Hi, I’m Senator Lisa Murkowski from the state of Alaska. In this new Congress I continue to serve as the lead Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and today I want to discuss the tremendous opportunities that await us in those areas.
Energy has been a source of anxiety for our nation since the 1970s. And yet thanks to new technologies, an era of scarcity is quickly giving way to one of abundance. We now have a 90-year supply of natural gas, enough oil to eliminate OPEC imports for decades, and a broad range of promising options for alternatives and efficiency. There may never have been a time when America has had more potential for energy production—or better ability to use our energy wisely.
But of course, we recognize all is not well. Energy production on public lands owned by the federal government either stayed flat or fell in recent years. America’s energy infrastructure has aged, the price of oil is high, and the need for reliable energy has never been more urgent. Projects are too often hamstrung by burdensome regulations, delayed permits, and overzealous litigation. Our energy situation has improved in some respects, but we can still demand better.
In fact, we should demand better.
To take full advantage of our energy opportunities—and to face up to our energy challenges—this week I released a report entitled, Energy 20/20: A Vision for America’s Energy Future. It’s based on a simple insight: energy is good. Energy provides the basis of modern society and allows us to lead comfortable and productive lives. It allows us to produce food and manufacture and communicate. As we found out during the power outage at the Super Bowl, it’s also pretty important to professional football.
Energy is not a necessary evil. Energy is good. And that’s why it is in our national interest to make energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure. I believe that there’s a consensus around these five objectives, and our challenge now is to align federal policy with them.
To accomplish that, my blueprint offers some 200 recommendations. These span the spectrum of resources and reforms, from the immediate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to a trust fund for energy research that is paid for with the revenues from new production.
Every recommendation in my blueprint is associated with a clear goal for the year 2020. We can end our dependence on OPEC oil. We can help make renewable energy more competitive, build on our efficiency gains, and re-establish the supply chain for critical minerals. We can ensure that research, and not endless regulation, is the force behind technological innovation. Through sensible regulatory reforms, we can prevent the misuse of environmental laws and allow projects to proceed—and all the while maintaining the highest environmental standards in the world.
The ideas in my blueprint would create new jobs, generate new revenues, and slash our dependence on foreign energy. They would shore up our security and strengthen our economy. They would help us minimize the impacts of energy development and reduce the emissions that are blamed for climate change.
Now, it is true that my blueprint does not rely on new mandates or new regulations to achieve these goals. And it doesn’t drive up taxes or energy prices. It doesn’t limit choice or lavish subsidies. Now, there are some who continue to believe that those options represent the best or perhaps the only path forward. But that’s wrong. There is a resource that must be protected, left untapped and undisturbed—and that’s you, the American taxpayer.
It’s fair to say that not every member of Congress will support every proposal in my blueprint. And that’s why I describe it as a conversation starter. It’s intended to provoke a new and a better discussion about energy, to recognize how bright our future can be, and to provide a prudent alternative to the heavy-handed approaches coming from the Administration and the EPA.
We can do better. We can renew and reimagine our energy policies. And now that we have a blueprint that can help guide the way.
I want to thank you for listening. If you’re interested in reading Energy 20/20, it’s available on my committee website at energy.senate.gov. Thanks so much.