As Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) work to craft comprehensive climate legislation that can overcome a fossil-fueled filibuster, swing vote Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is trying to dig the carbon hole deeper. Before climate policy had a chance of becoming reality, Murkowski claimed to recognize that global warming from fossil fuels is destroying Alaska. Now, she has continued down that path by demanding that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is “one of the must-haves“:
I’m still saying ANWR is one of the must-haves. You want to have me sit down at the table and talk about what a strong domestic production piece is, you have to be willing to talk to me about ANWR. Pretty simple.
Murkowski is increasingly sounding like an oil industry lobbyist, leading the effort to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing the Clean Air Act with respect to greenhouse pollution. Murkowski’s Dirty Air Act resolution is a blatant rejection of science and safety on behalf of her fossil industry contributors. This week, she praised Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-WV) two-year Clean Air Act moratorium, saying she is “hopeful that this bill will draw additional support and advance quickly.”
Only in the United States Senate could you find someone demand that a climate bill involve drilling in one of the last pristine places on earth. Murkowski is working to unleash the only two imminent threats to the remote and unique Arctic Refuge — global warming and oil drilling. Murkowski, it seems, is willing to destroy her state in order to save it.
Sierra Club spokesman Josh Dorner responds by e-mail:
Drilling in the Arctic Refuge is, has been, and always will be a non-starter. Drilling for more oil at one of the places most impacted by global warming is perhaps the furthest thing from a solution that I can imagine.
,Adam Kolton, the National Wildlife Federation’s
senior director for Congressional & federal affairs and the former Arctic Campaign Director for the Alaska Wilderness
League, responds by e-mail:
Just as there are bridges to nowhere, there is legislation to nowhere. Senator Murkowski’s demand that the price for her vote on a climate bill is drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a non-starter and she knows it. It was rejected when the Republicans controlled the House, Senate and White House and it would obviously be rejected with the Democrats in charge. For someone like Senator Murkowski, who says she wants to pass a climate change bill, to make such a demand calls into question her sincerity and must be a huge disappointment to those in Alaska who believe the state is on the front lines of the climate crisis and that we urgently need to reduce emissions. The National Wildlife Federation has always worked to block any legislation that would give Big Oil drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and we’ll continue to do so moving forward.
,Sens. Graham and Lieberman say drilling in the Arctic Refuge is a “deal-breaker“:
“That’s a deal-breaker,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). “That’s just not going to happen. We’re looking at a lot of things, and that one is a no-no.”
“It’s not in our bill,” added Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Still, Graham added, “I don’t blame her for asking.”