House Energy and Commerce faces leadership changes

If Walden leaves, Terry would not necessarily get the post, an energy insider with a conservative think tank told The Hill. 

That source said there are concerns Terry would not be the best fit for Communications and Technology, which is expected to be more prominent next Congress. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Sources say Terry would mesh better with a more energy-focused leadership position given the initiative he has taken promoting natural gas.

But if Terry does snag the Communications and Technology position, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) could end up helming Oversight and Investigations, sources said. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) might also make a move for the position, they said.

The subcommittee is key for energy issues, as it handled the House probe of the $535 million federal loan guarantee to now-bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra.

The subcommittee could tackle the debate on the environmental effects from hydraulic fracturing and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air pollution rules.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, injects a high-pressure mixture of water, chemicals and sand into tight rock formations to unlock natural gas. The EPA has linked it to groundwater contamination and is conducting a national study on the practice.

Those issues could make Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) another possibility for the Oversight and Investigations gavel, the conservative think tank insider said. Murphy represents a western Pennsylvania district that has benefited from the shale gas boom, making him a top committee voice on fracking.

The Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade subcommittee might also have an open chair position, as Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) is trailing Democratic challenger Raul Ruiz by 2 percentage points in a race CNN says is too close to call. The Hill's Jennifer Martinez has more on that on Hillicon Valley.

More in E2-Wire

Five threats to the EPA’s climate rule

Read more »