"Kalamazoo, Mich.— For years, some conservatives called 13-term Rep. Fred Upton 'Red Fred.'
The Michigan Republican voted for amendments strengthening the Clean Air Act. He cosponsored a bill to phase out incandescent light bulbs. His website said that 'climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions.' So conservatives fumed late last year when Upton took the gavel of the influential panel that oversees environmental regulation, the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
But the rise of the 'tea party' movement, with its attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency and climate science, has pushed Upton to reinvent himself. Once a moderate, Upton emerged from an unusually close primary against a tea party candidate and a tough fight for the panel chairmanship as the standard-bearer for the Republican push to block the Obama administration's major environmental initiatives."