Posted May 8, 2015
Alaska Republican Gears Up Energy Reform Package
The Hill: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) took her biggest step to date toward a large-scale overhaul of federal energy policy on Thursday, introducing 17 bills she said could make up parts of an energy reform package this session.
The bills cover a myriad of topics, from electricity reliability to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to the production of methane, hydropower or helium. Any of the bills could make up the backbone of a broad energy reform effort, something Murkowski, the chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has made one of her top priorities this session.
“Does this mean all of them are going to part of a broader bill? No,” she said at a briefing with reporters. “But does it mean these are my ideas I would like to have folks catch up on? Yes, absolutely.”
One high-profile piece of legislation missing from the slate introduced Thursday: a bill to lift the federal ban on crude oil exports. Murkowski said she will release that bill separately next week.
Murkowski has long supported lifting the 40-year-old export ban, but it’s an idea that has tenuous support among Democrats and other members, who worry it could raise gas prices.
An oil export ban — like any of the 17 bills she announced Thursday — could be a part of a final energy bill, she said, but she’s not wedded to including anything that could sink that push. That means the oil exports bill could move on its own or attached to something else.
“This is not about sending a message, this is about changing the policy, and how can we change the policy is by winning, and in order to win, we have to make sure we have the votes that are there,” she said. “We’ve been building our case, and we’ve seen a real change in the response and posture of people.”
Read more: http://bit.ly/1zRaozA
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.