Murkowski Energy Plan ignores climate change, other facts

Feb 4, 2013
Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released a proposal today for an energy future that isn’t just more of the same; it’s more of the worst, according to The Wilderness Society.

“Senator Murkowski’s energy plan is a lesson in ignoring inconvenient truths. It flat out ignores any harmful effect of global climate change. It ignores the vast swaths of unused acreage that the oil and gas industry has already leased. And it ignores the growth of clean, renewable energy,” said David Moulton, senior legislative director at The Wilderness Society.

“Instead of building on the path the country is on towards using precious energy more efficiently and competing for the renewable energy jobs of tomorrow, this Energy Plan is a U-turn on progress.”

Sen. Murkowski’s energy plan calls for increased drilling on federally owned lands - a reiteration of past energy plans dating back to the Bush administration. However, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Land Management, nearly 25 million acres of leased public land sit idle – nearly two thirds of the acreage leased. In addition to the unused acres, nearly 7,000 drilling permits are also going unused.

“Senator Murkowski’s proposal also tries to ecologically sensitive lands in the western Arctic’s National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, places that are simply too ecologically sensitive to drill,” said Moulton. “The National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska is already open to more than 70% of the oil there.”

Senator Murkowski’s plan also flatly rejects any notion of climate change or that it is being fueled by unchecked carbon emissions.

“Alaska is on the front lines of climate change.  It is a curious strategy to turn one’s back on dealing with a huge problem that everyone in the state can see with their own eyes.  The costs imposed on all of us by the oil and gas industry’s reckless dumping of carbon pollution cannot be avoided by changing the subject, least of all in the America’s Arctic regions.  The power of the oil and gas industry to dictate energy policy is once again on display in this plan which would rather seek a pound of cure from taxpayers down the road than seek an ounce of prevention from the industry.”


Oil and gas leasing data (BLM, updated December 14, 2012)

Approved drilling permits issued but not used (BLM, updated September 30, 2012)

David Moulton