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Environment Committee adds renewable energy to agenda


OLYMPIA -- The House Environment Committee will take on all energy-related issues in the upcoming Legislature, including renewable energy standards and production.



"Energy and environmental issues have a lot of overlap, so this shift makes sense," said committee Chairman Dave Upthegrove, D-Des Moines. "Washington state is already a national leader in promoting energy technologies that both spur economic growth and help protect the quality of life we all cherish."



Among the new members of the committee is Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, who will be the assistant ranking Republican. Pike owns a small-scale farm and has been a co-organizer of the Washougal Farmers' Market.



Rep. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, is also new to the committee and will be vice chairman. In the Legislature since 2003, McCoy has pushed to expand Washington's renewable energy portfolio and create incentives for biomass and solar production.



In recent years the Legislature has also addressed development of biofuel, biogas, biodiesel and anaerobic digesters.



Other members of the committee: Larry Crouse, R-Spokane Valley; Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle; Jake Fey, D-Tacoma; Ruth Kagi, D-Shoreline; Marko Liias, D-Edmonds; Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon; Terry Nealey, R-Dayton; Jason Overstreet, R-Lynden; Shelly Short, R-Addy (ranking Republican); and Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim.



Senate committee assignments likely will not be announced before the legislative session opens Jan 14.



-- Steve Brown



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