Murkowski: Climate Rule Exemption Huge Victory for Alaska

Obama Administration Exempts State from Final “Clean Power Plan” Rule

Senator Lisa Murkowski today issued the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final version of its rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants:

“A few hours ago, I spoke with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who told me that Alaska will be exempt from the steep requirements of its final rule. This is by far the best possible outcome for our state and therefore a significant victory. I appreciate the EPA’s recognition of the facts – that Alaska has unique needs, limited options for cost-effective compliance, and is not interconnected. We simply should not be bound by this sweeping regulation,” Murkowski said.

Murkowski questioned McCarthy about the potential to exempt Alaska from the “Clean Power Plan” during an Interior Appropriations Subcommittee hearing that she convened in April 2015. At the time, Murkowski explained how the proposal would not work in a sparsely populated state like Alaska and urged McCarthy to exclude Alaska from the final version. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, and the Alaska Energy Authority, along with many others in the state, including the Alaska Power Association, similarly asked for the state to be exempt in their formal comments on the proposed rule.

(In an April Interior Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Senator Murkowski pressed the EPA Administrator on the Clean Power Plan policy – click to view.)

Murkowski also convened a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last month to further highlight the difficult challenges that islanded energy systems – like Alaska – that are not connected to a larger grid already face.      

“Although I appreciate EPA’s recognition of Alaska’s unique needs and challenges, I continue to have very strong concerns about the national impacts of this rule,” Murkowski added. “In the days ahead, I will be reviewing it closely to determine its impacts on electricity prices, the reliability of our electric grid, and many other related factors.  While it is a positive for Alaska to be exempt, I am mindful of the fact that nearly every other state will be forced to comply, and of the burdens that will impose across the country.”