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Washington, D.C.– U.S. Senator Jim Risch received his subcommittee appointments this week and is the Ranking Republican on two important subcommittees. Ranking members play a leadership role for their party at the subcommittee level where legislation is formed and written.

For the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Risch will serve as the top Republican on the Subcommittee for Energy. "I am honored to serve as Ranking member on the Subcommittee on Energy," said Senator Risch. "The availability, sustainability and cost of energy are the biggest challenges of future generations. A strong economy and quality of life are directly linked to energy, and our obligation is to see that the American people get the best of both.

"My appointment to this subcommittee is also important to Idaho as the home of the Idaho National Laboratory. With INL's research in the areas of energy, security and the environment, it is well positioned to play an important role in our nation's energy security," added Risch.

The jurisdiction of the Energy Subcommittee includes oversight and legislative responsibilities for: nuclear coal and synthetic fuels research and development; nuclear and non-nuclear energy commercialization projects; nuclear fuel cycle policy; DOE National Laboratories; global climate change; commercialization of new technologies including solar energy systems; Federal energy conservation programs; liquefied natural gas projects; oil and natural gas regulation; refinery policy; coal conversion; strategic petroleum reserves; regulation of Trans-Alaska Pipeline System; and oil, gas and coal production and distribution.

Risch, a graduate of the University of Idaho's College of Forestry, was also appointed to the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on the Energy Committee. The subcommittee is responsible for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service; reserved water rights; national mining and minerals policy and general mining laws; Federal mineral leasing; Outer Continental Shelf leasing; National Petroleum reserve – Alaska; and deep seabed mining.

The Idaho Republican was also assigned the Ranking Member designation for the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs. The subcommittee is under the Committee on Foreign Relations and deals with all matters concerning U.S. relations with the countries of the Middle East and Arab North Africa. The subcommittee is also responsible for U.S. relations with the countries of South and Central Asia.

Their jurisdiction includes all matters related to terrorism and non-proliferation; crime and illicit narcotics; U.S. foreign assistance programs; and promotion of U.S. trade and exports.

"I am very excited to serve as the Ranking Member on the subcommittee that deals with the Middle East and Asia. There are many policy challenges for the U.S. in those parts of the world and I look forward to learning more about the issues on an in-depth basis," Risch said.

The other Foreign Relation subcommittees Risch will serve on include: Subcommittee on African Affairs; Subcommittee on European Affairs; and Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Global Narcotics Affairs.

Besides the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee and their related subcommittees, Senator Risch has also been appointed to serve on the Select Committee on Ethics, Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Joint Economic Committee.