Murkowski hopes to revive her ambitious, bipartisan energy bill with new legislation

By Erica Martinson, ADN.

WASHINGTON — Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is making a push to resurrect her energy bill that stalled out in the final days of Congress in 2016.

So far, the plan mirrors her previous effort: keep it bipartisan, and separate any legislation likely to gum up the works in the Senate.

A similar bipartisan effort helped her energy bill move through the upper chamber last year but was also the thing that stopped it from making it past the more conservative House of Representatives, where members were unwilling to make the same compromises that drove it to succeed in the Senate.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which Murkowski chairs, passed 59 bills, largely by voice vote, on March 30. Nine of those bills are Alaska-specific legislation that Murkowski included in her energy package last year. The bills offer federal-state land exchanges, encourage expanding hydroelectric power in Alaska, and make changes to existing statutes, including one allowing for a natural gas pipeline through non-wilderness areas of Denali National Park.

"I think we wrapped up our business meeting in probably less than 15 minutes," Murkowski said later that day. At the hearing, "we moved through a package of lands bills; we moved through the sportsman bill that Senator (Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico) and I have been working on; we moved through a nuclear provision, (and) provisions relating to hydro."