Murkowski: Infrastructure Investments, Timely Permits Crucial for Dependable Energy Supply

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired a hearing to examine policy issues facing interstate delivery networks for natural gas and electricity, which was prompted by last month’s oversight hearing of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The committee today dove more deeply into a number of issues impacting our nation’s capacity to deliver affordable, clean, diverse, and secure energy.

Murkowski opened the hearing by emphasizing the importance of energy delivery infrastructure, such as natural gas pipelines and electric transmission lines, to safely and efficiently transport energy to American families and businesses.

“For our country to reap the benefits of the natural gas revolution and renewable power technologies, and to keep our power supply reliable and secure, we must have dependable and expanding interstate delivery networks,” Murkowski said.

All of the witnesses, including two former chairmen of FERC, emphasized the need for balanced, merits-based, predictable, and prompt regulation.

“It’s important that regulatory policy governing investment and siting decisions be highly merits-based and nonpolitical, that there be a reasonable level of regulatory certainty, that decisions be fairly predictable and that decisions be timely,” Joseph Kelliher, executive vice president of federal regulatory affairs for NextEra Energy, said.

“Regulatory uncertainty brought on by delay or, worse, deadlock at FERC, is increasingly of concern,” Murkowski said. “What’s more, the denial of necessary state approvals for projects on political grounds, or the failure of other federal agencies to meet FERC-established schedules, are problems that must be addressed.”

Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The committee has held a series of hearings on the need to address the challenges facing interstate energy transportation systems. An archived video and testimony from today’s hearing are available on the committee’s website. Click here and here to view Murkowski’s questions for witnesses.