The House Committee on Natural Resources can trace its jurisdictional history to the Committee on Public Lands, which was created on December 17, 1805, on a motion by Representative William Findley, a Democratic-Republican from Pennsylvania. Its jurisdiction would not change until the 1940’s.

In the 80th Congress, after the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, various committee jurisdictions were combined into the House Committee on Public Lands. In particular, five former standing Committees from the 19th and early 20th Century were combined into the House Committee on Public Lands. These five committees, along with years they were created, were; Territories (1825), Mines and Mining (1865), Indian Affairs (1821), Irrigation and Reclamation (1893) and Insular Affairs (1899). After the 82nd Congress, on February 2, 1951, the House Committee on Public Lands was renamed the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, which later became the House Committee on Natural Resources in 1993. Finally, in the 104th Congress (1995), the jurisdiction of the House Merchant Marines and Fisheries Committee (1887) was transferred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

The Committee has always been tasked with overseeing the nation’s public lands. Conflicts between preserving the land as wilderness and use it for logging, grazing and mining often fall to this committee and then Congress to resolve. The panel also oversees water projects, many environmental issues and even management of wildlife refuges. The committee is crucial to Representatives with many of the nation’s public lands in its districts, especially those from the West.

Click here for a detailed history of the Committee on Natural Resources compiled for the Bicentenial of its founding.

Chairmen of the Committee:

Congress Term Chairman State Party
Committee on Natural Resources
112-113th 2011-Present Doc Hastings Washington Republican
110-111th 2007-2010 Nick J. Rahall West Virginia Democrat
 
Committee on Resources
108-109th 2003-2006 Richard Pombo California Republican
107th 2001-2002 James V. Hansen Utah Republican
104-106th 1995-2000 Don Young Alaska Republican
 
Committee on Natural Resources
102-103rd 1991-1994 George Miller California Democrat
 
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs
95-102nd 1987-1991 Morris K. Udall Arizona Democrat
93-94th 1973-1976 James A. Haley Florida Democrat
86-92nd 1959-1972 Wayne Norviel Aspinall Colorado Democrat
84-85th 1955-1958 Clair Engle California Democrat
83rd 1953-1954 Arthur Lewis Miller Nebraska Democrat
82nd 1951-1952 John R. Murdock Arizona Democrat
 
Committee on Public Lands
81st 1949-1950 J. Hardin Peterson, Jr. Florida Democrat
  1949 Andrew L. Somers New York Democrat
80th 1947-1948 Richard J. Welch California Republican
78-79th 1943-1946 J Hardin Peterson, Jr. Florida Democrat
76-77th 1940-1942 James W. Robinson Utah Democrat
73-76th 1933-1940 René L. De Rouen Louisiana Democrat
72nd 1931-1933 John M. Evans Montana Democrat
70-71st 1928-1931 Dan B. Colton Vermont Republican
66-70th 1919-1928 Nicholas J. Sinnott Oregon Republican
62-65th 1912-1919 Scott Ferris Oklahoma Democrat
62nd 1911-1912 Joseph T. Robinson Arkansas Democrat
60-61st 1907-1911 Frank W. Mondell Wyoming Republican
54-59th 1895-1907 John F. Lacey Iowa Republican
52-53rd 1891-1895 Thomas C. McRae Arkansas Democrat
51st 1889-1891 Lewis E. Payson Illinois Republican
50th 1887-1889 William S. Holman Indiana Democrat
48-49th 1883-1887 Thomas R. Cobb Indiana Democrat
47th 1881-1883 Thaddeus C. Pound Wisconsin Republican
46th 1879-1881 George L. Converse Ohio Democrat
45th 1877-1879 William R. Morrison Illinois Democrat
44th 1875-1877 Milton Sayler Ohio Democrat
43rd 1873-1875 Washington Townsend Pennsylvania Republican
42nd 1871-1873 John H. Ketcham New York Republican
38-41st 1863-1871 George W. Julian Indiana Republican
37th 1861-1863 John F. Potter Wisconsin Republican
36th 1859-1861 Eli Thayer Massachusetts Republican
35th 1857-1859 Williamson R. W. Cobb Alabama Democrat
34th 1855-1857 Henry Bennett New York Whig
33rd 1853-1855 David T. Disney Ohio Democrat
32nd 1851-1853 Willard P. Hall Missouri Democrat
31st 1849-1851 James B. Bowlin Missouri Democrat
30th 1847-1849 Jacob Collamer Vermont Whig
29th 1845-1847 John A. McClernand Illinois Democrat
28th 1843-1945 John W. Davis Indiana Democrat
27th 1842-1843 Jeremiah Morrow Ohio Whig
  1842 Reuben Chapman Alabama Democrat
  1841-1842 Jeremiah Morrow Ohio Whig
  1841 William C. Johnson Maryland Whig
26th 1840-1841 Jeremiah Morrow Ohio Whig
  1840 Samson Mason Ohio Whig
  1839-1840 Thomas Corwin Ohio Whig
25th 1838-1839 Zadok Casey Illinois Democrat
24-25th 1835-1838 Ratliff Boon Indiana Democrat
23 1833-1835 Clement C. Clay Alabama Democrat
21-22nd 1830-1833 Charles A. Wickliffe Kentucky Jacksonian
20-21st 1827-1830 Jacob C. Isacks Tennessee Jacksonian
19th 1826-1827 John Scott Missouri Jacksonian
17-19th 1821-1826 Christopher Rankin Mississippi Democrat
16th 1819-1821 Richard C. Anderson, Jr. Kentucky Republican
15th 1818-1819 George Poindexter Mississippi Jacksonian
14-15th 1815-1818 Thomas B. Robertson Louisiana Republican
13th 1813-1815 Samuel McKee Kentucky Republican
10-12th 1807-1813 Jeremiah Morrow Ohio Democratic Republican
10th 1807-1808 John Boyle Kentucky Republican
9th 1807 Andrew Gregg Pennsylvania Democratic Republican
  1806-1807 John Boyle Kentucky Republican
  1805-1806 Andrew Gregg Pennsylvania Democratic Republican

Committee history provided by the Office of the House Historian.
See also: Historical information of the Committee on Resources and its Predecessor Committees, 1807-2002.

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