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Sen. Murkowski Touts Benefits of Expanding U.S. Energy Exports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today called on the Obama administration to expand U.S. energy exports and unshackle the nation’s energy policies to spur economic activity and improve its geopolitical standing.

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

“The idea that we can export energy and bring jobs back to this country – by building new pipelines, constructing export facilities, shipping coal and natural gas and oil far and wide, and rejuvenate our nation – it is not a speculative proposition,” Murkowski said. “It is the reality of today. And it’s happening on state and private lands, for the most part, not federal territory.”

Murkowski made her comments at Tuesday’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. Murkowski said the United States needs to stop talking about energy scarcity and update its policies to reflect the current era of abundance, and the opportunities presented by the unconventional oil and natural gas production boom.

“The United States has an historic opportunity to generate enormous geopolitical and economic benefits by expanding its role in the global gas trade,” Murkowski said. “We should send a powerful signal to the world that the United States is ready to assert its role as a leader on energy.”

Murkowski continues to press the administration to lift the ban on exporting crude oil and warned against trying to second guess the market by placing arbitrary restrictions on the amount of natural gas allowed for export.

Total U.S. energy exports in gross terms have roughly tripled over the past decade, from a mere 4 quadrillion Btu’s in 2003 to well over 11 quadrillion Btu in 2013. The United States is still a net importer, but the gap is closing fast.

“Time is of the essence,” Murkowski said. “Those who say we can do nothing to help our friends in Europe today miss the point. They will always say ‘nothing can be done’ and by doing so will do nothing. I reject such defeatism. The truth is that we can send a clear message today that the United States is an energy superpower and that it will live up to its free-market principles by not placing artificial restrictions on energy exports. That will send a clear signal that we are serious about being a major energy exporter.”
 

Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, recently released a white paper on updating the nation’s energy trade policies. Murkowski last year released a related white paper on LNG exports.

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

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