Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed state Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island, to represent the state on the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. His appointment is effective July 1.
Rockefeller will replace Dick Wallace, who announced earlier this year he would be leaving his position. Wallace was appointed to the Council by Gregoire in February 2008.
The Council was authorized in the Northwest Power Act of 1980 and approved by a vote of the legislatures of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. The governor of each state appoints two members to serve on the Council. Washington’s second member is Tom Karier, who was appointed to the Council in 1998.
The NPCC is a compact of the states and is directed by the Power Act to prepare a program to “protect, mitigate, and enhance fish and wildlife” of the Columbia River Basin affected by hydropower dams, and produce a companion power plan to assure the Northwest an “adequate, efficient, economical, and reliable power supply.”
“Phil is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful lawmakers that I have worked with,” Gregoire said. “Additionally, he has worked tirelessly to safeguard, enhance and maintain our environment so that future Washingtonians may enjoy the natural beauty our state offers. His appointment to this council will allow him the opportunity to continue to serve as both an environmental steward and leader.”
Rockefeller has served as the Assistant Majority Senate Floor Leader and as chair of the Senate Environment, Water and Energy Committee since 2005. In 2007, Rockefeller was voted legislator of the year for outstanding environmental leadership by the Washington League of Conservation Voters for his work on “Save Puget Sound” legislation. During the past legislative session, Rockefeller spearheaded landmark legislation to help transition Washington state off of coal power.
Rockefeller is a member of the Early Learning & K-12 Education, Ways and Means, Rules Committees and the Joint Committee on Energy Supply and Energy Conservation. He is a former officer of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, a former board member of the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Council, Bainbridge Performing Arts, and the Bainbridge Public Library.
Rockefeller earned his undergraduate degree from Yale and a law degree from Harvard Law School.
“Dick provided tremendous leadership to the council, and I thank him for his service on the board the last several years,” Gregoire said. “I wish him only the best.”
Wallace, a former regional director with the Washington Department of Ecology, began his career in natural resources at the University of Washington’s Fisheries Research Institute and USFWS in 1976. He has more than 30 years of experience in natural resource issues, including water and watershed management, agriculture, forestry, storm water, and salmon recovery.
Wallace said he planned to spend more time in the immediate future fishing and hiking, and enjoying he and his wife’s first grandchild. Retirement is a possibility.
“That’s what I plan to do… at least for the summer and fall,” Wallace said. A return to public service later is also an option, he said.
He said he very much enjoyed participation in the regional forum, “particularly in the Fish and Wildlife Committee where we’ve been able to get a consensus” on most of the issues at hand.
The Council did accomplish two of its primary missions under the Power Act during Wallace’s tenure, amending its Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program and updating its Power Plan. Dealing with a relatively new variable, the impacts climate change, was an exciting part of both processes, Wallace said.
The Montana native graduated from Whitman College with a bachelor of arts in biology and environmental studies.
The Council is funded by wholesale power revenues from the Bonneville Power Administration, the federal agency that markets the electricity generated at federal dams on the Columbia River.