Polluters work with Lisa “fiddle while Nome burns” Murkowski on amendment to thwart EPA GHG regulations that might help save her state

The Washington Post has confirmed that two Washington lobbyists, Jeffrey R. Holmstead and Roger R. Martella, Jr., helped craft the original amendment Murkowski planned to offer on the floor last fall. Both Holmstead, who heads the Environmental Strategies Group and Bracewell & Guiliani, and Martella, a partner at Sidley Austin LLP, held senior posts at EPA under the Bush administration and represents multiple clients with an interest in climate legislation pending before Congress.

This is the year we learn whether anti-science ideologues will be able to kill the bipartisan climate and clean energy jobs bill.  And that means we’ll learn whether a few moderates who have talked a good game on climate are statesmen- and -women or hypocrites.

Last year, Sen. Murkowski could not make up her mind whether she wanted to help preserve her state or destroy it (see “Lisa Murkowski proposes to fiddle while Alaska burns“).  And again today, as the WSJ reports, “Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Tuesday left open the possibility that she would seek a vote next week on stopping the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from going forward with regulations to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.”

Yet, she clearly knows that global warming is devastating Alaska, as she pointed out in a 2006 speech:

When I visit the Native villages in northern Alaska, I ask the village elders what climate change means to them. They don’t speak about the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or attempt to debunk the now infamous hockey stick theory.  They tell me what they have personally observed over the years….

Warmer, drier air, has allowed the voracious spruce bark beetle to migrate north, moving through our forests in the south-central part of the state. At last count, over three million acres of forest land has been devastated by the beetle, providing dry fuel for outbreaks of enormous wild fires. To give you some perspective, that is almost the size of Connecticut.So we recognize that times have changed, things are changing, and we need a new Arctic policy.

So why is she trying to stop the EPA from regulating carbon pollution (see here)?  Apparently her new Arctic policy is to delay the EPA from doing its job and regulating CO2.  Now the Washington Post reports she had help from lobbyists for big corporations and polluters:

In an interview, Holmstead said of the Murkowski amendment, “I certainly worked with her staff” on the exact phrasing of the measure in September.

“I was involved,” he said, adding that Martella also helped advise Murkowski’s aides on the matter. “The line out of the White House and the administration was that the amendment would block the car and truck rule” setting the first-ever greenhouse gas limits on emissions from vehicles, which are set to become final in March.

Holmstead represents industry interests including Southern Company, Duke Energy, Progress Energy and the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council on climate matters, according to congressional lobbying registration forms, while Martella represents the National Alliance of Forest Owners and the Alliance of Food Associations on the same subject.

I had hoped her amendment meant she will be voting for the bipartisan climate and clean energy bill, given her statements on the subject (see Murkowski calls for tougher energy bill: “Climate legislation must have more immediate environmental benefits” than Waxman-Markey!)

But the fact she has been working closely with lobbyists for polluters suggest that her new Arctic policy is the same as the old one “” do nothing and let the whole damn thing melt and burn (see “M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F “” with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F“).

This amendment will see a fight, as the WSJ reports:

Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee sought to rally support for the EPA, rushing out a letter opposing Ms. Murkowski.

“Debating policy choices regarding the appropriate response to unchecked climate change is fair, and the Senate will continue to evaluate the best tools for addressing greenhouse gas emissions,” Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) and fellow Democrats wrote in a letter to colleagues. “But repealing an endangerment finding based upon years of work by America’s scientists and public health experts is not appropriate.”

But seriously, Sen. Murkowski, who could possibly be more endangered from human-caused warming than Alaskans?

8 Responses to Polluters work with Lisa “fiddle while Nome burns” Murkowski on amendment to thwart EPA GHG regulations that might help save her state

  1. Hazel Fleming says:

    It is not a bipartisan climate and clean energy jobs bill. It is cap and trade bill. It is about taxing energy. Harry Reid seems to be on a racist agenda and plans on letting this flop around like a slamon out of water.

  2. SecularAnimist says:

    Is Murkowski an “anti-science ideologue”?

    Or is she simply a bought-and-paid-for tool of the fossil fuel corporations, who is simply doing their bidding without regard for either science or ideology?

    The content of your article suggests the latter.

    [JR: We’ll find out this year.]

  3. SecularAnimist says:

    Hazel Fleming wrote: “It is not a bipartisan climate and clean energy jobs bill. It is cap and trade bill. It is about taxing energy.”

    That’s a lie. Actually, it is three lies. Three scripted lies that have been spoon-fed to you by ExxonMobil’s paid propagandists.

    And the rest of your comment is inane, illiterate, copied-and-pasted boilerplate Ditto-Head drivel.

  4. Joe,

    check the latest PNAS article about updated paleo-CO2 redord here:


  5. caerbannog says:

    Re: comment #4.

    The PNAS article dovetails “nicely” (to put it ungracefully) with this Science article:

    If the results of these PNAS and Science articles are confirmed, our children and grandchildren will be looking at one scary future.

  6. MarkB says:

    Interesting study, Alexander. It seems consistent with Rothman’s CO2 estimates.

    It tends to further knock down any skeptic argument that “life was good with high atmospheric CO2 levels”, when CO2 was never that high. It also seems to imply perhaps higher climate sensitivity, at least from paleoclimatic evidence, although observations involving the instrumental record still support the IPCC best estimate.

  7. David B. Benson says:

    Alexander Ač (4) — Thank you (I guess) for the link. That is one frightening abstract!

  8. JasonW says:

    #4: Worrying if the findings hold up!

    More reason to take strong action now, although I’m feeling increasingly pessimistic. Cap and trade? Dismal failure in Europe, far too many carbon credits to hand around, rendering the entire thing impotent. And the current model (correct me if I’m wrong) is bound legally to stay in place until 2015.

    Regarding the above post, as I’ve already said in the other article, I wouldn’t get my knickers in a twist (if I had any). It’s modern democracy at work, there are always all kinds of insane motions being forwarded. The crucial question is whether it will pass, THAT’S when one should start getting worried.