But, at least in critics' eyes, Pombo dropped all semblance of moderation last fall. Next on Pombo's list is a major reworking of another landmark law, the National Environmental Policy Act.
Meanwhile, Pombo's supporters are applauding his perseverance on endangered species legislation.
"This is so much better than anybody thought was possible," Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute said. "We may end up with something less good than that. But it will be a lot better than if he had compromised to begin with."
Times researcher Maloy Moore contributed to this report.
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Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Tracy), a seven-term congressman up for relection this year, raises dairy and beef cattle on his ranch. President Bush gave him the nickname"Marlboro Man."
Born: 1961 in Tracy, Calif.
Residence: Still lives on the family ranch
Religion: Roman Catholic
Family: Wife Annette and three children
Education: Attended Cal Poly Pomona; studied agriculture and business (no degree)
Publications:"This Land Is Our Land" (1996, coauthor)
Congressional committees: Resources (chairman); Agriculture