WASHINGTON — Senator Edward J. Markey, a longtime advocate for climate change legislation, will get a bigger role in shaping environmental laws after he received a key committee assignment Tuesday.
Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who won a special election in June, had initially been left off the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. But a slot opened last week when Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, was confirmed as the ambassador to China.
Democrats gave Markey the assignment during a closed-door caucus Tuesday. Markey also leads a foreign relations subcommittee charged with reviewing environmental treaties.
“That means I will be able to push action on climate change, whether it is domestic or international,” Markey said. “It gives me a position where I can become a prime advocate.”
During his more than 36 years in the House, Markey
became a leading proponent of regulating coal emissions and other pollutants. In 2009, he coauthored a wide-ranging climate bill that passed the House, but died in the Senate amid concerns that it would cripple the economy.
Republican opponents of the bill control the House and could soon claim the Senate, meaning a similar bill is
unlikely to become law in the near future.