Statements On Introduced Bills And Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

By:  Lisa Murkowski
Date: Jan. 29, 2014
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. President, vast amounts of water are used every day to produce vital fuels and to cool powerplants in the United States. Without this water supply, most of our electricity would stop flowing and our economy and other essential functions would come to a complete stop. At the same time, a great deal of electricity is needed to treat, transport, and convey water across the country not only to support economic growth and well-being but also to sustain basic life. These inseparable links of ``water for energy'' and ``energy for water'' comprise the energy-water nexus.

I believe that the Federal agencies can and must do more to ensure that we have the best possible data, technology, and know-how to ensure that this nexus is well understood and continuously optimized to sustain quality of life and promote economic growth. To that end, I am introducing a bill today entitled ``The Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability Act of 2014'' or the ``NEWS Act of 2014'' for short.

The NEWS Act instructs the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to establish a committee or a subcommittee under the National Science and Technology Council to coordinate and streamline the activities of all Federal departments and agencies on energy-water nexus issues. This new panel will be cochaired by the Secretaries of Energy and Interior and will be tasked with identifying all relevant energy-water nexus activities across the Federal Government; enhancing the coordination of effective research and development activities, both ongoing and in the future; working to gather and disseminate data to enable better practices; and exploring relevant public-private collaboration. The bill also calls for the Office of Management and Budget to submit to the relevant congressional committees a so-called crosscut budget soon after enactment of this act. The cross-cut budget will detail various expenditures across the Federal Government related to energy-water activities and will greatly assist in our coordination and streamlining efforts.

I believe this is a strong bill that deserves to be considered and passed in this Congress. I am grateful to Senator Wyden for sponsoring it with me, and look forward to working with every member in this Chamber to address these important issues.


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