SENATOR MURKOWSKI CALLS FOR REALISTIC ENERGY PLANWASHINGTON, D.C. – Although the Republican energy package was not approved by the Senate, Senator Lisa Murkowski today pledged to continue to fight for a sound energy policy, one that includes opening ANWR. The Republican package to expand domestic energy production and drive down energy prices included opening ANWR, speeding oil shale development, permitting offshore oil and gas lease revenue sharing and encouraging careful use of synthetic fuels made from coal.
“At this time of record oil prices we need a truly balanced energy policy,” said Senator Murkowski. “We must expand our use of alternative and renewable energy and place greater emphasis on conservation. But it is also imperative that we increase our production of domestic fossil fuels so that they may act as a bridge to a point where new energy sources can meet our needs.”
The proposed legislation, which included the immediate opening of the Arctic coastal plain to oil and gas development, would allow state governors to petition to permit oil and gas leasing off the East and West Coasts in the Lower 48, while providing sharing of 37.5 percent of all federal Outer Continental Shelf revenues with all producing states and local jurisdictions. Another 12.5 percent would have gone to the Land and Water Conservation Fund for states to use to build parks.
The bill also would have required the production of 6 billion gallons of coal-based synthetic fuels by 2022, provided the fuels produced no more carbon emissions in total than existing gasoline. That would have helped fuel more coal development in Alaska, the state with the largest reserves of coal in America. The plan also would have removed a moratorium against oil shale development in the West, allowed a speed up in the construction of new oil refineries, accelerated production of advanced batteries for use in electric plug-in cars, and improved the definition of biomass to encourage wood waste, among other sources, to be used in electricity generation.
While the Republican amendment did not pass, the Senate did show support for a lone amendment that will suspend placing between 70,000 and 100,000 barrels of U.S. royalty oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve only until the end of the year because of the current high prices. That may help alleviate high fuel prices slightly. Senator Murkowski voted for that amendment which passed, 97-1.
“Some members of Congress still don’t understand that we are in a fuel crisis for average Americans and that we need to do everything possible to drive down the price of gasoline, home heating oil, natural gas and all fossil fuels so that we can afford to install renewable energy projects for the future,” said Murkowski.
She said she will continue to push a different ANWR-opening bill that she introduced with Senator Stevens in March that would open ANWR once the price of oil remains above $125 a barrel for five days – one more day is needed to trigger the opening by the legislation – with all of the estimated nearly $300 billion of revenues going to build alternative energy projects or to fund aid to low-income residents to buy energy or to fund other social aid programs.