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Three Republicans to Join Senate Energy Panel

Three Republican senators -- all from the South -- will be joining the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the 110th Congress, which gets under way in early January.

The new GOP members are Sens. Jim Demint of South Carolina, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Sessions of Alabama, according to Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), who will be the ranking Republican member of the Senate energy panel.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is the only Republican member who will be exiting the committee. He is leaving to join the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee.

The committee has been in Republican hands for years, but will be controlled by Democrats in the new Congress. Sen. Jeff Bingaman has been designated the incoming chairman, replacing Domenici (see Daily GPI, Nov. 21).

Three new Democratic members and an Independent will join the Senate energy panel. Two of them -- Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas -- previously served on the committee. The others -- Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and John Tester of Montana -- are joining the committee for the first time.

Exiting as Democratic members of the committee are Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, who has been a strong opponent of the oil and gas industry over the years, and Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

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