Energy & Environment: Markey Wants Answers on Rare Earths
• Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., "is pressing the Obama administration for information about alleged Chinese restrictions on the export of rare earth minerals used in defense and energy technologies, warning of threats to U.S. interests," The Hill reports.
• "Three months after BP capped its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico, the state of Louisiana is still building a chain of sand berms off its coast to block and capture oil even as federal officials and many scientists argue that the effort will prove pointless," the New York Times reports.
• An Idaho couple has "sued the state to stop the shipments by Imperial Oil and ConocoPhillips" to an oil sands site in Canada, "arguing that the" truck loads delivered there "would threaten the integrity of Idaho's historic portion of U.S. 12, as well as the safety of communities that depend on it as the main road in and out of the area," the Times also reports. "National environmental groups and climate change activists are supporting their efforts, seeing a broader opportunity to stall development of Canada's oil sands, which they denounce as a dirty source of energy. "
• "Combating climate change has long taken a back seat to coal production in West Virginia, but in the hard-fought House race in this state's 1st district, global warming hasn't even made it onto the bus," The Hill reports. "In interviews on Thursday, both the Democratic and Republican nominees for Congress voiced skepticism of the science behind global warming, and the Republican, David McKinley, flatly called concerns about climate change 'an attack on coal.'"
Biography provided by participant
Ed Whitfield was elected to Congress in 1994 as the first Republican to represent Kentucky's First Congressional District.
Whitfield is a native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky and attended Madisonville High School. He earned a Bachelor's Degree and Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky. He also studied at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., where he now serves on the Board of Governors. Whitfield served as a 1st Lieutenant in the 100th Division of the U.S. Army Reserves.
Congressman Whitfield served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1974-75 while practicing law in Hopkinsville, where he operated a successful oil distributorship in the west Kentucky coal fields. In 1979, he became Counsel to the President of Seaboard System Railroad in Washington, D.C. Later, he was named Vice President of State Relations and then Vice President for Federal Railroad Affairs for CSX Corporation. Whitfield served as Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) from 1991 to 1993 where he worked to reduce regulation of the nation's barge, railroad and trucking industries.
Congressman Whitfield serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power of the full House Energy and Commerce Committee. He is also a member of the Subcommittee on the Environment and Economy and the Subcommittee on Health.
The Energy and Commerce Committee is the oldest standing Committee in the House and presides over a wide spectrum of issues, giving it the broadest jurisdiction of any Committee in the legislative body. The Committee maintains primary responsibility for legislative oversight relating to healthcare, telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health, air quality and environmental health, the supply and delivery of energy and interstate and foreign commerce.
During his eight terms in Congress, Whitfield has championed the needs and views of his constituents. The First District is home to Fort Campbell, base for the 101st Airborne Division, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Command, and the 5th Special Forces Group. Whitfield has consistently voted in favor of a strong national defense, including enhanced benefits for all active duty service personnel, retirees and veterans. He has pursued a pro-family agenda to permit prayer in schools, stop child pornography and outlaw flag burning. Through his Committee assignment, Whitfield has worked to promote access to health care, and to protect Medicare and Medicaid. He also has helped modernize our national energy policy, while promoting clean uses of coal and protecting domestic uranium enrichment capabilities at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, where he has been an advocate for the health and welfare of its active and retired employees.
Congressman Whitfield's major legislative accomplishments include creating the 170,000 acre National Recreation Area at the Land Between the Lakes; introducing and passing legislation to create a Health Compensation Program at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, which has paid over $315,000,000 in compensation to 3,139 employees and their survivors; helping to create the first Medicare Prescription drug benefit plan for seniors; and advocating for the humane treatment of animals.
The Congressman is married to Connie Harriman, who served as Assistant Secretary of the Interior and Director of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and, currently, as Senior Advisor for Presidential Initiatives at The Humane Society of the United States.