Senate Energy Committee Chairwoman, Lesil McGuire of Anchorage says in a written statement that the purpose is to streamline and consolidate Alaska’s energy programs. She and leaders of a House committee putting forward the similar bill say they want to develop the thought over the interim.

It’s hard to get too excited about a proposal to create more bureaucracy.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources, for example, has built up a deep level of expertise on gas pipeline issues. Why tinker with that and move it to a new home inside government?

And there’s no logic to the idea of combining weatherization — which is basically fixing up a house — with gas pipeline planning.

But still, the legislators are right to try to power up Alaska’s efforts to create an effective statewide energy plan.

A key question to ask is whether the Alaska Energy Authority, which has many responsibilities with state energy planning, has sufficient staff to achieve its goals. Specifically, the energy authority evaluates and recommends funding for scores of alternative energy projects around the state.

It may well be understaffed.

It’s too early to write off the idea of creating a new department just alert on energy. But we shouldn’t build more bureaucracy unless there are compelling reasons, which are not clear up front.