Rep. McCollum poised to gain EPA powers with Moran retirement

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) is slated to be a prime beneficiary of the retirement of Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) next year. Moran announced his plans this week. 
 
McCollum is the favorite to take over Moran’s slot atop the Appropriations subcommittee on interior and environment. 
 
Under the committee rules, seniority on a subcommittee trumps seniority on the full committee. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) is the most senior full committee member not atop a subcommittee.  
 
McCollum is the next in line after Moran on the sub-panel, and sources said she is both expected to run again and to take Moran’s slot as either the ranking member or chairwoman of the subcommittee in the next Congress.
 
The subcommittee has jurisdiction over the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior and also oversees offshore oil drilling through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management as well as surface mining. 
 
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McCollum has a consistently liberal record on the environment and has fought against attempts in the past to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
 
Last year, she was elected the co-chairman of the House Native American Caucus and her new position would enable her to champion the Indian Affairs Bureau, which falls under the Interior Department. 
 
The interior and environment appropriations bill has been the subject of fierce battles in recent years. Democrats were able to get most riders in the bill removed during negotiations for the $1.1 trillion omnibus package that passed Congress this week. 
 
Next year, appropriators plan to pass the subcommittee bill individually for the first time in years. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) took over as the chairman of the subcommittee this year, after Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) shifted to become the head of the Energy and Water subcommittee.