The Senate has not passed an energy bill since the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. In the intervening six-and-a-half years, America’s shale oil and gas revolution has turned the world’s energy economy upside down. A Republican-led Senate would modernize the Department of Energy and update America’s energy policies to reflect new market realities, generate economic growth, and create productive careers. Senator Lisa Murkowski, ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has outlined several thoughtful proposals in Energy 20/20: A Vision for America’s Energy Future and in follow-up white papers.
Here are a few energy policies the Senate could explore if Republicans are put in charge:
- Affordable, reliable, and efficient energy. Washington Democrats favor renewable energy as a substitute for, not a supplement to, fossil fuels. This results in higher gasoline prices for cars and higher heating, cooling, and electricity prices for homes and businesses. A Republican-led Senate would implement a true all-of-the-above strategy that embraces coal, oil, gas, and nuclear as baseload power, encourages development of renewables as supplementary power, and promotes deployment of energy efficiency measures. This would reorient gasoline, electricity, cooling, and heating prices to more affordable levels, while strengthening energy reliability.
- Produce American energy. The federal government restricts access to federal onshore and offshore energy resources. A Republican-led Senate would reform federal leasing plans to empower producers to responsibly develop fossil and renewable energy resources throughout the nation’s federal lands, including in Colorado and other energy-rich western states; off the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts; and in Alaska.
- Certainty in energy project permitting. The federal government suffocates energy projects by slow-walking, politicizing, and rejecting routine permits like the Keystone XL pipeline. A Republican-led Senate would restore certainty in energy project permitting by streamlining applications, insulating reviews from politics and manipulation by ideologues, requiring regulators to render decisions by specified deadlines, and prohibiting preemptive and retroactive permit vetoes.
- Energy innovation. The federal government underwrites handpicked renewable projects like Solyndra with billions in taxpayer dollars to enhance their appeal in the marketplace. A Republican-led Senate would refocus federal support away from commercial deployment and toward basic research and development. It would task public and private-sector research institutions with leading an energy innovation economy focused on scientific and technological breakthroughs that must be achieved before emerging energy technologies can be commercially viable.
- Protecting energy infrastructure from emerging threats. The federal government’s current programs do not adequately protect our nation’s electric grid, pipelines, and other energy infrastructure. A Republican-led Senate would coordinate public and private-sector resources to adequately secure America’s energy infrastructure from physical and cyber threats.
A Republican-led Senate would champion the use of every American energy resource to ensure affordability and reliability of gasoline, electricity, and other energy products. It would encourage public and private-sector research and development partnerships that drive innovative solutions to our energy sector’s most challenging problems. It would empower energy consumers and producers, not federal policymakers and bureaucrats. By doing this, it would help revive the nation’s faltering economy, increase people’s standard of living, and put millions of Americans back to work.