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Sanders to appoint department attorney as Arkansas energy secretary

Michael Hibblen
The Arkansas state Capitol on Dec. 8, 2021.

Arkansas Gov.-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday she planned to nominate the chief lawyer at the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment to lead the agency when she takes office in January.

Shane Khoury has nearly two decades of state government service on his resume, including his current role as the Energy and Environment department’s chief counsel.

Khoury will replace Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Energy Secretary Becky Keogh.

“As Secretary of Energy and Environment, I will work with Governor-elect Sanders to foster the growth of our energy sector and provide reliable, affordable energy to all Arkansans while responsibly protecting our clean air, water, and land,” Khoury said. “It’s an honor to have her confidence to lead this department as we invest in energy and environment to make our state one of the best places to live, work, and raise a family.”

The Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment includes the Division of Environmental Quality, Oil and Gas Commission, state Geological Survey and Pollution Control and Ecology Commission. The agency is designed to be the state’s primary environmental watchdog.

Khoury will lead a department that will play a key role in the deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure in the coming years. That deployment includes an influx of federal dollars from the Infrastructure and Jobs Act.

In his current role, Khoury handles legal and policy matters for the department in addition to working with the General Assembly. He is also a hearing officer for the Oil and Gas Commission.

He also serves on a variety of local and national boards and commissions focused on regulatory issues.

“Shane’s years of experience with state energy and environment policy will be an asset as we ensure our energy industry can continue to invest and diversify while preserving the Natural State’s outdoor beauty,” Sanders said in a statement. “A reliable, growing energy sector will expand our economy, creating opportunity for every Arkansan, and I’m confident that together, we will unleash Arkansas energy.”

Arkansas Advocate is part of States Newsroom, a national nonprofit news organization, supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. The Advocate retains full editorial independence.