U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s first hearing of the 116th Congress, to examine the outlook for energy and minerals markets. The hearing featured witnesses from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), ClearView Energy Partners, the R Street Institute, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
After welcoming new Ranking Member Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and two new committee members, Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Murkowski spoke about the rapidly changing markets for energy and minerals both domestically and globally.
“Whether we realize it or not, energy and minerals fuel our 21st century economy and standard of living. Access to energy and minerals impacts everything from healthcare, to poverty levels, to defense readiness, and the strength of our manufacturing sector,” Murkowski said. “In the past decade, we have seen a dramatic increase in domestic energy production and a corresponding decrease in our dependence on energy imports. This remarkable shift has led to substantial economic benefits here at home, while also giving us options to help our allies to achieve a level of energy security.”
The EIA projects the U.S. will be a net energy exporter by 2020. EIA Administrator Linda Capuano highlighted this in her testimony, calling it “a transformational time for the United States energy industry.”
“In contrast to the energy sector, our nation is headed in the wrong direction on mineral imports. This is our Achilles’ heel that serves to empower and enrich other nations, while costing us jobs and international competitiveness,” Murkowski said. “Over the past several years, our committee has sought to call attention to our reliance on foreign nations for minerals. The administration has taken several important steps, but we must complement their actions with congressional legislation.”
In 2017, the U.S. imported 50 percent of 50 mineral commodities, including 100 percent of 21 minerals. Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, called attention to the global uptick in mineral demand, largely brought on by electric vehicle batteries, and the lack of domestic production.
“Those who control these critical raw materials and those who possess the manufacturing and processing know how, will hold the balance of industrial power in the 21st century auto and energy storage industries,” Moores said.
Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. An archived video of today’s hearing can be found on the committee’s website. Click here, here and here to view Murkowski’s questions for the witnesses.