Wyoming U.S. Sen. John Barrasso is planning a move to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to possibly become its new chairman.
Barrasso announced his intentions this week to succeed Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who is limited by Republican conference rules from chairing the commitee again.
Barrasso would chair the committee in the next Congress, provided that Republicans win at least one of two outstanding U.S. Senate races in Georgia.
If successful, Barrasso will have to step down as the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in the new Congress.
“Wyoming has been represented on the Senate Energy Committee continuously since 1899," said Barrasso. "Former Wyoming Sens. Wallop, Hansen, O’Mahoney and Kendrick all led the committee at some time over the last century. It will be an honor to continue this tradition of Wyoming leadership.”
The soon-to-be senior senator from Wyoming is also the No. 3 GOP leader, chairing the Senate Republican Conference.
“My state is home to some of the greatest natural resource wonders in the world. Our abundant energy supplies help power the nation. Our national parks and other special public lands are prized by locals and visited by millions from around the globe,” Barrasso said in a statement.
“The enjoyment, protection, and utilization of these special places and resources are at the very heart of our economy and western tradition,” he added.
According to online newspaper The Hill, Barasso is expected to take a more conservative approach in leading the committee than Murkowski, who often worked on bipartisan priorities with the panel's top Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Manchin, in a statement this week, expressed optimism about his future work with Barrasso.
"Senator Barrasso and I both come from states that are blessed with a wide array of natural resources, and I know that will serve as a basis for us to work together in the 117th Congress,” the moderate Democrat said.
Earlier this year, Barasso opposed the Great American Outdoors Act, that President Trump signed into law. On energy issues he generally supports the fossil fuel industry, and just this week he introduced a bipartisan nuclear energy infrastructure bill.