June 20th, 2010
02:37 PM ET
5 years ago

Murkowski says cap-and-trade compromise still a no-go

'I don't think that there is the political ability to put a price on carbon,' Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Sunday.
'I don't think that there is the political ability to put a price on carbon,' Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Sunday.

Washington (CNN) – A leading Republican on energy policy issues said Sunday that a compromise proposal for instituting a partial cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions was a political non-starter in the Senate’s highly partisan atmosphere. Instead, Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski suggested that an energy bill that lacked cap-and-trade provisions could garner 60 votes and would begin to lay the groundwork for achieving the goal of reducing carbon emissions.

Speaking earlier on CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, was open to considering a proposal that would forgo an economy-wide carbon cap-and-trade system in favor of such a system applicable only to energy utilities. Lieberman told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that, by his estimation, there are currently 50 senators who favor a comprehensive cap across the entire economy and roughly another 20 senators who are undecided, a situation that leaves the door open to garnering the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster.

But, appearing just after Lieberman on the broadcast, Murkowski, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said a carbon cap limited to just the energy utility sector was not likely to pass in the Senate.

“It still puts you in the world of cap-and-trade,” she told Crowley. “And this is where we just simply have not been able to get to 60.”

Sounding a frequent GOP rejoinder on the issue of cap-and-trade, Murkowski said instituting a system that puts a price tag on carbon emissions could cost U.S. jobs at a time when the economy is still struggling.

She also told Crowley, “I don't think that there is the political ability to put a price on carbon, as we're speaking [today]. There is nothing out there that, I believe, gains the acceptance of folks to get to 60, to make an energy policy that is workable.”

Instead of the bill championed by Lieberman and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, Murkowski backs an alternative that does not include cap-and-trade provisions. She said the alternative bill was a step in the right direction even though it does not meet President Obama’s call for a comprehensive energy bill that includes a far reaching cap-and-trade system.

“Let's focus on something that gets us toward that goal, which is reduction in our emissions,” she said.

Murkowski added, “Let's build on the art of the possible, instead of requiring, as the president seems to want to do, that we have to have a cap-and-trade piece or it isn't comprehensive.”

Murkowski also said the controversy caused by last week's apology to BP by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who accused the White House of conducting a "shakedown" of the company, was a distraction from the real issues and needs of the Gulf Coast region as it deals with disastrous oil spill caused by a blown-out BP deepwater well.

“Let's not be distracted by saying, you know, Joe Barton made this gaffe or this - this inappropriate comment. Let's focus on what we need to do, which is getting relief to the Gulf, making sure that they have every asset possible, making sure that we've got a claims compensation system that works for them. Let's focus on providing what the people of the Gulf need, not pointing fingers back and forth and saying, oh, you know, what you said was wrong.”


Filed under: Energy • Lisa Murkowski • Senate • State of the Union
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Frank

    The Republicans will do anything to protect corporate greed including let us pollute ourselves to death just as they didn't want strict regulations on deep-water oil drilling. They wanted "Drill, Baby, Drill" and got "Spill, Baby, Spill." Greedy idiots.

    June 20, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. ib

    great; sure hope it stays that way; we need more jobs in this country not something that will shut jobs down. Just SAY NO.

    June 20, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. valwayne

    Its simply incredible that with UNEMPLOYMENT at 9.7%, the nation trillions and trillions and trillions in debt, an emergency in the Gulf, that is still being mishandled, the Democrats want to invlide the massive costly cap and tax regime on the economy at the cost of doubling energy cost and losing hundreds of thousands of jobs. Destroying the economy and punishing average working Americans with double utility bills and higher food bills is not the way to clearn renewable energy. We need massive political change in Nov before the Democrats completely destroy our economy!!!!

    June 20, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. thor

    Why on earth does this administration want to put our corporations at an economic disadvantage with those in the rest of the world?.China ,India,and Brazil just a few of large countries that don't have to live by the same rules that Obama wants us to adopt.We already have millions unemployed and Obama wants to add to that, more people.Carbon credits is just a scheme Al Gore dreamed up in order for himself to get filthy rich.After all he's got to pay taxes on that big ole mansion that he lives in !!!

    June 20, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    The girls from the tundra (pain and murderowski) know nothing of the estuaries and other areas of the gulf. I've copied information from another post - it is as follows - very informative

    -----------------------

    The methane and oil eating aerobic bacteria populations will grow exponentially until the oxygen run low, then they will die and start decomposing. The decomposition will remove the rest of the oxygen in the water, As the oxygen declines, all the krill, shrimp, crabs, clams, oysters, and fish will die too, from the top of the food chain down, depending on the level of hypoxia they can tolerate. Squid, which can survive lower O2 levels than most predators, will be the last macroinvertebrates to go. The oil settling to the bottom because of the massive use of dispersants won't get carried away by the loop current into the Gulf Stream, and will poison the Gulf for decades (there's oil still poisoning Alaska waters 20 years after Exxon Valdez). When conditions are right, upwelling currents will bring "dead zone" deep water, with its anaerobic bacteria and toxic metabolites, to the shores of the Gulf – killing more sea life, and closing beaches for years to come. The fishing and tourism businesses that survive this year will die a slow "death by a thousand cuts".

    Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana all voted Bush/Cheney, and they will take the first hit, but the devastation will spread throughout the economy.

    This will be the price of GOP "drill baby drill" deregulation policy espoused by Barton, Murkowski, Palin

    June 20, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Ben

    The Repulicans were relying on hammering President Obama about the Oval Office address and the late response to the clean. President Obama double down with $20 billion/$100 million for rig workers escow from BP and the Republican are scrambling to distance themself from apologist Rep. Joe Barton to BP. This was not a gaffe. It was a prepared opening statement at the hearing made by Joe "BP" Barton. Sen. murkowski is a shill for Joe Barton and Big Oil.

    June 20, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. Slick William

    Hey Washington DOLTS, I have an Energy plan without taxation and penalties to an already DEAD ECONOMY!

    1. Build at least 10 new Nuclear Power Plants
    2. Begin land acquisition, engineering and construction for a natural gas distribution system throughout America.
    3. Open up the use of coal and deregulate the EPA standards for a set limited time
    4. Create a tax incentive program for trucking companies to use natural gas in lieu of diesel
    5. Enforce our Borders and Immigration laws so any jobs created go to US citizens
    6. Continue with solar and wind to capture every amount of Green energy we can.
    7. Call up the Middle East and tell them the price of US grain just went up...

    June 20, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Surprise, surprise.

    Cap-and-tax is dead because American taxpayers have caught on that, as far as the Dems are concerned, anything and everything is a grand excuse for raising taxes.

    We The People are tired of being ripped off by a grasping, know-it-all, Nanny State that has nothing but contempt for the right and ability of Americans to make their own decisions and to spend their own money the way they want to.

    June 20, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |