posted on February 04, 2013 15:59
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the top Republican on the U.S. Senate Energy and Commerce Committee, released her energy blueprint entitled “Energy 2020” on Feb. 4.
Murkowski touted her plan as a balanced approach, which would increase U.S. domestic oil drilling and loosen federal regulations on energy-related projects while also increasing resources for renewable energy sources like biofuels, wind, and solar.
The plan is not in legislative form but rather is “designed to be a discussion blueprint” that has been a year in the making, she said.
The plan would open the coastal plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas drilling, a controversial move strongly opposed by environmentalists. It also calls for strengthened partnerships with Canada and Mexico to ensure oil exports from those countries continue.
The plan calls for streamlining the federal review and permitting process that Republicans have complained has delayed or sidelined important energy projects like the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, that would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the Gulf Coast.
Murkowski’s proposal has no new taxes and states that any new spending must be fully offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget. And while the plan does not directly address the controversial “cap and trade” emissions-trading programs — an effort critics say would lead to higher energy costs — the senator said she will not support anything that leads to higher energy prices for Americans.
Meanwhile, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) will unveil the Democratic equivalent to Murkowski’s plan this week.
On Feb. 7, Warner will join other experts to announce recommendations on energy efficiency in conjunction with the Alliance to Save Energy. "This 'Energy 2030' plan provides policy solutions through investments, modernization, and education and includes an in-depth analysis that shows how these gains in energy productivity can increase U.S. GDP up to 2 percent, create annual savings of $327 billion, and save the average household $1,039," Warner writes on National Journal’s Energy Experts blog.