Tonko says committee assignments will let him focus on climate change

Congressman Paul Tonko speaks during an August press conference

Congressman Paul Tonko speaks during an August press conference

U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko, D-Amsterdam, will continue to serve on three House committees that will be dealing with climate change issues, he announced on Wednesday.

Tonko, who was elected to a sixth two-year term last November, has been an outspoken advocate for government action on climate change, and new President Joe Biden has said addressing climate change will be a high priority — a major change from President Donald J. Trump, who tended to deny climate change was happening.

House leadership announced committee assignments on Wednesday, with Tonko largely continuing on committees where he already serves — but with climate change legislation having a greater chance of success than in the recent past.

Tonko will continue to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change. He will also serve on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and House Committee on Natural Resources.

The appointments position Tonko, one of just a small handful of engineers in Congress, to continue leading Congressional efforts to build national climate action and advance climate-driven legislation.

“America is at a crossroads,” Tonko said. “We can double down on the economic and environmental stagnation of the past, or we can seize this moment to build back better and make ourselves a global leader in clean energy innovation, environmental and labor standards, and a new flowering of prosperity in communities all across America.”

He hopes to see congressional action this year.

“Taking swift action will propel America’s pandemic recovery, creating good-paying jobs and building a stronger, more resilient and more prosperous economy for all,” Tonko said. “I am eager to seize this unique opportunity in Congress to build solutions that protect our environment, public health and communities and that ensure a brighter future for generations of Americans to come.”

Tonko said he will use his positions across Congressional climate committees to put his experience and deep passion for energy innovation and environmental justice to forge strong, science-driven legislation.

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