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U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle welcomed with varying degrees of enthusiasm Shell's announcement Feb. 27 that it was delaying its plans to drill for oil offshore in Alaska this summer.

"This pause … is necessary for Shell to repair its ships and make the necessary updates to its exploration plans that will ensure a safe return to exploration soon," Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Feb27.

House Natural Resources ranking member Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who has been one of the most outspoken critics of Shell's Arctic plans, was more excited: "After bumbling through a year of mishaps, beachings, and complete safety failures, it's clear that Shell and the oil industry was not ready to drill in the Arctic." He added that the delay will give the Interior Department more time to conduct a comprehensive review of Arctic drilling, which it has previously said it would do.

Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) believes there is bipartisan support for significant legislation designed to improve energy efficiency with the help of the private sector.

"I firmly believe we can get something major done on energy efficiency," he told The Hill on Feb. 27 at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Innovation Summit.

Tonko's optimistic tone comes on the heels of a Tuesday hearing on the subject held by the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

Posted in: Washington News
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