Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C.

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House Bill 1215 (“H.B. 1215”) was filed that would create the Department of Energy and Environment (“DEE”).

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced earlier this fall his proposal to consolidate cabinet-level departments from 42 to 15. (See previous post here.)

The Governor describes this action as the “first comprehensive efforts to reform state government since 1972.”

Governor Hutchinson’s proposal included combining several Arkansas environmental/energy/natural resources agencies into the DEE. H.B. 1215 is intended to provide the legislative authority to accomplish this objective.

State agencies or entities that would be consolidated into DEE include:

  • Advisory Committee on Petroleum Storage Tanks
  • Division of Environmental Quality (otherwise known as the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality)
  • Arkansas Geological Survey
  • Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission
  • Arkansas Public Service Commission
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board
  • Nutrient Water Quality Trading Advisory Panel
  • Oil and Gas Commission

H.B. 1215 states that the agencies and entities transferred would retain their specified statutory duties. Further, a Secretary of DEE would be the Executive Head of the Cabinet and appointed by the Governor (unless otherwise specified by law).

A link to the 256-page bill can be found here.