Joe Barton

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Joe Barton (R) is a U.S. House Representative from Texas, where he represents the 6th District. He is also the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He was first elected to Congress in 1984. In 2000, he was a Bush Pioneer.



From his official website:

Joe Barton was born on September 15, 1949 in Waco, Texas. An avid baseball player growing up, he earned a four-year Gifford-Hill Opportunity Award scholarship to Texas A&M University, where he was the outstanding industrial engineering student for the Class of 1972. After earning a Master’s of Science degree in Industrial Administration from Purdue University, he joined Ennis Business Forms, where he rose to the position of Assistant to the Vice President. In 1981, he was selected for the prestigious White House Fellows Program, and served as an aide to then-Energy Secretary James B. Edwards. He returned to Texas in 1982 as a natural gas decontrol consultant for Atlantic Richfield Oil and Gas Company before being elected to Congress. Barton and his wife Terri have homes in Ennis and Arlington, Texas. He has four children, two stepchildren and three grandchildren.

Climate Change

  • In July of 2005, Barton riled up the Climate Science community by sending a set of letters specifically requesting information about three scientists' -- (Michael Mann, Ray Bradley, and Malcolm Hughes -- work on the "hockey stick" papers as well as "an enormous amount of irrelevant material not connected to these studies. [...] In the words of Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Barton letters "give the impression of a search for some basis on which to discredit these particular scientists and findings, rather than a search for understanding." [1] (emphasis added)


  • Barton was the chief sponsor of the 2005 Energy Bill. He frequently defends the interests of the petroleum industry.


  • In spite of receiving more than $28,000 in contributions from Enron, Barton did not get along with CEO Jeff Skilling. Accorging to a Bloomberg report: "Representative Joe Barton threw Enron Corp.'s then-Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling out of his office in 1999 for pushing too hard for legislation to force states to open their electricity markets to competition." [2]

Net Neutrality

  • Barton opposes Net Neutrality, and he was one of the primary backers of the COPE bill, which would allow telecom companies to set up toll booths on the internet.

BP Apologist

  • On June 18, 2010, during a House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing, Barton apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward, calling the deal made between the Obama administration and the oil company - to set up a $20 billion fund to pay for damages from the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf - a "shakedown". At the opening of the hearing, Barton told Hayward:
I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is -- again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.[3]
  • A few hours after his apology to BP, Barton was criticized by his party's leadership and forced into apologizing for his "apology". [4][5]

External Links

  • Official House website
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