The committee oversees the Interior Department and its energy development policy for federal lands and coasts.
It’s been the battleground for clashes regarding President Obama’s energy policies, as the committee’s GOP majority has pushed the administration to open more public land to oil-and-gas drilling.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) congratulated DeFazio, and said he is well-suited to promote the party's energy and resources agenda.
“For more than a quarter-century, Congressman DeFazio has served the people of Oregon and the Congress of the United States with passion and vigor, with a keen intellect and an independent streak. As our top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, Congressman DeFazio will bring that same commitment and leadership to the task of creating clean energy jobs, tapping renewable sources of energy, and preserving our natural resources," Pelosi said in a statement.
— This story was last updated at 4:46 p.m. to reflect that Grijalva pulled out of the race.