Sen. Murkowski: 'Energy is good'

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) used the Republican weekly address Saturday to promote her new energy blueprint, a comprehensive plan that she argues will increase energy supplies and lower prices by removing government regulations.

“Energy is not a necessary evil. Energy is good. And that’s why it is in our national interest to make energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure," Murkowski says in her address. "I believe that there’s a consensus around these five objectives, and our challenge now is to align federal policy with them."

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In the plan, Murkowski calls for an end to regulations that Republicans believe will constrain the growth of coal-fired power plants, along with the immediate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. Other components include expediting liquefied natural-gas exports, promoting the use of small modular nuclear reactors, and creating a new quasi-federal agency for nuclear waste management.

"Every recommendation in my blueprint is associated with a clear goal for the year 2020," Murkowski said. "We can end our dependence on OPEC oil. We can help make renewable energy more competitive, build on our efficiency gains, and re-establish the supply chain for critical minerals."

The plan also calls for the government to beef up cybersecurity for energy infrastructure and toughen criminal statutes for those who would target the nation's power grid.

The Alaska senator argues that adopting her proposals would have far-reaching, positive impacts across the American economy.

"The ideas in my blueprint would create new jobs, generate new revenues, and slash our dependence on foreign energy. They would shore up our security and strengthen our economy. They would help us minimize the impacts of energy development and reduce the emissions that are blamed for climate change,” Murkowski said.

But Murkowski also acknowledges that many of her proposals are likely non-starters, especially with Democrats in control of the Senate and White House.

"It’s fair to say that not every member of Congress will support every proposal in my blueprint," Murkowski said. "And that’s why I describe it as a conversation starter. It’s intended to provoke a new and a better discussion about energy, to recognize how bright our future can be, and to provide a prudent alternative to the heavy-handed approaches coming from the Administration and the EPA."

President Obama has also called for a renewed focus on energy, devoting a significant part of his second inaugural address to a pledge to address climate change and environmentally friendly energy production.

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Obama said. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”

The White House has said part of that effort will include new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency aimed at reducing emissions from coal-burning power plants, along with ordering federal agencies — including the Pentagon — to reduce energy use.