GOP senators pitch energy production to intelligence chief

A group of Republican senators led by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are asking the nation’s top intelligence official to study the geopolitical impact of expanded American energy production. 

“We are writing to strongly support analytical efforts by the Intelligence Community assess the geopolitical and international security implications of our nation's energy renaissance, and to ensure that policymakers are kept fully informed of this analysis,” the senators wrote in a letter to Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump on US coronavirus risks: 'We're very, very ready for this' Trump's nomination of an unqualified DNI undermines bipartisan intelligence reform Free Roger Stone MORE on Tuesday. 

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A 2012 report from the National Intelligence Council called increasing American energy production a potential “tectonic shift" in policy. It said that by 2020, the U.S. “could emerge as a major energy exporter” thanks to the shale oil boom, and Republicans have argued that could have a big impact on American foreign policy.

Murkowksi and other Republicans are pushing a bill to end the federal ban on crude oil exports, something they have said could help American allies overseas lessen their reliance on oil from the Middle East or Russia.

Republicans are also looking to expand liquefied natural gas exports, and have touted its potential benefits for allies. In June, while visiting Lithuania, Speaker John Boehner said it is “one of the biggest things we can do for the region,” which currently relies on Russia for a lot of its energy imports.

As GOP bills on energy exports move forward, “our nation is also exporting record volumes of other types of energy, including petroleum products, natural gas by pipeline, natural gas liquids, coal, and nuclear and renewable energy,” the senators, which include Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) wrote. 

“We agree that energy independence within North America and, perhaps, the Western Hemisphere is not only attainable but also increasingly the economic reality,” the senators wrote.