Murkowski – reading the tea leaves


It’s not yet clear what she’ll say Monday on the floor, but last Tuesday Murkowski told The Hill that “we continue to look for ways to ensure that we don't kick the economy in the head by way of EPA regulations.”

Whatever she says Monday, though, it will be her second set of comments in recent days about climate.

Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is viewed as a swing vote in the Senate climate debate. She had some nice – if extremely hedged – things to say Friday about a new bipartisan climate bill introduced by Sens. Maria CantwellMaria CantwellUS wins aerospace subsidies trade case over the EU Wells CEO Stumpf resigns from Fed advisory panel Overnight Energy: Lawmakers kick off energy bill talks MORE (D-Wash.) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSwing-state Republicans play up efforts for gun control laws Reid knocks GOP on gun 'terror loophole' after attacks GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (R-Maine).

Their plan imposes emissions limits on fossil energy sources entering U.S. commerce, sends most of the money from government auctions of emissions permits back to taxpayers, and would freeze Wall Street banks out of the emissions permit trading market.

Murkowski pronounced herself “encouraged” by the bipartisan effort to “advance a more sensible approach” to emissions reductions. But she added:

“None of the legislation introduced so far contains adequate preemption of harmful EPA regulations, and we must explore the implications of limiting market participation since doing so could subject regulated entities to significant price uncertainty.”

Let’s see what she says Monday afternoon.