Environmental groups and renewable-energy advocates are hailing the ascendancy of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to the helm of the Energy and Commerce Com­mittee. House Democrats voted 137-122 on Nov. 20 to replace long-time Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.), a staunch auto-industry ally, with Waxman. “Greens” see Wax­man as friendlier than Dingell on issues such as climate change.

Renewable-energy groups hope that, with Waxman as chairman, they can make more headway on incentives for alternative power sources. Greg Wetstone, American Wind Energy Association senior di­rector of government and public affairs, says his group looks forward to securing, “at last, a long-term national commitment to clean, renewable electricity from wind and solar power.”