Sen. Murkowski Advances Keystone XL Legislation

New Chairman Lays Out Ambitious Committee Agenda

– U.S.  Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, the new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today voted to approve legislation that would authorize the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the United States-Canadian border.


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“We have an opportunity to build on our reputation as an energy superpower that respects its neighbors, trades with its allies, and builds necessary infrastructure such as the Keystone XL pipeline. I believe Congress is ready to pursue that opportunity in a bipartisan manner. I believe the American people are ready,” Murkowski said. “It’s unfortunate that the administration continues to stand in the way, even threatening to veto this important legislation. I don’t think that threat should deter us as a committee, as a Senate, and really, as a Congress.”


The Keystone XL pipeline has received broad bipartisan, bicameral support in the past and was approved by the energy committee on Thursday by a bipartisan 13-to-9 vote.

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Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who earlier this week introduced S.1 with 60 Senators to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, was among the members to make strong statements in support of the project at today’s hearing.


During comments made shortly before the successful Keystone XL vote, Chairman Murkowski outlined her priorities and an ambitious committee schedule moving forward in the 114th congress that will fully reflect the issues under the committee’s jurisdiction.

“Alaska is obviously a priority for me – but it is not all we will consider here. Our committee will devote much of January and February to hearings on a wide variety of issues. One thing to expect next week is a notice for a legislative hearing, to be held before the end of the month, on Sen. Barrasso’s bipartisan LNG export legislation. Other potential topics for hearings include electric grid innovation, nuclear waste policy, OCS development and revenue-sharing, the administration’s Quadrennial Energy Review, critical minerals, and oversight. We will also hold budget hearings, to consider the president’s request, and return to the practice of having the secretaries of Energy and the Interior regularly appear before this panel.”


Murkowski’s shared her energy philosophy – energy is good – and called it “vital to our prosperity.” Murkowski added that it’s in “our interest to continue making our energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse and secure. I am confident we can make progress toward those goals by further strengthening supply, modernizing infrastructure, supporting efficiency, and ensuring federal accountability. Those four areas of focus will form the basis of an energy bill that our committee will consider.”


Murkowski pledged to continue the hard work of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and added that “there are good opportunities for us to be engaging in productive work product that will make a difference for the long term. And I want to ensure that each of you feels that you have shared weight and responsibility as we address the energy issues for our country and our nation.”