Pledges to Continue to Work to Improve Boxer-Lieberman-Warner Bill to Meet Alaskan Concerns with Measure

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Anchorage office staff today received petitions from a group of Alaskans urging her to vote for the Boxer substitute of a global climate change bill that is currently being debated on the Senate floor.

Murkowski’s staff accepted the petitions and said the Senator will continue her efforts to fully understand how the complex bill will affect Alaskans. Senator Murkowski said she has yet to decide how she will vote on the measure, but said she still has considerable concerns about the costs of this legislation on average Alaskans.

“I’m reviewing the bill, but I have concerns about it as it’s currently written. In particular, I’m concerned that the strict restrictions on energy will lead to large increases in the cost of energy, which will inevitably be passed on to the consumer. I believe we have to strike the right balance between environmental regulations and the effects on the economy. Until the impact of the bill on Alaskans can be fully understood, I’m not comfortable supporting a measure that could have such a profound impact on Alaskans,” said Murkowski, who said she looks forward to the amendment process.

Murkowski said the new Boxer substitute still contains a questionable cost-containment mechanism – safety valve – that could cause Alaskan energy prices to rises substantially in the future. And she said she still has concerns about the income redistribution provisions, the bureaucracy the bill would create, and how it would affect Alaska’s existing industries, from its small petroleum refineries and its lone coal mining company to how it could affect fuel prices for the state’s fishing industry.  She noted that Alaska was denied aid under the coastal impact provisions in the bill and that aid for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program and for the weatherization programs were also deleted from the Boxer provision.

She noted that no new forecasts have been developed yet as to the impacts of the current Boxer proposal, but that forecasts of the original Lieberman-Warner climate bill predicted it would cost the average American between $446 more in energy costs in 2020 to $2,927 more that year; and from $1,257 to $6,750 more by 2030. She noted that range in estimates is another reason she has concerns in voting for a measure until there is time to gain greater certainty about its impacts on average Alaskans.

Senate debate on the bill formally will start Wednesday.