"Senate Republicans looking for committee assignments next year should check out the Energy and Natural Resources panel.
If Sen. Lisa Murkowski fails to make a Lazarus-like comeback against Joe Miller in her Alaska GOP primary, she’ll join three other Republicans not coming back to the committee next year — and leave the top spot vacant.
Murkowski’s possible departure and a possible influx of new Western Republicans would complete the transition from the old guard of members — former Chairman Pete Domenici (N.M.), the late Craig Thomas (Wyo.) and Larry Craig (Idaho) — who dominated the right side of the panel over the past decade. In their place could come a new generation of Republicans who may favor a harder line against federal environmental protections and would be less inclined to work with Democrats.
Already leaving this fall is Sam Brownback, who is running for governor of Kansas. Kentucky’s Jim Bunning is retiring, and Utah’s Bob Bennett failed to secure his party’s nomination."