To prevent the booklet, which weighs in at 121 pages, from heading straight for the proverbial shelf, Murkowski has been talking to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the new committee chairman. They aren’t cooking up a comprehensive energy bill, but they are looking for more modest, doable things. “Singles and doubles,” is how one committee staffer put it.
For now, it’s hard to say what those might be. Murkowski’s plan includes support for nuclear energy, the Keystone XL pipeline and exports of coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG). She would put government money into energy storage research. She would make “clean energy” a relative term, defining it as “less intensive in global lifecycle impacts on human health and the environment than its likeliest alternative.” She would open up the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil and gas exploration. She would open up more federal offshore areas for oil and wind development, divert some of the royalties to the states and commit the rest to an Advanced Energy Trust Fund for clean-energy research and to pay down the national debt.
We spoke last week about her views on energy.
I like the cover.
When you look at the world at night you can identify energy sources. Those [well-lit areas] are the prosperous nations around the world. And then you see blackout zones. It’s a reminder that energy is good. It’s not this necessary evil that we sometimes tend to focus on. It’s what makes the world go round.
I’ve been told that you and Wyden are looking for “singles and doubles.”
If we can advance things that are smaller but still make a difference, I’m okay with that. You haven’t seen many initiatives move through this committee, get through the floor and get signed by the president. I’m okay with moving some things forward that will help address some of our environmental issues and jobs and move us to a better place as a nation, and I think we can do that with energy.
Yet you and Wyden don’t see eye to eye on many things. He has been leery of permitting LNG exports, for example.
I’ve said he is being cautious. There is a big difference between being cautious and saying I oppose exports. This is an area where we can have a good, legitimate discussion about what is currently in place. I think that the ability to export our abundant resources of LNG is good for us and quite honestly helps with the balance-of-trade issue. Japan would love to see LNG coming from its friend and closest ally, the United States.