U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is traveling to North Dakota on Monday for a two-day tour of oil and natural gas development in that state's Bakken region with Sen. John Hoeven, her colleague on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
North Dakota and Alaska are national energy leaders, ranking, respectively, the second and third largest oil-producing states in the nation.The senators will visit oil and natural gas production sites -- including an oil rig, gas plant and rail station -- to review the technological advancements being used to recover oil and gas from the Bakken shale.
The senators will assess the benefits and challenges that come with resource development. The rapid growth of North Dakota's oil and gas industry has contributed to the state having the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 3 percent, as well as a $1 billion budget surplus. The increased activity has also put new demands on the region's infrastructure and public services.
"It's important to see firsthand the places that are making our nation more energy independent. My trip to North Dakota will be my fourth visit this year to a "frontier' energy producing area," Murkowski said. "In each of these promising regions -- the Gulf of Mexico, the Marcellus, the Arctic, and the Bakken -- it's clear that we have the collective resources to meet far more of our energy needs with domestic production, but the federal government is creating unique problems in each place. Technology has caught up with demand and is helping demonstrate that our energy challenges have nothing to do with scarcity and a lot to do with public perception and government policy choices.
"Murkowski's visit to North Dakota follows last month's visit to Alaska by Hoeven. North Dakota represents the fourth oil- and gas-producing region in the United States that Murkowski has visited this year. Earlier this year, she toured energy developments in the Gulf of Mexico and in West Virginia's Marcellus region. Murkowski also brought her colleagues, Sens. Ron Wyden, D-OR., and Hoeven, to look at oil and gas prospects on Alaska's North Slope.
Murkowski and Hoeven have been working together to advance the nation's energy goals. Murkowski is a cosponsor of Hoeven's Domestic Energy and Jobs Act of 2012. Hoeven is a cosponsor of Murkowski's OPEN Act, legislation that would expand American offshore energy production with a revised five-year leasing plan, and provide revenue sharing to participating coastal states, including Alaska.