the freshmen.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and the new Republican committee chairs will dictate what bills and amendments get considered, and will help set the public agenda by holding hearings, producing reports, and pumping out press releases.
Most of the outgoing Democratic committee chairs, with the notable exception of Energy Committee Chair Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, are climate hawks. Last week, four of them sent a letter to President Obama urging him to press forward on reducing carbon emissions and forging an international climate agreement. They have good reason to worry: Their Republican replacements will do everything in their power to force Obama to give up on regulating greenhouse gases.
Here’s what you need to know about the Republicans who are likely to be elected to leadership positions with the most influence over climate and energy policy: