Washington, D.C., Jan. 13, 2009 - U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said today that two new staff members – Ambassador Harlan Watson and Bart Forsyth – will join the select committee Republican staff to help broaden its oversight capacity in the 111th Congress. Ambassador Watson will serve as professional staff and Forsyth will serve as deputy chief of staff and chief counsel.
Sensenbrenner said that Dr. Watson’s experience in international climate change negotiations will help the select committee evaluate and oversee the progress of any treaty designed to address global warming. The United Nations is currently negotiating a new climate change accord to replace the Kyoto Treaty, which expires in 2012.
“Harlan has worked for years to help craft a treaty that is fair and effective and that won’t destroy the economies of signatories, including the U.S.,” Sensenbrenner said. “Harlan’s experience can help members of Congress understand what makes a successful climate change treaty and what doesn’t.”
Sensenbrenner said Forsyth’s work on the House Science Committee will bolster the select committee’s Republican staff experience with climate change and energy policies and congressional oversight.
“Bart’s experience will help the Select Committee staff keep a watchful eye on the incoming administration’s climate and energy policies,” Sensenbrenner said. “Energy security and economic growth are key issues this Congress, and Bart will help us shine light on policies that meet these goals and vigilantly dispute proposals that do not.”
Dr. Watson comes to the select committee after serving for seven years as the special envoy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State.
Prior to this, Dr. Watson served for nearly 16 years on the House Science Committee, including four years under Sensenbrenner when he chaired the committee. He was staff director for the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment for more than six years.
Dr. Watson’s career includes positions at the Department of the Interior as the secretary’s science advisor and as principal deputy assistant secretary, as well as in the Senate as a professional staff member.
In September 2008, President Bush conferred upon Dr. Watson the rank of ambassador for his role as special envoy to the UNFCCC.
Dr. Watson earned a Ph.D. in physics from Iowa State University, a master’s degree in economics from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Western Illinois University.
Forsyth comes to the select committee from the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, where for two years he served as counsel to Sensenbrenner, the subcommittee’s ranking Republican during the 110th Congress. Previously, Forsyth served as deputy chief counsel to then-Chairman Henry Hyde on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
After graduating magna cum laude from Washington and Lee University Law School, Forsyth started his career as a law clerk in the Department of Labor’s Office of Administrative Law Judges. A native of Connecticut, Forsyth earned his undergraduate degree from Hofstra University in New York.