What does a Committee do?
A Committee’s main role is to work on legislation and perform oversight on issues within its jurisdiction. return to top
What is your Committee’s jurisdiction?
We have oversight and legislative responsibilities for:

  • Oversight of the Department of the Interior, the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Forest Service
  • National Energy Policy
  • Coal production
  • Energy related aspects of deepwater ports
  • Energy regulation and conservation
  • Energy research and development
  • Extraction of minerals from oceans and Outer Continental Shelf lands
  • Hydroelectric power, irrigation, and reclamation
  • Mining education and research
  • Mining, mineral lands, mining claims, and mineral conservation
  • National parks, recreation areas, wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers, historical sites, military parks and battle fields, and on the public domain, preservation or prehistoric ruins and objects of interest.
  • Naval Petroleum Reserves in Alaska
  • Nonmilitary development of nuclear energy
  • Public lands and forest
  • Renewable energy resources including biofuels, wind, solar and geothermal sources of energy
  • Territorial policy (including changes in status and issues affecting Antarctica, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands,US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Marshall Islands)
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What agencies does the Committee oversee?
U.S. Department of Energy … U.S. Department of the Interior … U.S. Forest Service … and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. return to top
Who is the chairman and ranking member? How are they chosen?
The chairman presides over the Committee and is a member of the party in power within the Senate (the majority party). The ranking member is the Committee’s top leader from the minority party. The chairman and ranking member generally are the senators from each party who have served on our Committee the longest. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) chairs our Committee. Our ranking member is Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). return to top
How many senators are on your committee?
Currently, for the 112th Congress, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has 22 members – 12 Democrats and 10 Republicans. That ratio is proportional to the number of Senators from each party within the entire Senate. return to top
What is a “session”?
A session is a time when Congress is conducting business. There are two regular sessions – the first beginning in January after a general election, and the second starting the following January. These sessions usually end in the mid- to late-fall. return to top
What is “recess”?
A recess period is when Congress is not meeting during one of its sessions. Except in summer, recesses usually last one week and often occur around a major holiday. return to top
What are your hours?
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Recess hours often are shorter. During these hours, you may call 202-224-4971 (or fax 202-224-6163) if you would like to get in touch with the Committee. return to top
How do I contact the Committee?
You may contact us by phone, fax, courier through the mail or in person; however, we encourage constituents to first contact the two senators from their state. A list of senators and their contact information is available by clicking here. return to top
Where can I find the minority staff front room and phone number?
Our Committee has a proud history of bipartisanship; therefore, we share one front office and phone number in Room 304 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building. return to top
I have an appointment to meet with a Committee staffer, where should I go?
Room 304 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building is our reception room, for both the majority and minority staff. A receptionist will notify staff and direct you where to meet them for your appointment. return to top
I’m organizing an event and I would like to invite a member of your staff to participate. How do I go about doing this?
Please fax a copy of the request to the front desk at 202-224-6163. The request will be distributed to appropriate staff members. You may also mail the invitation or deliver it to Room 304 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building.

Please note if you would like to invite staff from the majority side of the Committee, the minority side, or both. return to top
What’s the best way to ask a question/comment/suggest/complain/etc.?
We encourage constituents to first contact the two senators from their state with questions and comments. If the comment or request is Committee-specific, you can write us an e-mail from the link on our homepage. return to top
How often does your committee meet?
The full Committee meets once or twice a week, often on Tuesdays and Thursdays. One or more of our subcommittees (there are four) hold afternoon hearings a few times a week. return to top
What is a Committee Calendar?
The Committee Calendar contains detailed information on the status of introduced bills, nominations, hearings and other Committee activities. You can link to it from the left side of our website’s homepage. return to top
How can I keep up with Committee activities on legislation, nominations and so on?
There are several ways to do this. We may be biased, but we think the best method is to familiarize yourself with this website, as we post updates, bill summaries, legislative text, news releases, fact sheets, testimony, hearing records, video webcasts and so on. Another first-rate tool for tracking legislation is the Library of Congress website, return to top
I noticed a bill has been referred to your Committee. What happens next?
After a bill, resolution, or nomination has been referred to our Committee, it is added to the Committee Calendar (which can be viewed by clicking here or on the “Legislative Calendar” button on the left side of our website’s homepage).

There is no one track for an item in the legislative process, and since our Committee has one of the largest jurisdictions in the U.S. Senate, not all items are acted upon each Congress. Typically after introduction, Committee staff works with Senators who have sponsored the bill; conducts research; reviews local, state and federal law; engages the public and stakeholder community; and tries to resolve any outstanding issues. If more information is needed, a hearing may be held. After a hearing, the Committee may take up the bill in a business meeting (often called a mark up) and report it to the full Senate for consideration.

To keep track of a legislative item, you may visit the Library of Congress’s legislative research tool by clicking here. return to top
I would like to comment on a bill or action that is taking place in your Committee? How do I go about doing this?
Because the Committee is not an independent entity, and all of our work comes from a Senator or a group of Senators, we encourage constituents to first contact the two senators from their state. We are not able to respond to individual comments, suggestions or concerns.

