Lavish 'climate change' junket for House members (updated)

How better to fight "climate change" than fly an executive version of the Boeing 737 all over the world taking ten House members (and six spouses) on a lavish vacation/study tour. And, yes, most of the group were Democrats. Brody Mulllins and T.W. Farnum report on the front page of today's Wall Street Journal: (hat tip: Cheryl Jacobs Lewin)

When 10 members of Congress wanted to study climate change, they did more than just dip their toes into the subject: They went diving and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. They also rode a cable car through the Australian rain forest, visited a penguin rookery and flew to the South Pole. ....

The party boarded a C-40, the military's business-class version of a Boeing 737. It is designed to be an "office in the sky" for government leaders, according to the Air Force Web site.
The lawmakers touched down at their first destination, Christchurch, New Zealand, a few hours before sunset on New Year's Eve. Mr. Baird watched the town's fireworks at midnight, his spokesman said. ....

The group took a boat trip to the Great Barrier Reef, where lawmakers spoke with scientists about research showing its vulnerability to climate change, according to the Science Committee's report.
Mr. Baird, a certified scuba diver, said he went on two shallow reef dives with scientists. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a California Democrat, said she preferred to snorkel. Mr. Lucas said he didn't enjoy the boat trip because he hasn't spent much time on the water. The reef is one of the world's premier diving destinations.

Later, Mr. Baird made a third reef dive at his own expense to see first-hand the damage to coral reefs caused by tourism

The Journal is dragging this information out of Congress, and is estimating the total cost, including use of military aircraft, at half a million dollars. The list of junket participants includes:

Rep. Baird - still a Congressman  Brian Baird, D, Washington state

Rep. Lucas - still a Congressman-  Frank Lucas, R, Kentucky

Rep. Ross - still a Congressman-  Mike Ross-D- Arkanas (one of the heads of blue dogs)

Rep. Carnahan - still a Congressman-  Russ Carnahan, D- Missouri -- now running for open US senate seat.

Rep. Melancon - still a Congressman- Charlie Melancon, D- Louisiana - now running for Senate against David Vitter

Rep. Tanner - still a Congressman- John Tanner , Tennessee

Rep. Neugebauer - still a Congressman- Randy Neugebauer, R, Texas

Rep. Inglis - still a Congressman- Bob Inglis, R, South Carolina

Rep. Sanchez - still a Congressman- there are two, so either Linda or Loretta Sanchez, both from California, both Dems (update: Loretta)

Rep. Smith - still a Congressman-there are 3, so not sure which. (Update: Adrian Smith - R)

So, just how big was the "carbon footprint" for this trip of a lifetime?
Update: Public revulsion at the way Congress treats itself at our expense is growing. This is a populist issue. Mullins and Farnum report that opposition to Congress's jet-buying spree is emerging in Congress: (hat tip: Richard Baehr)

The resistance to buying eight Gulfstream and Boeing planes comes as members of both chambers of Congress embark on the busiest month of the year for official overseas travel. The plan to upgrade the fleet of government jets, which was included in a broader defense-funding bill, has also sparked criticism from the Pentagon, which has said it doesn't need half of the new jets.


The Obama administration had sought $220 million to buy four passenger jets, including two that are currently being leased by the Air Force, to replace a fleet of older planes. Before leaving town for the August break, House lawmakers doubled the aircraft order to eight, at a total cost of $550 million.

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