Murkowski, ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is teaming up with the chairman to work on modernizing domestic energy policy.
The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee with jurisdiction over energy matters said he wants to reach out to Senate colleagues to find areas of consensus.
Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Edward Whitfield, R-Ky., said at the CQ Roll Call event that he will meet with Wyden and Murkowski to identify legislation that could be fast-tracked in both chambers. Whitfield identified permitting processes, grid reliability and pipeline infrastructure issues as areas for potential agreement.
“I would think there would be a lot of areas of common ground,” Whitfield told reporters. “We have one of the very significant issues out there.”
Whitfield even invited senators from both parties to attend the subcommittee forums he started holding earlier this year on potential revisions to the Clean Air Act.
The subcommittee’s Democrats have avoided the sessions, which they see as part of a broader House GOP campaign to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory agenda.
But Whitfield insisted the sessions have identified changes that could make the law work better. For example, he said, state and local air quality administrators suggested that ambient air quality standards, which are updated every five years, could be revised less frequently.
“We’re not doing this with any predetermined goal,” he said. “But simply, I view these as informational to let people who deal with this on a regular basis — what are their concerns, what issues do they have?”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.