U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), said if the energy package introduced this week by Congressional Republicans is passed, the country could be well on its way to achieving energy independence.
Hoeven introduced the Senate version of the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act of 2012 on Thursday. The House has already passed several of the 13 bills that comprise the legislation.
“We’re working to build an energy platform for the country based on the plan we built for the state of North Dakota,” Hoeven said. “We can get to energy security within five to seven years ... but it takes this type of approach.”
One of the 13 bills included in the legislation is approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project.
If approved, the pipeline would stretch from the Canadian province of Alberta to the Gulf Coast. Of the total pipeline capacity of 830,000 barrels of oil per day, a total of 100,000 barrels of oil per day has been promised to be dedicated to Bakken crude. The majority of the oil traveling through the pipeline would be Canadian oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta.
The pipeline has been under review for more than four years. President Barack Obama denied a permit to TransCanada, the company proposing the project, in January.
Other pieces of the legislation include establishing an American Energy Development Plan, a freeze on EPA rules on gasoline regulations, advancing offshore wind energy production and leasing of mineral acres in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve.
“A number of the bills within the package, they did get Democratic support in the House,” Hoeven said.
The bill is intended to create an all-of-the-above approach to national energy, Hoeven said. He said the policy is essentially a national version of the EmPower North Dakota initiative the state created in 2007. The initiative set goals for increased energy production and legislation was passed to allow for energy sectors to begin working together rather than competing against each other.
Hoeven said this approach can be successful if applied nationally. He added that if regulations and red tape are cut, the permitting process for domestic energy projects can be streamlined.
“By reducing regulations we can also reduce the bureaucracy. But it will also create an incredible amount of new jobs in the private sector,” Hoeven said.
When compared to the size and scope of other major legislation such as the Farm Bill, Hoeven said the energy legislation is very manageable.
“It’s obviously going to be tough to do this year because it’s an election year,” Hoeven said.
He said if enough progress is made on hammering out amendments to the legislation in the coming months it could potentially be passed by the end of the year.
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