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    Veteran GOP congressman to retire

    SEATTLE — Representative Doc Hastings, a Republican who represented central Washington for two decades and was a key voice in public lands and energy policy, announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of the year.

    As chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Hastings recently took on the Endangered Species Act, calling for an overhaul of the law to curtail environmentalist lawsuits and give more power to states.

    Hastings and other GOP critics contend the 40-year-old law has been abused by environmental groups seeking to restrict development in the name of species protection.

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    Before his career in D.C., Hastings served in the state House from 1979 to 1987.