Which Democrat Supports Murkowski’s Bid To Bake Alaska?

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) plans to offer an amendment tomorrow that would block enforcement of the Clean Air Act for greenhouse gases. Her “Dirty Air Act” amendment threatens Alaska and the hopes for a clean energy economic recovery for the nation. At Mother Jones, Kate Sheppard reports that at least one Democrat is supporting her climate catastrophe campaign:

Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski has gained co-sponsorship for her effort to block the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide from at least one Democrat, her office confirmed Friday evening. Spokesman Robert Dillon said that one Democrat has signed on, though he was not able to confirm the identity of the Democrat. There are, however, plenty of ideas about who this Democratic cosponsor may be. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Jim Webb (D-VA), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), all previously on record voicing concerns about carbon regulation, have been floated as possible sign-ons.

In April 2009, Dorgan, Landrieu, Lincoln, Nelson, and Webb voted to preserve the filibuster threat against any “clean energy” legislation, even though they represent states on the front lines of the climate crisis. Below, the Wonk Room takes a closer look at these Murky Democrats:



Dorgan, buoyed by coal interests, has emerged as one of the strongest critics of President Obama’s plan to limit global warming pollution, saying it “makes no sense.” He opposes action even though his state has been ravaged by record floods and has vast renewable energy resources. Dorgan’s “preference is that Congress address this issue and not the EPA.” The senator told National Journal that “how the amendment is crafted — most notably whether it suspends the agency’s regulatory power or completely removes it — is crucial.”


Lincoln has claimed that limits on carbon pollution would create “really high, higher food prices” and said when she took over the Senate Agriculture Committee that it isn’t her “preference to move on cap-and-trade legislation in the Senate this year.” Lincoln has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in polluter cash, including $10,000 from the right-wing extremists at Koch Industries.


Landrieu has taken an oil-soaked stand “against forcing petrochemical companies” to “bear the brunt of new costs.” Her state, Lousiana, is still devastated by the widespread destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, a global-warming-fueled storm.


Nelson worries that climate legislation “could have a negative impact on our economy.” Unusual heat waves killed thousands of cattle last year, and a recent five-year drought was even more destructive.


Since 2008, Webb has opposed “things like emission standards.” Webb also opposes President Obama’s global warming plan, instead working with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to promote a nuclear-industry subsidy plan. Coal and nuclear utility Dominion Resources is Webb’s fourth largest corporate contributor. Sea level rise is already eating away Virginia’s coastlines.

Murkowski’s move is expected to be attached to legislation to raise the federal debt ceiling. If it comes in the form of a binding amendment, 60 votes would be required for passage. She may instead offer a disapproval resolution, which would not block the EPA but would help senators pledge allegiance to coal and oil interests as the 2010 election season nears. A disapproval resolution would only require 51 votes to pass.


Friends of the Earth Action has launched radio ads challenging Sen. Murkowski’s move, and Clean Energy Works has set up