Veterans and Rural Communities to Benefit from Bipartisan Legislation
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today held a business meeting to consider and report 19 public lands and energy-related measures to the full Senate.
“This has been a remarkably productive year for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. We will now turn to negotiating our energy package, so we can have it ready to bring it up on the floor early next year,” Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said.
Murkowski highlighted several measures on the agenda, including legislation related to the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) programs, which were featured in a committee hearing last month.
“Many Alaska communities are forced to rely on SRS due to a decline in timber receipts, but its authorization has now lapsed and our ability to fund it is uncertain. I’m pushing to include SRS in any year-end appropriations package, but it’s also important for us to report it here today,” Murkowski said. “Another important measure is the Small County PILT Parity Act, which will correct a bias in existing law so that small rural communities in Alaska, Montana, and Nevada are not disadvantaged compared to more populous counties in other states.”
The committee also advanced a bill to provide wounded veterans with free access to national parks, as well as a bill to facilitate a research program to improve veterans’ health care.
Archived video, a full list of bills reported by the committee, and a rundown of the business meeting are available on the committee’s website.Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.