Environmental issues added to Energy & Telecommunications Committee

20130117_LegWA_4362_NAToday I was formally named chair of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee. The environment component was added to the committee when the Senate finalized its committee structure.

Adding environmental issues to the mix was a natural fit because energy policy is directly linked to our environment and quality of life. The focus of the committee will stay the same: reducing energy costs, promoting new technologies and creating energy-sector jobs while protecting our environment.

Environment was initially slated to be a separate committee, with the Majority Coalition Caucus offering the chairmanship to Senator Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island. When Ranker chose not to lead the committee, it was consolidated into the Energy and Telecommunications Committee. Merging the committee will also expand its membership, which increases from four members to nine.