Hello. I’m Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. This past week, President Obama, in his State of the Union address, laid out his plans for America. And as part of his speech, he called on Congress to pass an infrastructure bill that will create jobs and make our nation stronger for decades to come.
I welcomed that message, and the fact is, we’ve already started. For over two weeks now, the Senate has been working hard on a bipartisan bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. This important infrastructure project will support thousands of jobs. It would carry both American and Canadian oil, in the cleanest and safest way, and help keep energy affordable for American families.
After more than 2,300 days of presidential indecision, it’s important for us to act. The world is watching to see whether the United States is willing to lead as a global energy superpower that respects its neighbors, trades with its allies, and builds needed infrastructure. I believe we are ready for that role – and our leadership can start with the approval of Keystone XL.
The new Republican congress you elected has only been in office a few weeks now, but already we’ve made important strides towards making congress function again and getting Washington back to work. We’re fulfilling the promises made in the recent elections, and considering legislation in an open and a transparent manner where both Republicans and Democrats can offer their ideas.
Now, here’s an interesting fact: more amendments were voted on in the Senate just this past week, than were voted on during all of 2014. Our approach to this energy infrastructure bill is one that allows members from both parties – and every state – the chance to have their voices heard.
Once Congress approves the Keystone XL pipeline with bipartisan support, we will have an opportunity to put forth additional energy solutions that will grow our economy and help hardworking Americans.
We are focusing on energy because it is vital to our prosperity, and a strategic asset that we can use to assist our allies and trading partners. It is in our interest to continue making our energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure. And I am confident we can reach those goals by strengthening our supply, modernizing our infrastructure, supporting energy efficiency, and ensuring federal accountability.
As Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I will do my best to ensure the Senate approves broad energy legislation this year. The last time that happened was in 2007. That was a time of scarcity, but America is now producing more energy than ever before. We’ve seen firsthand that American supply matters to global prices – and the only question now is whether we’re going to take the steps necessary to keep energy affordable.
We can start by looking to Alaska, where we have tremendous amounts of oil just waiting to be produced. We have prolific resources in our National Petroleum Reserve and offshore. If we also unlock just a fraction of the non-wilderness portion of ANWR, we could bring about a huge range of economic benefits. Some may consider this controversial, but it really is not. Even the head of the Alaska Democratic Party wrote a piece this week, urged that it be opened. It’s time we embrace the opportunities before us.
Republicans have a positive agenda that will help create jobs, keep energy affordable, and increase our security. Over the next two years, it is our hope that President Obama will be a partner in our efforts, and that he will start by finally approving the Keystone XL pipeline.
Thank you for listening.
Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXZNTfYR1mk.