Murkowski calls for updating ‘antiquated’ energy trade policies

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) called for a renovation of the United States’ “antiquated” energy export policies on Wednesday.

Murkowski serves as ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She has started a series of white papers on U.S. energy production and use.

She called for the administration and Congress to revamp energy trade policy to take advantage of the surge in U.S. energy production.

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“For far too long the conversation has been based on energy scarcity,” Murkowski said. “The U.S. is both producing and exporting more energy now than every before.”

Murkowski said high-energy production could be a “bright spot” for the economy.

“Trade is creating jobs, it’s increasing supply, it’s enhancing our nation’s security without doubt,” Murkowski said. “Trade and consumption will occur with or without us.”

She focused on U.S. production of coal, natural gas and sweet crude oil. She said the administration should ensure there are not restrictions on trade for any of those energy sources because other countries will use those sources whether they are coming from the United States or not.

“Coal is going to be consumed around the world regardless of U.S. trade policies,” Murkowski said. “The real question is whether or not the coal is produced here in North America where environmental standards are going to be higher than they will elsewhere.”

Murkowksi said there is a “de facto ban” on crude oil exports because the U.S. infrastructure isn’t set up to process the fuel and the White House has delayed approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“The ban is unnecessary and counterproductive,” Murkowski said. “If the president is so inclined he can call me if he disagrees.”