Hi, I’m Lisa Murkowski. And I’m honored to represent Alaska in the U.S. Senate, where I chair the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. It’s been a pretty good week in Congress — with the House of Representatives welcoming a new speaker, Paul Ryan, and the Senate passing a major bill to protect our nation’s cyber security.
What I want to talk with you about today, though, is another key national security issue — energy. And I want to highlight what is happening in my home state, because it foreshadows challenges to come all across our nation. (Scroll down for video of these remarks.)
Since taking office, the Obama Administration has repeatedly denied Alaska’s best opportunities to produce energy for our nation and the world. It has blocked production in half of our National Petroleum Reserve, which was specifically designated for energy development.
It is locking away the non-wilderness portion of ANWR, where an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil could be produced from just 2,000 acres. In the Chukchi Sea, the constantly-shifting regulatory environment recently forced a company to abandon seven years of work and $7 billion in investment.
And instead of recognizing that as a significant loss, the Administration doubled down last week by canceling offshore lease sales in the region.
All of these decisions ignore the will of hard-working Alaskans, who overwhelmingly support new production. The Administration is opening the door for Iranian oil production, but closing it on Alaskan oil. And while the consequences are not yet evident, they will be.
These decisions mean fewer jobs, less security for our country, and more of our dollars going overseas. They threaten the safe operation of our Trans-Alaska Pipeline, a national security asset that is just one-third full. And, it is only a matter of time until the Administration applies this short-sighted strategy to the rest of our nation.
With prices low, we need to open the areas where it is most cost-effective to produce energy. We need to modernize our policies and open our markets. And we need to avoid overly burdensome regulations.
Unfortunately, the Administration is charting a different course. The EPA and other agencies are issuing a barrage of regulations that will have limited environmental benefit, but will absolutely reduce our ability to produce energy here at home.
For example, the EPA’s new ozone standards will provide little in the way of health benefits, while costing billions to comply. Its climate regulations will shutter power plants across the country — raising electricity costs and threatening the reliability of our electric grid.
And the ‘Waters of the United States’ rule, the WOTUS, a massive expansion of federal regulatory powers, could allow the EPA to regulate drainage ditches and occasional ponds.
There is a better path. There is no reason why our energy policy should be so divisive. And that’s why I am working hard to forge bipartisan consensus on policies that will keep energy affordable and abundant, as it becomes cleaner and cleaner.
To give you one promising example, those of us on the Energy Committee have developed a broad bill that will save energy, promote innovation, invest in critical infrastructure and boost our energy trade — among many other benefits. It passed out of our Committee with a strong bipartisan vote. We have also gathered bipartisan support to end the outdated ban on crude oil exports.
Moving forward, Republicans hope that President Obama will work with Congress on policies like these that can draw bipartisan support.
That’s the best way to help states like Alaska. And it’s the best way to protect our future — our economy, our security, and our environment. Thanks so much for listening.
Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B8TnO4XdoA.