US legislators led by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D Louisiana) introduced a bill in the
Senate on Tuesday that aims to promote collaboration with Israel on energy
research and development.
Landrieu proposed the bill alongside
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairman and
ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural
Titled the United States-Israel Energy Cooperation Enhancement
Bill, the legislation aims to recognize the potential for and foster
collaborations on developing resources such as natural gas and alternative
fuels, through the countries’ academic, business, governmental and other
sectors, according to the senators.
“With the discovery of the Leviathan
field, Israel has the opportunity to achieve energy independence, boost its
economy through natural gas exports and enhance its security,” Landrieu said.
“This is an incredible chance for the US to share our energy expertise to
support a critical ally, while creating economic opportunities here at
Her region of America – the Gulf Coast – has one of the most
advanced offshore drilling industries in the world. Landrieu argued that the US
is “uniquely qualified to lead the effort to help Israel develop this
Landrieu has been working for years toward strengthening the
bond between the US and Israel on energy research and development, organizing
the first American oil and gas trade mission to Israel in October 2011, in
conjunction with the US Department of Commerce. The following year, Landrieu
chaired a second such delegation, where she called Israel’s gas finds “a
game-changer” for a country in a “very difficult neighborhood,” during an energy
In June 2012, Landrieu arranged the visit of a high-ranking
delegation of Israeli energy officials, including then-energy and water minister
Uzi Landau, to Louisiana and Washington, DC, to discuss energy
“Through energy collaboration, academic cooperation and
continued government dialogue, we will create jobs for our domestic oil and gas
industry, support a critical ally in the Middle East in its quest for energy
independence and security, and demonstrate the strength of the US-Israel
relationship,” she said.
The US-Israel Energy Cooperation Enhancement
Bill calls for an official recognition of the cooperation between the countries
on this issue, and encourages collaboration among their academic institutions,
business sectors and particularly the United States National Science Foundation
and the Israel Science Foundation.
Urging continued engagement among the
countries’ relevant agencies and ministries, the bill proposes sharing best
practices in a number of energy-related fields. Among these are regulatory best
practices, cyber energy infrastructure, energy efficiency of water technologies,
environmental management of deepwater exploration and coastal protection and
The bill calls for expanding existing USIsrael joint grant
programs, through the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD)
program and the Binational Science Foundation. If the bill becomes law, these
programs will be reauthorized through the end of the 2024 US fiscal
In addition, the bill calls for cooperative agreements between the
US Department of Energy – including its National Laboratories – and the Israeli
government, as well as the opening of a US-Israel Center based in America that
would further dialogue, collaborations, technological innovation and
geopolitical studies related to natural resource development.
legislation that will strengthen the special bond between the US and Israel by
increasing cooperation and dialogue on cutting- edge energy issues,” Wyden said.
“The US should seize this opportunity to help Israel capitalize on a historic
discovery of natural gas, and continue to share research and best practices on a
range of renewable and other energy technologies.”
that the legislation will ensure “a cooperative spirit” among some of “the best
and brightest” in the two countries.
“Cooperation with our closest ally
in the Middle East is in our strategic interest and is especially important in
light of recent discoveries of potentially major reservoirs of natural gas off
of the coast of Israel,” she said.
Myron Brilliant, executive vice
president and head of international affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce,
praised the senators for taking steps in line with the chamber’s goals of
strengthening regulatory and policy collaborations with Israel on
“The American business community and the Chamber’s US-Israel
Business Initiative are eager to advance a 21st-century energy partnership
between the United States and Israel that moves both countries toward a more
stable energy future,” Brilliant said.
The Israeli Energy and Water
Ministry provided no comment in response to the bill.