Rockefeller under consideration for EPA post

State Sen. Phil Rockefeller was named this week as a candidate to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s four-state Northwest region.

Rockefeller, a Bainbridge Island Democrat, said he’d likely take the job if it’s offered to him.

“I’d be honored,” he said. “But I love my current job and I’d be happy to stay in the Legislature.”

A strong advocate for environmental protections, Rockefeller said he’s not been informed who or how many other candidates are in the running for the EPA post. He is also unsure when a decision will be made.

“It’s a long process,” he said. “And I’m just one of many candidates for the position.”

Rockefeller has made protecting the environment a hallmark of his two Senate terms and three terms in the state House of Representatives. He helped develop the Puget Sound Partnership, which is leading renewed cleanup efforts, and toughened auto emission standards.

As administrator of the EPA’s Region 10, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, Rockefeller would oversee enforcement and implementation of federal environmental rules and regulations. Region 10 includes 650 employees and has an annual budget of $500 million.

With the Obama Administration now in charge, Rockefeller foresees a larger budget and expanded role for the EPA.

“Looking ahead, I see more federal resources to clean up our water and air,” he said.

If selected for the post, Rockefeller promised to focus greater attention on the clean up of Puget Sound and the Columbia River.

Rockefeller contrasted the expansive opportunities to improve the environment at federal level with the shrinking prospects at the state level.

“Right now the state’s starved for funds,” he said, noting the state’s budget deficit of almost $9 billion.

If he vacates his Senate seat, the 23rd Legislative District Democrats would choose three nominees to serve in his place. The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners would appoint one of the three nominees to serve the remaining three and a half years of Rockefeller’s four-year term.

One thought on “Rockefeller under consideration for EPA post

  1. A strong advocate…

    I’m not sure that’s what we need. A strong advocate is all too willing to introduce legislation handed to him by his advocacy groups. That’s what Phil has done in Washington State. Nevermind the deficit, here’s more regulations and programs.

    I, personally, believe the next few EPA administrators need to take a long hard look at our existing volumes of legislation, assess how each program is working, and identify some for sunsetting BEFORE adding any more new.

    That – to date – has not been Phil’s M.O..

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