Senator Jim Inhofe's Environmental Role Challenged

Friday, November 17th 2006, 8:03 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) After losing the chairmanship of the Senate committee that oversees environmental issues, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., might also lose standing as the panel's senior Republican member.

Sen. John Warner, R-Va., said Friday he'll ask fellow GOP senators to elect him as the top GOP member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. With Democrats taking over control of the Senate and House, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., will become the committee's chairwoman in January.

"As the senior Republican on the Senate EPW committee, I intend to submit my name for election as the ranking minority member of that panel," Warner said. He has been serving as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and intends to remain on that panel as the second-ranking Republican member.

Inhofe signaled he'll fight Warner for the environment role.

"I have long been a friend of John Warner," Inhofe said. "I think he has misunderstood the rules. I intend to retain my leadership position in the 110th Congress, returning as the ranking member of the EPW committee."

On the House side, it also remains unclear who will become Democratic chairman of the House Resources Committee.

Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., said he expects to become chairman. But Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., signaled he might seek the job. Both lawmakers have been in Congress 30 years, but Markey can claim two months seniority because he won his seat first through a special election.