Sen. Murkowski Tells Platts Energy Podium: Energy, Climate Bills Should Be Split
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WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Attempts to pass a bill addressing constraints in electricity transmission and other energy issues could collapse if the measure is combined with contentious climate change legislation, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (Republican-Alaska) told a Platts Energy Podium event on Monday. "What I worry about is how a good measure that we could advance becomes complicated with the politics of a climate bill," said Murkowski, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The Alaska senator said calls by congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to merge energy and climate change legislation and pass the bill this year would likely founder because of strong differences among lawmakers over ways to control greenhouse gas emissions and allocate the costs. While Murkowski said she does not necessarily oppose a federal cap-and-trade program to control greenhouse gases, she maintained that the Senate is a long way from reaching an agreement on how it should be constructed. "You've got just a hotbed of issues to be resolved there," she said. Murkowski also warned against legislative leaders setting "artificial" deadlines for enacting greenhouse gas legislation, including insistence by some that Congress pass a bill before an international meeting on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December. Meanwhile, Murkowski said she and the chairman of the committee, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (Democrat-New Mexico) are continuing to work on an energy bill, which Bingaman wants the panel to vote on soon. Murkowski expressed optimism that she and Bingaman would agree on a range of issues that could pass their committee with bipartisan support, including increased federal authority over placement of transmission sites, new initiatives to promote renewable energy production on federal lands, and perhaps a proposal to create a "clean energy" bank to finance new projects. She said she and Bingaman continue to disagree over his proposal to set a federal mandate for generating electricity with wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy. Bingaman has proposed requiring utilities to use renewable energy for 20% of their generation by 2021. Murkowski said the bill could include a provision addressing regulation of energy futures markets, though she noted that issue had lost some urgency as oil prices have declined over the last several months. "The heat has been turned down on the issue of market regulation," she said. Sen. Murkowski's remarks to the Platts Energy Podium are available via podcast at http://www.platts.com/energypodium/podcasts.xml. Sponsored by Platts, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Platts Energy Podium provides an ongoing forum for prominent newsmakers and the press to address important energy and environmental issues. Members of the media may receive complimentary registration for Energy Podium events by contacting Kathleen Tanzy at 212-904-2860, email@example.com. For other energy information, visit Platts online at http://www.platts.com/. About Platts: Platts, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), is a leading global provider of energy and commodities information. With a century of business experience, Platts serves customers across more than 150 countries. An independent provider, Platts serves the oil, natural gas, electricity, emissions, nuclear power, coal, petrochemical, shipping, and metals markets from 17 offices worldwide. Platts' real-time news, pricing, analytical services and conferences help markets operate with transparency and efficiency. Traders, risk managers, analysts, and industry leaders depend upon Platts to help them make better trading and investment decisions. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com. About The McGraw-Hill Companies: Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com. SOURCE Platts Kathleen Tanzy, +1-212-904-2860, firstname.lastname@example.org; Europe: Shiona Ramage, +44-207-176-6153; Asia: Casey Yew, +65-653-06552
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