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 Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (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.

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