Last week Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the senior Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, published a blueprint for energy policy, titled “Energy 20/20: A Vision for America’s Energy Future.” The blueprint offers ideas to “align federal policy with… our national interest to make energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure.”
Among the main ideas in Sen. Murkowski’s blueprint are:
- Establishing a national goal to become independent of OPEC imports by 2020 by increasing domestic oil, biofuel and synthetic fuel production.
- Approving the Keystone XL pipeline.
- Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling and lifting the current exploration ban along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.
- Streamlining the leasing and permitting process for oil shale and shallow-water drilling.
- Increasing access to federal lands for geothermal power development.
- Promote new technologies and support deployment of Small Modular [Nuclear] Reactors (SMRs).
- Increase R&D for “drop-in” replacement fuels.
- Allocating revenue from expanded energy development into a federal “Advanced Energy Trust Fund” for renewable power, energy efficiency, and alternative fuel programs.
Franz Matzner, associate director of government affairs for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said that the blueprint “Reads more like a cut-and-paste job from the fossil fuel industry’s playbook of the past. It relies extensively on policies and incentives for increased oil and gas drilling, while ruling out many of the policy tools most likely to reduce carbon pollution and bring cleaner energy technologies into the marketplace.”
What’s your take on Senator Lisa Murkowski’s energy policy blueprint? Are these the most important discussion points for energy experts and policymakers to be talking about? Where are there obvious areas of consensus, and what’s preventing these points of agreement from turning into strong policy?