Sen. Hirono snags vacant seat on Senate enviro committee

Hirono’s assignment to the panel likely prevents, for now, a seat for Sen.-elect Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who on Tuesday won the race for the Senate seat that Secretary of State John Kerry vacated.

Markey was active on climate and other environmental topics during his long House career.

Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said last week that she would be “thrilled” if Markey filled the vacant seat, but also noted that many factors go into committee assignments.

Hirono, for her part, said the temporary assignment gives her the chance to work on topics that are vital to her state.

“Hawaii’s environment – one of the most biodiverse in the world – is not only the foundation of the state’s unique heritage and identity, but it is also the bedrock of our economic stability and prosperity,” Hirono said in a statement.

“As our nation’s only island state, we recognize that climate change’s impacts, water management issues and traffic congestion pose real threats to businesses that create jobs in tourism, agriculture and other industries, weakens our quality of life, and makes it harder to achieve our food and energy security goals."