In Brief: Sen. Lisa Murkowski on energy policy

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

President Barack Obama’s push for clean energy technology begins to take shape tomorrow as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee meets to mark up legislation.

FederalNewsRadio talked with the ranking member of the committee, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), about how Congress is approaching the subject.

The Goal of the Legislation

“So what we’re working on in the Energy committee is an approach towards energy that will allow us as a nation to have cleaner energy at a more affordable price that produces more jobs here in this country because it’s domestic energy.”

A New Grid

“Transmission siting is absolutely critical if we’re going to meaningfully advance renewable energies in this country.”

“All the conversation that’s going on right now about powering this country on renewables, it will not happen, it can not happen until we are successful in updating our transmission.”

“We’ve got a mark up in the Energy committee tomorrow and transmission siting will be one of the hot topics. We’re still debating how you allocate the cost. If the wind’s coming out of North Dakota and you’re trying to send it (the generated power) across country, who’s the beneficiary and how are those costs shared? So there’s some pretty meaty issues we’ve got to iron out here.”

Offshore Drilling

“We will continue to advance further exploration and drilling opportunities offshore. We recognize that the resources are vast, the need is great, it’s again, domestic energy production, so from where I’m sitting, it’s going to be a priority.”

“I believe that given the technology advancements that we have made in energy technology, there is no reason that we can’t safely explore and drill in the deepest of our waters.”

Cap and Trade

“On the Senate side, we do not have a cap and trade component within our energy bill.”

Reconciling the House Cap and Trade Provision

“It’s a little tense I think is probably the best way to describe it. Cap and trade is very controversial, and it’s controversial because there will be costs. And those costs, necessarily, will be passed on to the consumer. The folks that I represent up in Alaska are already socked with incredibly high energy costs. If I have to go back home and tell them that their energy bills could be increased by, say, $3,000 per family, they’re going tell me to go pound sand. I’ve got to figure out a way, if in fact we are able to advance something like cap and trade, how we’re able to reduce the cost to the consumer.”

Off to a Good Start

“We’ve got good concentration on efficiencies and conservation and how we can truly use less energy in this country.”

“There is a good focus on renewables… and we’ll also have a focus on increased domestic production.”

The full committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday at 10:00.

On the Web:

Senate – Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Senate – Full Committee Business Meeting (Schedule)

Roll Call – Murkowski: Outlook for Passing Legislation Is Positive (Op-ed)

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