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Senate Dems Are Staffing Up To Take On American Energy Companies

Senate Democrats are hiring multiple staffers with experience in climate policy after incoming Democratic Senate Budget Committee Chair Sheldon Whitehouse said that he is seeking to investigate energy companies’ alleged efforts to spread “disinformation.”

Whitehouse, who has consistently pushed for climate legislation, told E&E News in early January that he wants to investigate the fossil fuel industry’s “pattern of deceit” as Democrats on the House Oversight Committee had done previously. Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii is currently looking to hire a senior advisor that will lead his climate and environment team and a legislative assistant that will serve on the same team as well as advise the senator on energy policy, according to job postings listed on the senator’s website.

In October 2021, Democratic California Rep. Ro Khanna, former chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on the Environment, and former Democratic Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney began investigating large oil companies after accusing them of hiding scientific evidence that linked their operations to climate change.

The climate team leader, who must have at least 15 years of experience, will also assist the senator with his duties on the Senate Appropriations Committee and receive up to $130,000 annually as a salary, according to the job posting. The legislative assistant, who will receive a $70,000 salary, will also oversee Schatz’s energy work on the committee and must have at least 8 years of experience and “a thorough understanding of and considerable experience in climate and environmental policy.”

Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee previously sought to employ a “climate policy expert” as well as staffers who have experience investigating fossil fuel companies and “dark money” influence campaigns. The committee also attempted to employ an economist who would advise the lawmakers on climate policy and “pollution-related matters.”

Schatz, who won reelection for his second Senate term in November, called on President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency in June and also heads the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. The senator also hailed the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, a spending package that put hundreds of billions of taxpayer money toward green energy programs and imposed new fees on the fossil fuel industry.

Schatz’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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