For amazing watching in terms of a Congressional hearing, start at 31 minutes and 15 seconds at this CSPAN video ( of the House Natural Resources Committee Hearing: Artic Refuge: Jobs, Energy and Deficit Reduction. This hearing was the D response panel to a Republican effort to push drilling in ANWR with fanciful (and falsified) claims that this could have an important role in creating jobs and reducing the deficit.
As to whether even holding hearings matters with this Congress, Congressman Don Young (R-AK) begins his discussion
If you ever want want to see an exercise in futility ... That side has already made up its mind and this side has already made up its mind.
He then went forward to anger one of the witnesses. And, in this case, the witness didn't take it sitting down (at least figuratively).
"I call it garbage, Dr. Rice, that comes from a mouth ..."
The only issue, the witness was Dr. Douglas Brinkley, a historian at Rice University. Dr. Brinkley took umbrage and started to correct Young.
Dr. Brinkley. Rice is a University.
Young turned apoplectic at the audacity of a citizen confronting (yet another of his) erroneous statements.
I can call you whatever I want to if you sit in that chair.. You be quiet
While he remained sitting, Professor Brinkley didn't take this sitting down.
You don't own me. I pay your salary. You work for me.
The fireworks continued on throughout this briefing. For example, we can be certain that Don Young wasn't thrilled with Brinkley's commentary at 50 minutes and 30 seconds:
Again, I need to correct a record ... because there was a misstatement by the Congressman who blows smoke and leaves ... Ted Stevens was for the creation of ANWR.
This earned Brinkley (yet another) dressing down from the Committee Chair.
And, 57 minutes 50 seconds into the hearing, Brinkley goes in for the kill.
I just think that both Democrats and Republicans know that we are in a time of climate crisis. And, the idea after the BP spill, in the Arctic Refuges, our nation's largest wildlife refuge, created by Dwight Eisenhower, a conservative Republican president, at this moment in time, makes zero sense. ...
But to hear a Congressman, today, say there's nothing in his district. It's boring. It's flat. It's not exciting. I don't know a Representative who doesn't love their district.
Every state's landscape is beautiful ... if you love it.
But some people love money more than their homeland or where they live.
Hmmm ... anyone surprised that Don Young turns red when Brinkley speaks?
Note that this hearing (witness statements here), which was the Minority's hearing choices, was held at 2 pm on a Friday afternoon. Top news time, no?
Note, Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth, was another one of the witnesses. Erich made a strong case that drilling ANWR to solve our deficit problems is a joke of an idea when there are so many better options (like ending oil and gas subsidies) available. At 53 minutes
If the Super Committee is looking for ways to get revenue, it should look to drill into the tax code. ... I think that there is $100 billion of tax breaks if they were repealed.
">Erich's five-minute testimony starts at the 13:40 mark. For more amusement, watch Erich and Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) at about the 44th minute. Harris tries to take out Pica and, well, Pica calmly responded with facts and confidence -- truth that Harris really wasn't interested in hearing and certainly not ready to deal with.