Governor-Elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced by Twitter and news release Wednesday that she has chosen chief counsel Shane Khoury to be secretary of the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment.
Khoury, who also worked in private practice in Conway, has 18 years of experience in state government and earned his bachelor’s degree from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and his law degree at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. He was a policy advisor to the governor on regulatory affairs and has been a hearing officer for the state Oil and Gas Commission.
In the release, Sanders said Khoury’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.” She added that a reliable and growing energy sector “will expand our economy, creating opportunity for every Arkansan, and I’m confident that together we can unleash Arkansas Energy.”
Khoury pledged to work with 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,” the release 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.”
Khoury is currently the governor’s associate representative for Arkansas to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and is a former chair of the Council of State Oil and Gas Attorneys. He was a member of the National Council for Electricity Policy, and an alternate to the Southern States Energy Board. He has also helped adjudicate state employee complaints as chair of the Arkansas State Employee Grievance Appeal Panel and Grievance Review Committee.
The department he will lead, consolidated as part of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s state streamlining initiative, includes the Division of Environmental Quality, the Pollution Control and Ecology Commission, the Oil and Gas Commission, the Geological Survey and the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board. The agency’s mandate is to manage and explore the state’s energy resources while safeguarding the environment.
As secretary, Khoury will succeed Becky Keough, who was appointed by Hutchinson as director of ADEQ in 2015. Sanders is scheduled to be sworn in as Arkansas’ first female governor on Jan. 10.