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Democrats' takeover of US House to shift approach on energy policy

Now that the Democrats have taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the body will shift its focus from easing regulations for energy producers to supporting clean energy and probing the Trump administration's efforts to revoke air and water quality rules, according to key lawmakers. Democrats also hope to take more action to address climate change, a problem they accuse the White House and GOP of ignoring over the past two years.

"One of our main priorities would be strengthening the economy and creating more good-paying jobs by rebuilding America through investments in green energy and drinking water infrastructure," U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said in a September email to S&P Global Market Intelligence. "We would also focus on the need to address climate change by looking at its impacts on our communities and economy, and by holding the Trump Administration accountable for dangerous policies that only make it worse."

The Democrat House victories in the Nov. 6 midterm elections are expected to result in Pallone becoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee once the 116th convenes in early January. Both Pallone and Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., the ranking member and expected future chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, have said they want to investigate the scientific underpinnings and processes that federal agencies used to propose repeals of Obama-era energy and environmental regulations and craft less stringent replacement rules, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Affordable Clean Energy proposal.