U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today applauded her colleagues on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for advancing 12 energy and lands bills out of the panel for consideration by the full Senate.
"It's important to acknowledge the work that has gone into these bills, as some have been worked on for many years," said Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the panel. "To be able get to a point where we can move these bills out on a bipartisan basis really says something about the hard work, the dialogue and negotiations, and ultimately, the accommodations made on both sides."
Among the bills reported by the committee by voice votes:
S. 28, a bill by Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) to provide for the conveyance of a small parcel of National Forest System land in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah to Brigham Young University.
S. 155, a bill by Sen. Murkowski to designate a mountain in the state of Alaska as Denali.
S. 159, a bill by Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) to designate the Wovoka Wilderness and provide for certain land conveyances in Lyon County, Nevada.
S. 327, a bill by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to enter into cooperative agreements with State foresters authorizing State foresters to provide certain forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration and protection services.
S. 340, a bill by Sen. Murkowski to provide for the settlement of certain claims under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
S. 486, a bill by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) to authorize pedestrian and motorized vehicular access in Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.
S. 783, a bill by Sens. Murkowski and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to amend the Helium Act to improve helium stewardship.
The Helium Stewardship Act is expected to generate an estimated $495 million over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That money will be used for deficit reduction, the Abandoned Mine Land Fund, the Secure Rural Schools program, lowering taxes on domestic mineral production, and cleaning up the federal government's abandoned exploratory oil wells.
The bill also includes a cost-sharing program that will make a down payment on the $13 billion maintenance backlog of the National Parks Service. Next month, the committee will focus on National Parks legislation, including how to handle these important funding issues.