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Bingaman Named Senate Energy Chairman; Feinstein Exits Committee

As expected, Senate Majority Leader-elect Harry Reid (D-NV) has named Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to be chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the 110th Congress, replacing current Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM).

"I am looking forward to the new Congress and continuing the spirit of bipartisanship with my colleague, Sen. Pete Domenici," Bingaman said. He indicated his focus will be working on legislation aimed at reducing the nation's dependence on fossil fuels by increasing energy efficiency and promoting renewable technologies.

Four new members will join the Senate energy panel. Two of them -- Sens. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) -- previously served on the committee. The others -- Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and John Tester (D-MT) -- are joining the committee for the first time.

Exiting as members of the committee are Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who has been a strong opponent of the oil and gas industry over the years, and Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

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