U.S. Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas says he’s once again filing a bill that would mandate a 4-year review of all energy programs and energy needs in the country.
Pryor, a Democrat, said the measure received bipartisan support last year, but he’s still trying to gain support from Republican lawmakers this time around. Because of fracking and horizontal drilling, Pryor says there is now an abundance of natural gas in Arkansas, but…
“Now folks in Washington, again good intentions, say well maybe we ought to convert our 18-wheeler fleet over to natural gas, or maybe we ought to start exporting liquefied natural gas, or maybe ought to fuel switch in our electricity generation from coal and other sources to natural gas… well, all of that may be good, but there is no long-term strategy on that,” Pryor said.
Republican Senator John Boozman says he has previously supported and cosponsored the measure for good reasons.
“It’s really important to look at our energy policy and then really create a path forward,” said Boozman. “We’re blessed. We have tremendous energy potential in our country and tremendous energy reserves. Right now, we can truthfully say that in 10 years if we did the right steps we could be energy independent. Now we might still be buying some oil from overseas, but we would also be exporting.”
As the chief sponsor of measure, Senator Mark Pryor says the Quadrennial Energy Review Act will ensure the country has a smart and comprehensive national energy policy with overarching goals that everyone can strive to achieve.
In other legislative news, for much of this week congressional lawmakers have been outlining spending priorities for fiscal year 2013 and Pryor says he supports a hybrid bill that includes appropriations from last year.
“The Senate bill is good in the sense that it prevents a government shutdown, it gets us back in regular order on our appropriations bills and budget, and it’s better than a simple continuing resolution. This is a step in the right direction,” said Pryor.
Next week, the Senate takes up the budget for the following year and Senator Boozman says provisions in the budget must be based on pro-growth policies.
“Right now, because of our indebtedness and our deficit, a lot of economists believe that’s one of the things holding us back and putting a lid on GDP,” Boozman said. “Getting our economic house back in order, doing the budgeting process… this is the first time the Senate’s had a budget in four years, and the federal government needs to stick to a budget just like the people of Arkansas have to do every year.”
Boozman says some Arkansans are still unemployed and underemployed, while others have just simply stopped looking for work. He says lawmakers have to make sure budget priorities don’t hinder economic recovery efforts.