lisa murkowskiLisa Murkowski

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is open to voting for a cap-and-trade climate bill if it would aggressively boost nuclear power and domestic oil and gas drilling, she said in a C-SPAN interview aired on Oct. 18.  “Count me as one of those who will keep my mind open as we move forward,” she said. 

“It seems like we’ve gotten to this point where you’re either for Waxman-Markey or Kerry-Boxer or you’re against the environment,” she continued.  “That’s not a fair statement or comparison.” She said she’s spoken with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-N.C.) about climate legislation, after Graham teamed up with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to call for a bipartisan climate bill.

Murkowski also talked in the C-SPAN interview about how climate change is already affecting her home state:  “When you see changes to the land coming about … what is causing the loss of the sea ice that adds to the erosion issues, yes, in Alaska we are seeing change,” she said. “And that’s why I have been one of those Republicans who has perhaps stepped out front a little bit more on the issue of climate change.” 

Just a month earlier, in September, Murkowski ticked off the green community by proposing a budget-bill amendment that would prevent the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide from stationary sources like power plants and factories for one year.  The amendment did not actually come up for a vote, but Murkowski has continued to argue that the EPA should keep out of the business of regulating CO2 until Congress acts on the issue. 

Also in mid-September, Murkowski issued a press release asserting that the cost of the Waxman-Markey House climate bill would be much higher than the Obama administration was admitting. “I believe we need to do something about climate change, but I’m equally concerned about the health of the economy,” she said.  “We shouldn’t pass legislation that makes it harder for Americans to get back on their feet.”

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Here’s more on Murkowski and climate, as written by Kate Sheppard on July 30, 2009:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, cosponsored many components of the energy bill that passed out of the committee in June. She was one of four Republicans to support the measure, which will likely be packaged with a climate bill this fall.

Murkowski talked up GOP committee members’ successful efforts “to include a number of provisions that will lead to more domestic production of the conventional energy we need to drive this country,” but she said she will push for still more when the bill reaches the Senate floor. “We simply must do more to increase our domestic [energy] production and use of nuclear energy,” she said.

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Murkowski does not like the climate bill that passed the House in June. “Waxman-Markey Not a Solution to Climate Change,” declared a press release she issued after the bill’s passage. “This bill was forced through the House in a process designed to minimize open, transparent debate and preclude a thorough analysis of what the bill actually does,” she said. “The cost of this legislation remains staggering, and the mechanisms within the bill to contain those costs are inadequate.”

“Climate change is a problem we should address, but we must do so in a responsible manner that will safeguard our economy,” she continued.

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