The rightward shift in the makeup of the Senate Energy Committee, which now includes conservative Sens. Mike Lee and Rand Paul, may complicate Pres. Obama's efforts as he seeks to implement the energy initiatives he called for in his State of the Union last week.
Lee -- who was a successful far right challenger to [Sen. Bob] Bennett in the Republican primary -- has so far emphasized the need to expand a diverse set of energy sources, including many of those that would be included in a clean energy standard. But like Paul it is unclear whether he would back a specific federal production mandate of any sort or vote in favor of any federal energy subsidies.
A Lee spokeswoman before the committee roster was announced said in an email that he "plans to focus on freeing up federal lands for economic uses which will create jobs, encourage economic growth and lead the U.S. towards energy independence. The Senator also plans to work towards creating greater certainty for regulations and bringing the lands under more local control."