By Laura Barron-Lopez - 02/13/14 12:50 PM EST
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) plans to retire at the end of the year.
“Two decades ago, the people of Central Washington first voted to place their trust in me to represent them in Congress," Hastings said in a statement on Thursday.
"It is with deep appreciation for that privilege that I announce that this will be my final term in office and that I will not run for reelection in November," Hastings added.
A close ally of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Hastings has represented the district since 1994. He's been re-elected easily since, and his solidly Republican central Washington district should easily remain in GOP hands with his exit. In 2012, Mitt Romney won the district with 60 percent of the vote.
Hastings, a proponent of oil and gas development, would have completed three terms as the top Rebuplican on the Natural Resources Committee at the end of this year, reaching his term limit.
This raises questions as to who would take the helm next, but the likely replacement Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) won't be it, a congressional source told The Hill.
Young has served three terms as the head of the committee as well, the source said.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) would possibly be the next in line.
During his tenure, Hastings also founded the House Nuclear Cleanup Caucus, which seeks to better educate Congress on nuclear waste cleanup.
He has been a proponent for offshore drilling, increasing U.S. energy production and water rights in the West.