Murkowski calls for new energy policy, more domestic drilling

Amid rising energy prices, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is urging the formulation of a national energy policy that expands U.S. oil drilling and creates alternatives to reduce consumption, both of which would provide greater control over energy prices.

In the weekly Republican radio address, the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said her party is prepared to "end the de facto moratorium on new development in the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Rocky Mountain West."

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The Obama administration enacted a moratorium on deepwater drilling permits after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but the federal agency that regulates offshore drilling has issued two new deepwater permits in the last two weeks.

“For far too long, our nation has lacked a coherent energy policy," Murkowski said. "For too many decades, opponents have argued against vital long-term policies because they won’t produce instant gratification."

Murkowski argued that because both supply and demand affect oil prices, Republicans will press for a mixture of new production and making progress on cleaner energy.

"We also want energy to be affordable, abundant, diverse and domestic,” she said.

She argued that drilling will create jobs, protect the nation from international conflicts, reduce the budget deficit and help bring down energy prices.

“The worst part of this emerging crisis is that our own government deserves much of the blame," she said. "International events have pushed prices higher, but our own short-sightedness and restrictions have also played a critical role."

President Obama on Friday also called for a "comprehensive energy strategy" in which the administration continues to develop the country’s oil and gas resources in the short term but begins to wean the country off oil in the coming decades.

Murkowski criticized Democrats for considering raising taxes and fees on oil companies and slowing the permitting process.

"That won’t solve any problems, but it will mean less production, more imports, and higher prices," she said.

During his press conference, Obama pushed back at the criticism, pointing to new federal data that show domestic oil production is at a seven-year high.

Gas prices have risen more than 40 cents in the past month and the national average price of a gallon of regular gas is more than $3.50.

"If energy prices keep climbing, our nation could slip back into recession just as we’re finally emerging from the last one," Murkowski said.

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