Murkowski: Addressing Rising Gasoline Prices is National Imperative

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, made the following opening statement at today’s hearing on gasoline price trends:

“It’s true that many factors are driving up fuel costs for Americans. Some are beyond the control of the President and the Congress. But others, we can influence. We can influence pipeline capacity, by approving them on a timely basis. We can influence whether refineries stay in business, by virtue of the regulations we apply to them. We can influence the value of the dollar and tax rates on the production, delivery and use of fuel.

“Most importantly, the federal government controls access to millions of acres of federal lands with oil potential. Of all the factors I’ve just listed, access is the only factor that this committee has direct jurisdiction over. Our decisions help determine whether companies have access to the Outer Continental Shelf, the non-wilderness portion of ANWR, and much of the Rocky Mountain West. So if I seem eager to focus on access to federal lands and waters, it’s because that is the area where we have the most direct authority to help. 

“I believe quite strong that supply and demand matter – not just one or the other. We are the world’s number three producer, and the world’s number one consumer, of oil. Our production is rising on state and private lands; the question no one is asking is what the price of oil would be if that was not happening. In my mind, there’s no doubt it would be higher – the pain at the pump would be worse.”