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Sen. Murkowski Advances Legislation to Improve Coordination on Energy-Water Issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today advanced legislation to improve the efficiency of the federal government in addressing issues related to the interdependence of energy and water.

(Click for video of Sen. Murkowski’s opening statement)

“Water is essential in every aspect of daily life. In addition to its vital role in sustaining life, it is crucial for the nation’s economic well-being and sustained growth,” Murkowski said. “Without water there’s no electricity, no fuel to power our industry and our means of transportation, and no plants to produce cleaner biofuels. This is the water for energy that we cannot do without.

“And when it comes to energy for water, we need energy to convey water from its source to its consumers. We need energy to pump and treat and, increasingly, to reuse water in the numerous wastewater treatment plants across the country; and we obviously need energy to treat and provide safe and readily available drinking water.”

Murkowski’s comments were made at Wednesday’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Water and Energy Subcommittee hearing on the legislation – the Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability (NEWS) Act (S. 1971).

Introduced in January, Murkowski’s legislation would direct the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy to establish a committee to coordinate and streamline federal energy-water activities.

The energy-water nexus refers to the water used to produce energy, including raw resources, refined products, and electricity; and the energy required to treat, transport, and distribute water.

Murkowski, the top Republican on the energy committee, said the NEWS Act would increase the federal government’s focus on the interconnectedness between energy and water by streamlining coordination and data collection among the various departments and agencies involved. 

“Federal agencies must do more to ensure that we have the best possible data, technology and know-how to ensure that the energy-water nexus is understood and continuously optimized to sustain quality of life and promote economic growth,” Murkowski said.

In May Murkowski released a white paperThe Energy-Water Nexus: Interlinked Resources That Are Vital for Economic Growth and Sustainability – on the importance of the energy-water nexus to the U.S. economy. 

Full video of Wednesday’s hearing is available on the energy panel’s website.

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