- - Monday, May 1, 2017

The United States has some of the most robust and reliable energy infrastructure in the world. It allows us to harness energy and move it from where it is produced to where it can be utilized.

Without it, there would be no fuel when we pull up to the station, and there would be no light when we flip on a switch.

Energy infrastructure is central to our way of life and our standard of living, but it is almost always an afterthought — until it breaks down.

We have seen that too often in recent years, making this a perfect time to look at our options to either rebuild or, in many cases, build energy infrastructure for the first time. …

Much of our nation’s infrastructure is privately owned and maintained.

Upgrading it and building new infrastructure is an expensive and time-consuming process. Hundreds of projects, representing billions of dollars of investment, are currently navigating the federal labyrinth of permitting — multiple agencies, numerous forms and duplicative requirements make this process cumbersome and can delay projects for years.

Of course, the federal permitting process is also layered on top of state and local permitting processes with little to no apparent coordination, which only adds to the difficulty of “getting to yes.”

I am glad that President Trump has made infrastructure a national priority. I look forward to working with him and his administration, as well as members of the Senate to develop a broad infrastructure package. And I certainly hope that package will include provisions that streamline the permitting process for all energy infrastructure projects. …

I like to say that energy is good — you all have heard that. This morning, I would add to it that energy infrastructure is good, and that it belongs in any conversation we have about roads, bridges and airports.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. This is an excerpt of remarks she made March 14, 2017, at the committee’s hearing on opportunities for energy infrastructure.

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