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What CMR's exit means for energy

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

CMR last May. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Cathy McMorris Rodgers' decision not to seek re-election deprives the House of a warrior for hydropower — and a key figure in the GOP's slow departure from outright climate denial.

Why it matters: Her departure is a serious energy brain drain after energy subcommittee chair Jeff Duncan also announced he wouldn't seek re-election.

  • And remember, environment subcommittee chair Bill Johnson also went to the exits last month for a plum university gig.

Zoom in: CMR is a fierce defender of her state's hydropower industry and has been pushing in this Congress to pass her hydro permitting overhaul.

  • This departure will put even more pressure on hydropower stakeholders to get a deal done before the end of this Congress on their priority legislation.
  • If she's gone and Congress lacks a similarly powerful GOP hydro champion, it's an open question whether the industry will get preferential language into future permitting deals.
  • The industry still has Senate Commerce chair Maria Cantwell, but it's unclear if Democrats will maintain control of that chamber in this year's elections.

What we're watching: The race to replace her.

  • Bob Latta and Brett Guthrie are reportedly early candidates.

Between the lines: First elected in 2004, McMorris Rodgers rose through the House as part of former Speaker John Boehner's leadership team.

  • While she's certainly not a climate hawk, she falls closer to the middle of the GOP conference, as the party has edged further to the right.
  • She has nonetheless been a prominent attack dog for the GOP on the Biden administration's energy policy, most recently with a subpoena threat to DOE's Jigar Shah.

What she's saying: "We will spend this year honoring the [Energy and Commerce] Committee's rich history — plowing the hard ground necessary to legislate on solutions to make people's lives better and ensure America wins the future," she said in a statement.

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