Saturday, November 11, 2006

Victory Lap Weekend

Bye Pombo:

Four years ago, the stars were aligned perfectly for Rep. Richard Pombo.

The Tracy Republican had just leapfrogged several colleagues to become head of the House Resources Committee, where he was ideally situated to accomplish his top priority: severely weaken one of the nation's strongest environmental laws.

Not only did he gain jurisdiction over the Endangered Species Act, he now presided over federally-owned lands and environmental laws important to his allies in the ranching, timber and energy industries.

And whatever legislation he could usher through the House of Representatives would go to a GOP-controlled Senate and a Republican president.

But as Pombo's congressional career comes to an unexpected close with his loss Tuesday to Democrat Jerry McNerney, what is remarkable is how little he accomplished in seven terms.

Whether it was rewriting the Endangered Species Act, opening the ArcticNational Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling, rewriting Indian gaming law, privatizing public lands or easing restrictions on offshore oil drilling, few, if any, of Pombo's priorities are law.