Obama and Murkowski back green tech cash – with one huge difference

Her plan, part of a wider energy blueprint unveiled last week, would create an “Advanced Energy Trust Fund” to seed initiatives on renewable power, advanced vehicles and other green tech.

Murkowski, in a statement Wednesday, said Obama’s proposal in Tuesday night’s State of the Union is a sign of common ground.

“There is an idea I may agree with in the president’s State of the Union address – an Energy Security Trust,” Murkowski said.

“Under my Advanced Energy Trust Fund proposal, new production on previously-closed federal lands could provide a substantial source of new revenue to fund research on the most promising new energy technologies, while paying down the national debt. I intend to get to work on this as soon as possible,” she said.

Proposals to earmark billions of dollars from leasing bids and production royalties for alternative energy programs have been sloshing around energy policy circles for years.

But there’s a massive – and perhaps fatal – difference between what the White House and Murkowski envision.

Murkowski wants to open various lands and waters to oil-and-gas leasing that the White House wants kept off-limits, such as Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and portions of the Atlantic coast.

The White House says it backs faster permitting in areas where development is already allowed and hopes to beef up efforts at the Bureau of Land Management, which regulates onshore oil-and-gas drilling.

Obama on Tuesday vowed to “keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.”

But administration officials are not proposing anything like opening ANWR or expanding the scope of their offshore leasing plans, which are focused on the Gulf of Mexico and, several years in the future, more leasing off Alaska’s Arctic coast.

The White House plan calls for diverting $2 billion over 10 years into the “Energy Security Trust.”

The Hill's Zack Colman has more on Obama's proposal and the GOP's reaction here.