U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) was chosen this week to lead the House Resources Committee, much to the dismay of environmentalists. As head of the committee, Pombo, who earned only a 9 percent approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters in the last session of Congress, will have significant say in shaping federal legislation on water issues and natural forests and parks. Environmentalists are particularly alarmed by Pombo’s new power to help pass legislation modifying the federal Endangered Species Act, which he openly detests. Pombo sees the ESA and other federal environmental laws as generally meddlesome, expensive, and a threat to private property owners.