The power shift in the U.S. House of Representatives will result in Republicans being named to chair committees that likely will be more friendly to the oil and natural gas industry, as well as business in general. In the Senate, only Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s, (R-AK) fate is unknown.

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) is expected to be named chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Interior and its policies. He has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s offshore leasing policies and its handling of the BP plc well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rep. Joe Barton, who was chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee and then served two terms as ranking member, wants another shot at the chairmanship, but he isn’t likely to get it. He has used up his allotted three terms as chairman and ranking member.

“It’s a long shot for him because he would need to get a waiver,” said Martin Edwards, legislative vice president of the Independent Natural Gas Association of America. Still, Barton is campaigning for the seat of chairman. He sent a letter to incoming House conservatives, saying that he has “worked hard to earn a reputation for fairness in dealing with policy opponents. But when I am chairman, you won’t find many Democrats applauding.” Likely candidates for the chairmanship are said to be Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan and John Shimkus of Illinois.

John Mica (R-FL), the ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, would be the “logical choice” for chairman of that panel, said Edwards. The panel has jurisdiction over interstate pipelines and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as some environmental matters.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), currently the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is in line to become that committee’s chairman. With its general oversight authority that committee can be expected to call for hearings on a wide range of government actions in the last two years. The election, said Edwards, “was a referendum on the Obama agenda and the American people rejected it. The American people have sent a clear and direct message to Washington that they want less spending, limited government and more accountability.”

Issa has been a thorn in the side of both presidents Bush and Obama for the improprieties that took place in the Interior Department’s oil and natural gas program.

Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama may succeed Barney Frank (D-MA) as chairman of the House Financial Services Commission, who along with retiring Sen. Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, helped to shepherd the sweeping Wall Street Reform Act through Congress earlier this year.

As for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) future, she said Friday she would seek to keep her leadership role, moving over to become minority leader in the 112th Congress. The announcement was unexpected and unwelcomed to moderate Democrats who blame her for leading them down to defeat.

On the Senate side, it is still unknown whether Murkowski will win her write-in bid for re-election as an independent, and if she does whether she will be able to reclaim her position as ranking minority member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The final results of the Alaska Senate race probably won’t be known for several weeks.

The Tea Party’s candidate Joe Miller won the Republican party primary and has claimed about 34% of the vote in the general election. Write-in votes were 41% and Democrat Scott McAdams had 24%. Not all the write-ins will be for Murkowski, however, since there were 160 write-in candidates. Those votes must be separated and absentee ballots counted before there is a winner. If Murkowski is successful, she would be the first U.S. Senate candidate to win as a write-in since Strom Thurmond did it in 1954.

If she does win, Murkowski has said she will caucus with the Republican Party.

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