We must boost Alaska pipeline throughput, Murkowski says

6/14/2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today examined America’s energy infrastructure and highlighted the important role that oil and gas pipelines play in moving energy resources, creating jobs, and growing local economies. Murkowski reiterated that strong infrastructure is essential to keeping energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse and secure.

“Without infrastructure, we cannot move vital resources from Point A to Point B. And while some would contend otherwise, we know for a fact that pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to move those resources,” Murkowski said. “We know that pipelines directly create jobs in their construction, maintenance, and operation. We know these are good jobs. We know that pipelines indirectly create jobs because it is a materials-intensive industry. These are also good jobs. And we know that all of this induces economic growth and additional job creation.”

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, pointed to her home state of Alaska where the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), the 800-mile pipeline that transports oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, has become the gold standard for pipelines across the world. Her comments came during a hearing she chaired that focused on the important, but often unrecognized, benefits that oil and gas pipelines provide for the nation.

“An estimated 70,000 people helped build this pipeline from 1969 to 1977, with the actual construction phase taking just over 3 years. And I cannot overstate the positive impact this project has had on my home state. Without it, we would be unable to fund our state government. Energy is the lifeblood of Alaska,” Murkowski said. “We must continue to fight to boost the throughput in that pipeline, which is vital to the energy security of the United States—particularly the West Coast, where refineries are optimized to process North Slope crude.”

Murkowski concluded Tuesday’s hearing by pointing to pipelines as the safest and most efficient way to transport energy and called for the pipeline permitting process to be streamlined so that America can better benefit from its vast energy resources.

Among the witnesses who testified in support of pipeline infrastructure was Sean McGarvey, the president of North America’s Building Trades Unions.

While noting the high wages associated with domestic pipeline jobs, McGarvey also wrote in his prepared testimony that “Every single energy project is subjected to years of regulatory and environmental study. And to be sure, pipeline infrastructure has failed to keep pace with increased production, which had caused several regions of the country to experience shortages and severe price spikes…Our country cannot afford an energy policy that is all hat, no cattle.”

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