In North Dakota, energy is a key industry and a vital sector in our increasingly more diversified economy. It is also a key industry for the nation. That’s because every other industry – and every American household – relies on dependable, affordable energy. Energy not only heats and cools our homes, powers our businesses and fuels our transportation systems, it also drives our economy.
Lifting the Ban on Crude Oil Exports
Just as important, energy is a national security issue. Last year, Congress repeal the decades-long ban on U.S. crude oil exports. We worked persistently to get it included in year-end legislation. As a member of the Senate Energy Committee, I cosponsored bipartisan legislation lifting the ban.
Lifting the ban on crude oil exports is a triple win – it will create jobs and grow our economy. It will keep the price of gasoline lower at the pump for consumers because of more supply, and it will bolster national security through energy security.
U.S. crude oil can now provide our allies with alternative sources of oil and free them from their reliance on energy from unstable parts of the world. We finally have an opportunity to curb the disproportionate influence OPEC has had on the world oil market for five decades.
Building a National Energy Plan for the Future
I am also pushing to implement policies nationally to build a comprehensive plan for federal energy development that lets states lead the way. To build the right kind of energy plan for our country, we need to both reduce the regulatory burden and build the energy infrastructure – the pipelines, transmission lines, roads and rail – that will help us to move energy around the country as safely as possible from where it’s produced in states like North Dakota. My legislation takes a states-first approach that provides certainty and encourages investment.
- Approving the Keystone XL Pipeline: In January of last year, Congress passed my Keystone Approval legislation with a bipartisan majority. Unfortunately, the president vetoed it, despite broad public support and several findings of no significant environmental impact. We will continue the effort to build the Keystone XL and other vital energy infrastructure projects for the nation.
- North American Energy Security Act: Reduces the regulatory burden and streamlines the cross-border approval process to encourage the construction, operation, of maintenance of pipelines, electric transmission lines and other important energy infrastructure. It doesn’t alter the federal environmental review process, but sets time limits for agencies to make a decision once the NEPA process is completed.
- Coal Ash Recycling Act: Establishes a states-first approach to regulate the recycling as well as the safe disposal of coal ash. Currently, the EPA’s final rule sets standards for disposal that can only be enforced through citizen lawsuits, which creates uncertainty for the industry and higher energy costs for consumers.
- Empower States Act: States are the first and best responders to oil and gas issues because they know their land and have a stake in protecting their environment. Our bill ensures that states retain the right to manage oil and gas production with good environmental stewardship, develop hydraulic fracturing rules and respond first to violation.
- North Atlantic Energy Security Act: Our bill reduces flaring, provides for good environmental stewardship and enhances national security by ensuring America’s allies have access to much-needed liquid natural gas (LNG).
- All of the Above Federal Energy Act: Instead of prohibiting the use of fossil fuels in new federal buildings, we should rely on all of our available energy resources. By encouraging the use of innovative technologies and practices, instituting reasonable goals and allowing building managers flexibility, we can achieve better environmental stewardship in a cost-effective manner.
- Water Heater Efficiency Legislation into Law: We introduced and Congress passed legislation enabling rural electric cooperatives and their members to continue using large, energy-efficient water heaters in “demand response” conservation programs. The legislation addressed the Department of Energy’s plan to phase out these water heaters in 2015. The law allows the continued manufacture of large “grid-enabled” electric water heaters, which play an important role in energy savings programs used by rural cooperatives.