Recently, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced a major bipartisan bill aimed at securing a prosperous and sustainable energy future for America. The Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 — shaped by a rigorous, bipartisan process that actually began in the last Congress — has been placed directly on the Senate calendar for expedited floor consideration. If enacted, the legislation would modernize outdated laws to capitalize on our nation’s energy abundance and create a foundation for accelerating technological innovation and clean energy.
Murkowski and Cantwell’s bill addresses many of the objectives and recommendations from an effort we led at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Our diverse group of technical experts, business leaders and policy advocates supported measures to increase the efficiency of decisionmaking on liquefied natural gas exports, develop technology grid modernization and energy storage demonstration programs, increase energy efficiency for buildings and manufacturing, and reauthorize the Advanced Research Projects Agency on Energy and components of the America Competes Act energy innovation programs that are essential to develop the breakthroughs needed to provide clean, affordable and secure low-carbon energy.
The legislation builds on the collaborative and detailed work of the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015. In true bipartisan fashion, numerous hearings were held in the Senate Energy Committee, allowing for the constructive collision of ideas among colleagues. Ultimately, final legislation included provisions from more than 80 senators.
We commend Murkowski and Cantwell for their commitment to securing America’s energy future. The Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 is a significant accomplishment in advancing our nation’s economic, environment and security interests. Finally, this bipartisan bill reminds us what is possible if Congress can move beyond destructive rhetoric and work together in good faith to solve the biggest problems facing America’s citizens.
Trent Lott served as U.S. senator from Mississippi from 1989 to 2007. Byron Dorgan served as U.S. senator from North Dakota from 1992 to 2011. Both authors are senior fellows at the Bipartisan Policy Center.