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Two senators were assigned Tuesday to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Tina Smith (D-MN).
In a joint statement, Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) welcomed the new appointees. They said they looked forward to working with the senators “on a wide range of energy, lands, water, and resource issues throughout the remainder of this Congress.
“Together with the rest of our committee, we believe we are poised for a productive 2018 that will hopefully include a number of long-sought bipartisan accomplishments."
The appointments will keep the panel at 23 members, with 12 Republicans and nine Democrats. Two independents that caucus with Democrats also serve on the committee.
Capito returns to the committee after previously serving during the 114th Congress, and will join her colleague, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). West Virginia, a major producer of oil and natural gas, is the only state to have both senators on the panel.
"This committee assignment guarantees West Virginians a seat at the table when it comes to shaping policy related to energy resources and development," Capito said. She wants to use the post to help advance a natural gas liquids storage hub in the Appalachian Basin. "A regional storage hub would have a tremendous and positive economic impact on Appalachian states, and I will continue to advocate for it and other critical West Virginia priorities..."
Meanwhile, Smith replaces former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who resigned on Jan. 2.
Republican senators on the panel are John Barrasso (WY), James Risch (ID), Mike Lee (UT), Jeff Flake (AZ), Steve Daines (MT), Cory Gardner (CO), Lamar Alexander (TN), John Hoeven (ND), Bill Cassidy (LA) and Rob Portman (OH).
Six Democrats also serve on the committee: Ron Wyden of Oregon, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada. Independents serving are Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.