House Natural Resources Chair Will Retire

Rep. Doc Hastings says he will not seek reelection in November.

WASHINGTON - APRIL 20: U.S. House of Representatives Ethics Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) (C) speaks with committee members Judy Biggert (R-IL) (L) Melissa Hart (R-PA) (obscured) and Tom Cole (R-OK) (R) during a news conference at the Capitol April 20, 2005 in Washington, DC. The committee announced they are prepared to empanel an investigation subcommittee to review alleged wrongdoing by Majority Leader Tom DeLay. 
National Journal
Clare Foran
Add to Briefcase
Clare Foran
Feb. 13, 2014, 7:53 a.m.

The Re­pub­lic­an chair­man of the House Nat­ur­al Re­sources Com­mit­tee an­nounced Thursday that he will not seek reelec­tion in Novem­ber, spelling an end to his two-dec­ade run in Con­gress.

Rep. Doc Hast­ings of Wash­ing­ton was first elec­ted to the House in 1994, the same year that Re­pub­lic­ans won a ma­jor­ity for the first time in 40 years. He served as chair­man of the House Eth­ics Com­mit­tee from 2005 to 2007, and in 2011 he took over the gavel at Nat­ur­al Re­sources, where he has served al­tern­ately as chair and rank­ing mem­ber.

Hast­ings has used the com­mit­tee perch to strongly cri­ti­cize White House en­ergy policies. He has been a staunch ad­voc­ate of ex­pand­ing pub­lic lands to oil and nat­ur­al-gas pro­duc­tion and has ac­cused the ad­min­is­tra­tion of over­reach on en­ergy and en­vir­on­ment­al reg­u­la­tion. Bills passed through the com­mit­tee in re­cent years in­cluded meas­ures to greatly in­crease on­shore and off­shore drilling, and to thwart planned In­teri­or De­part­ment reg­u­la­tions on hy­draul­ic frac­tur­ing and moun­tain­top min­ing.

Hast­ings said a de­sire to spend more time with fam­ily was the chief reas­on for his de­cision to leave Con­gress.

“Without ques­tion, my fam­ily weighed heav­ily in my de­cision,” he said in a state­ment. “[My wife and I] both look for­ward with an­ti­cip­a­tion to the time we will have to­geth­er and with our fam­ily after my term ends in Janu­ary.”

It’s un­clear who will as­sume the chair­man­ship once Hast­ings gives up the gavel. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, is the next most seni­or Re­pub­lic­an mem­ber of the pan­el but is in­eligible due to the fact that he has already served three terms as com­mit­tee chair. The next most seni­or Re­pub­lic­an com­mit­tee mem­ber is Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas. Gohmert’s of­fice did not im­me­di­ately re­turn a re­quest for com­ment.

Rep. Rob Bish­op, R-Utah, also has seni­or­ity and could be a con­tender. When asked wheth­er he would be in­ter­ested in the chair­man­ship, Bish­op didn’t rule it out. “There is still a full year of is­sues to be de­bated and passed un­der the lead­er­ship of Chair­man Hast­ings,” Bish­op said in a state­ment. “It’s pre­ma­ture to en­gage in those dis­cus­sions right now. At the ap­pro­pri­ate time I will com­ment fur­ther.”

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