President Trump Appoints Arkansas State Senator To Southern Energy Position

Oct 26, 2017

State Senator Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot). File photo.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

President Donald Trump has appointed an Arkansas state Senator as the federal representative on the Southern States Energy Board. Eddie Joe Williams says he’ll be sworn into the new post in 30 to 45 days, and in the meantime he’ll resign as state Senator.

He’s held an elected office of kind or another in the Cabot area since the early 2000’s. He was elected to the Senate in 2010. A special election will have to be called to fill out the remainder of his term.

Williams says his first priority is to his put his mind to the collapse of the energy grids in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after hurricane damage. The Southern States Energy Board comprises 16 states and the two U.S. aforementioned territories. It’s broadly charged with figuring out ideas to promote economic development and quality of life through energy innovations and programs. Williams will be a full-time, paid non-voting member of the board.

The President’s appointment of Williams drew praise from Arkansas’s junior U.S. Senator Tom Cotton. Who said in a statement that Williams “understands protecting the environment and developing American energy aren’t mutually exclusive.” Like Senator Cotton, Williams’s electoral campaigns drew support from Koch Industries and various chambers of commerce opposed to many Obama-era energy and environmental policies.

As state Senator, Williams helped usher in a process for the Legislature to review state agency carbon emission and electricity generation plans required by the Environmental Protection Agency. He also unsuccessfully opposed a 2015 act establishing net-metering rates for solar power producers who contributed excess energy back into the grid.