For pending legislation, if you are with an organization or an interested stakeholder and would like to provide a written statement for the record, we accept statements via our mailing address, fax and email, two weeks from the date the hearing took place. Please limit your remarks to 10 pages or up to less.

Please note that the Committee does not have jurisdiction over state regulatory or enforcement agencies or issues involving federal agencies. The Committee also does not handle individual cases; these constituent issues should be resolved by the senators that represent you. return to top
I noticed a bill was referred to your Committee but was not acted on in a previous Congress – does that mean the bill is “dead”?
Basically, yes. All legislation “dies” at the end of a Congress. That being said, any Senator may introduce a bill in a Congressional session, either in its original form or with changes, regardless if it has been introduced before. return to top
How does the nomination process work?
A nomination is an appointment by the President to executive or judicial office that is subject to Senate confirmation. When the nomination reaches the relevant Committee, a majority of the Committee’s senators must vote in favor of the nominee. After a nomination passes Committee approval, it is then sent to the Senate floor for further consideration by the full Senate. return to top
What does it mean “to report”?
“To report” is a legislative term which means that the Committee has passed, or voted “to report” a bill or a nomination to the full Senate for further consideration. return to top
What is a “business meeting” or a “mark up”?
A business meeting (also called a mark up) is when a Committee meets to discuss, debate, amend and vote on legislation or a nomination. In our Committee, all of our mark ups occur at the full Committee level, not in Subcommittee. return to top
How do I find the text of a bill?
Legislative text can be found at this link provided by the Library of Congress. return to top
Where can I find a schedule of upcoming hearings?
On the left side of the Committee’s homepage there is a link for the “Hearing Schedule.” The website will always have the most up-to-date information regarding the Committee’s Calendar and schedule of hearings and business meetings. return to top
What is a field hearing?
When the Committee (or a subcommittee) holds a hearing outside of Washington, D.C., that’s a field hearing. Field hearings, when scheduled, almost always happen during a recess period, and often are not webcast due to logistical and staffing considerations. return to top
Are your hearings open to the public?
All of our hearings and business meetings are open to the public and the press. The Senate buildings are open to the public, and no identification is needed to enter. Archived webcasts of past hearings are available on our website. return to top
How does the Committee pick hearing witnesses?
Witnesses are invited by the Committee, and all decisions regarding hearings and witnesses are made by the Chairman, the Ranking Member, Committee staff, members of the Committee and their staffs. return to top
How can I watch hearings online?
All hearings are webcast live. To watch a hearing, click “Live Webcast” on the left side of the Committee’s homepage . In addition, when a webcast has begun, a link will appear on the information page of the specific hearing that says, “Watch This Hearing Live!”.

When viewing a live webcast, you may be advised to wait a few minutes for the webcast to begin – a webcast will not “go live” until a hearing has officially started, and this occasionally may take a few minutes after the scheduled start time.

To watch archived webcasts of hearings, please click on “Hearing Schedule” on the left side of the Committee homepage. Then scroll to the date of the appropriate hearing, and click “View Archived Webcast.”

Business meetings (“mark ups”) are not webcast or archived, but they are open to the public and the press in the Committee hearing room.

In addition, because of logistical and staffing complexities, the Committee seldom webcasts field hearings. return to top
How do I attend a Committee hearing?
For a hearing or business meeting that is expected to be well-attended, those wishing to attend are advised to arrive 30 minutes to an hour before the designated start time and be prepared to wait outside the hearing room. Witnesses and their aides are allowed to enter the hearing room before the start time of the hearing.

Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Once our hearing room has reached capacity, (as determined by the fire department and Capitol Police), no one else will be allowed to enter unless another person leaves the hearing room and is not returning.

For especially crowded hearings, the Committee will arrange for an overflow room, provided one is available. return to top
If I attend a hearing, can I get a set of testimony while it is occurring?
To reduce the amount of paper used during hearings, the Committee provides copies of written testimony only to Senators, their staffs and the media. All testimony is available to the public on the Committee website after the hearing has ended. return to top
How can I get a copy of a hearing record?
Many recent hearings can be found (in text form) in the hearings section of this site. Hearings that took place at least six months ago can be found in pdf format at GPO Access. Hearings that took place in the 106th Congress can be acquired by sending an email to the Committee's Editor. return to top
Does the Committee hire interns?
Yes, but mostly during the summer. Normally, summer interns are assigned by the Chairman and/or Ranking Member’s personal offices and usually come from the home states of the respective Chairman and/or Ranking Member.

Other times of the year we tend to host legislative fellows from academic societies, professional groups and federal agencies. Those interested in an internship or fellowship with the majority party should send their resume to clerk AT

Please note that due to the amount of resumes we receive, the Committee is unable to respond individually to submissions. If Committee staff has any questions or needs further information they will contact you. return to top
Where can I send a resume?
Electronically, to clerk AT The Committee keeps resumes on file in the event that a position becomes available, but due to the amount of resumes we receive, the Committee is unable to respond individually to these submissions. If Committee staff has any questions or needs further information, they will contact you. return to top