Murkowski signals she's open to some fees on oil industry

Murkowski said she would not support additional fees "if what is happening is you are increasing fees to put it in the black hole of the treasury to pay for who knows what."

Murkowski stressed she is opposed to charging fees for unused oil leases, a proposal President Obama floated in an energy policy speech Wednesday. Republicans roundly rejected the "use it or lose it" proposal following the speech as a distraction from more important energy policy issues.

Shell Oil President Marvin Odum recently told the National Journal that he could be open to some fees. But overall, Republicans have blasted the idea of charging additional fees on the oil industry.

Murkowski also insisted Wednesday that opening up wide swaths of U.S. onshore and offshore land to oil-and-gas drilling would lower gas prices in the near term, even though experts largely agree such an effort would have little near-term effect on gas prices.

“I happen to believe that strong enough signals from the president about how we produce [more] ad consume less, will cause OPEC to look at us and say, wait a minute, we’ve got to do what we can to keep the United States from keeping their resolve to do this,” Murkowski said.

Murkowski’s comments come as Obama delivered an energy policy speech at Georgetown University on Wednesday, during which he warned that there are “no quick fixes” to high gas prices and called for a long-term energy policy that focuses on increased production paired with higher efficiency.