Bad news if you just can’t stomach seeing Rep. Henry Waxman for one more second. The circus ringleader at the House Committee On Oversight and Government Reform — where they’ve been holding several camera-freindly finance-related hearings — just got a new job as chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, ousting veteran Democrat John Dingell of Michigan.
Loser, of course: Big Auto. Winner: Big Green.
Here’s how FBR analyst Kevin Book, who also notes that it’s bad news for coal, sums it up:
A Waxman win changes the character of House Democrats’ views toward coal and cars, the two principal sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. economy. While the oil industry has few natural defenders left on Capitol Hill as a result of industry consolidations, retirements of senior lawmakers, and the change in party leadership, coal retains a “stronghold” among Senate Democrats.
Chairman Dingell has proposed moderate climate controls relative to strict cuts favoured by Waxman and many other California Democrats. Dingell would be likely to resist calls for further increases of fuel economy standards in tandem with financial support for Detroit’s automakers. Chairman-elect Waxman could replace Energy & Air Quality Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D-VA), an outspoken advocate of coal, with Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), current Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
Of course the carmakers are getting crushed. GM (GM) is down another 20%, Ford (F) is off 9%. But then they might be getting crushed anyway. Arch Coal (ACI) is off 10%, though the move is providing no help to green stocks like First Solar (FSLR), either.
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