14 energy, wilderness bills passed by Senate

June 21, 2013 at 8:08 AM

WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- A series of bills passed by a Senate energy committee strikes the appropriate balance between energy and conservation, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed 14 bills late Thursday on energy development on federal lands, wilderness protection and recreation.

Murkowski, R-Alaska, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said she was encouraged by the bipartisan support for the measures.

"I believe we've found a balance between energy development and conservation in passing these 14 bills," she said in a statement.

Senate bill 244 would facilitate the permit process for the Bakken oil and natural gas formation spread over the Northern Plains states. The North Dakota government reported significant gains in oil and natural gas production from the reserve area, considered one of the most prolific resource basins in the country.

Other bills would expand the size of wilderness areas in states from Michigan to Alaska.

"I commend Senator Murkowski and the rest of my colleagues on the committee for proving that sensible bills with bipartisan support can thread the needle and pass the U.S. Senate," committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said.

The bipartisan series of bills now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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