Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who recently conceded the Alaska Republican Primary (See 9/1 post), will retain her seat as the ranking member of the Senate’s Energy and National Resources Committee – an unexpected outcome to the post-concession saga.
Senator Murkowski is a well-known player in the energy and environmental policy sphere in Washington – and has been for years. So perhaps it is no surprise that the Senate Republican conference decided today to keep Senator Murkowski as the ranking member on the Senate committee that has spent a large portion of its time over the last year debating the hottest energy and climate policy proposals.
According to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) -
“[Senator Murkowski] is the ranking member…We had a discussion in our conference about other matters, including that, but decided that we would take no action today.”
No action roughly translates into Senator Murkowski retaining her seat until after November’s mid-term elections, which she may enter as a write-in candidate, according to some sources. This does not mean that she will see much action on the committee, as mid-term elections have all but stalled work in Washington until November. But, this move by Senate Republicans could speak towards the party’s unhappiness with a TEA Party that is poised to come barreling into Washington in a very short period of time.
While I do not always agree with Senator Murkowski on her views on energy and climate legislation in Washington today, I respect her hard work and dedication to a task that would easily discourage and frustrate others. She is a strong woman from an oil-and-gas state who digs into policy proposals and issues of concern to her state and the nation with energy and rigor. I was sad on the day that she conceded the Alaskan primary. While I have mixed feelings on rumors of a write-in option for her candidacy, it would be pretty inspiring if the people of Alaska put her through to Washington again through such a gritty and difficult avenue.
The Senate’s fourth-ranking Republican, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has conceded in the Republican primary in Alaska to newly confirmed nominee Joe Miller. Mr. Miller is largely supported by Tea Party leaders and former Governor Sarah Palin.
Senator Murkowski is the current Ranking Member in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. She has been a constant voice in hearings regarding carbon cap-and-trade legislation, renewable energy standards, and clean energy issues. While I don’t agree with all of her positions in these areas, I do respect her dedication to developing a national energy policy that Americans can live with.
Last week, in a blog post published on Mackerel Sky, LBJ student Chris Mergerson noted that if Senator Murkowski was not elected to serve an additional term in office, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural resources would have ZERO representation from the top three petroleum producing states in the U.S. (Alaska, Texas, and California). This fact was quite striking to me – as I would assume that the vested interested of these states in energy issues would cause them to seek leadership roles on these committees – but apparently Senators from these states haven’t made this committee a priority despite its power and influence in energy policy issues.
It will be interesting to watch how Republican leadership in the ongoing energy policy debate shifts with this change in the Republican guard – from one of high-ranking strength born from drive, determination and dedication in Senator Murkowski to a newbie Tea Party activist.
Is it too much to hope for a surprising victory for Scott McAdams?
Yesterday, my blog post was on the EPA’s work in developing a structure under which they can regulate large stationary emitters of greenhouse gases. This work could provide an alternative method of reducing these emissions if congress is unable to pass proposed carbon cap and trade legislation into law. The EPA has recently issued their proposed rule for regulating greenhouse gas emissions and several congressmen are striking back. Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, is co-sponsoring a resolution with Senator Lindsey Graham (R- South Carolina) that would tie the EPA’s hands (at least for a while) by disapproving their finding that greenhouse gases are a threat to human health and welfare. The resolution is expected to be voted on in 2-3 weeks. The resolution’s co-sponsor is the same Senator Graham who worked with Senators Kerry and Lieberman on developing the Senate’s current energy and climate bill proposal, titled the American Power Act, only to step away from the table just before its reveal. According to Senator Graham, many of the supporters of this resolution believe that we need federal regulations to reduction greenhouse gas emissions. However, they believe that this type of regulation should come from Congress and not from the EPA.