WASHINGTON -- A spokeswoman for Rep. Henry Waxman says he's been selected by a key leadership panel to replace veteran Chairman John Dingell as head of a crucial House committee with jurisdiction over energy and global warming.

Karen Lightfoot said that Waxman and Michigan Democrat Dingell will still square off Thursday in a vote of House rank and file Democrats. But based on a 25-22 vote in the leadership panel Wednesday, Waxman has to be considered the favorite to topple Dingell, the longest serving House member.

Waxman, a Californian, would bring a more environmentally friendly agenda to the committee as it considers global warming, energy and other issues like health matters. Dingell is a longtime ally of Detroit's auto industry and he and Waxman have battled in the past over clean air laws.