GOP, Obama see common ground on energy infrastructure

House Republicans have found reasons to agree with some parts of the Obama administration’s energy infrastructure proposal.

GOP leaders in the House Energy and Commerce Committee told Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest MonizWhat we learned from Rick Perry's confirmation hearing Overnight Energy: Rough hearing for Tillerson Overnight Energy: Former Exxon chief Tillerson takes the hot seat MORE that they are largely in agreement on the need to improve pipelines, electric transmission lines, energy storage and other pieces of infrastructure.

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Moniz testified at the hearing to promote the Quadrennial Energy Review, which the administration released in April to call for comprehensive infrastructure improvements worth billions of dollars.

“Many people are even asking — not surprisingly — is there enough common ground between our efforts and the Obama administration to enact meaningful energy legislation,” Rep. Ed WhitfieldEd WhitfieldWhy Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? Overnight Energy: Green group sues Exxon over climate science MORE (R-Ky.), chairman of the energy and power subcommittee, said at the Tuesday hearing.

“I do believe that this question was answered with a clear ‘yes’ when the Department of Energy’s first installment of its Quadrennial Energy Review was released last April,” he said.

“This detailed study focuses on the infrastructure implications of America’s new energy boom, and many of its recommendations overlap with provisions in our draft energy bill,” he continued.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the full committee’s chairman, agreed with Whitfield’s assessment and cited last month’s oil pipeline breach in California as a sign of the need.

“Both the energy legislation and the QER include a number of ideas for upgrading and expanding the nation’s energy infrastructure,” Upton said.

“And in light of the recent pipeline spill in California, I would add that both aim to ensure that this new infrastructure is built with state-of-the-art technologies that reduce the environmental and safety risks,” he said.

Moniz said he was glad to see the Republicans’ willingness to work with Democrats and the administration in upgrading infrastructure.

“I look forward to working with you to move these ideas forward, and I really appreciate in the opening remarks the statements about common ground and the opportunities we have to work together,” he said.

Infrastructure is one piece of the House GOP’s ongoing effort to write a comprehensive energy reform package.