U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, yesterday took to the Senate floor to outline how the energy industry has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – and urged her colleagues to pass the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA) to help boost the nation’s economic recovery. Murkowski’s comments followed a hearing held by ENR on Tuesday morning to discuss those impacts and hear from witnesses on how to recover from them.
Excerpts from the Senator’s Remarks:
“It’s certainly clear to me, as a Senator for the state of Alaska, and as chairman of the Energy Committee, that the energy sector has suffered uniquely and acutely.
“Our witnesses were able to explain and quantify some of the impacts. We heard that U.S. oil production has declined by almost two million barrels per day. Spot prices for liquified natural gas have effectively collapsed, creating challenges for export projects. Domestic electricity consumption is projected to decline by 5.7 percent this year.
“The renewable energy sector has faced substantial supply chain disruptions. The efficiency sector has faced health and safety restrictions in homes and buildings. Overall, what we were told is the energy industry has lost an estimated 1.3 million jobs since early March, including more than 600,000 jobs associated with clean energy.
“The energy industry is an important component of how we move to this phase of economic recovery…So what can we do to help this industry, and thus the broader economic recovery? It was interesting, because we had a panel of five witnesses before us. Several of those witnesses all pointed to the same piece of legislation as one of the answers as to how we can help the economy recover – and that is a bill that those of us on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee developed throughout last year.
“The American Energy Innovation Act…will ensure the U.S. remains a global energy leader, while strengthening our national security, investing in clean energy technologies, and securing our nation’s supply chain.
“It covers everything from energy efficiency, to renewables, we have a strong focus on carbon capture, a big anchor piece is energy storage, advanced nuclear plays a key role, vehicle technologies…Really, all areas that will work to help our economy, boost our international competitiveness, and protect human health and the global environment.
“In the past several weeks we have heard calls from members of this body to prioritize a robust clean energy recovery plan. There was a letter from 24 members who urged Senate leadership to, quote, prioritize a robust clean energy plan. And in their letter, they call for investments in renewable energy, energy storage, energy efficiency, clean vehicles, clean and efficient infrastructure, clean fuels, and workforce development. Sounds pretty much like what we included within our American Energy Innovation Act.
“It doesn’t make any difference if you are Republican or Democrat, if you come from an urban area or a rural area, when it comes to the strength of our nation’s economy, the foundational interest here, the foundations rest so solidly on energy. And so an opportunity to update and modernize our energy policies in a way that benefits us all is something that I hope we can all agree to.
“So, I want to get this bill moving.”
Background InformationAEIA contains the legislative priorities of more than 70 Senators and is supported by more than 200 organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Environmental Defense Fund. For more information on AEIA, click here.