The Skywriter

Murkowski's donors already trying to collect


Murkowski's donors already trying to collect


We probably won't know for a while who won the U.S. Senate race up in Alaska (somebody named "Write-in Votes" is ahead right it me or are names getting weirder?), but apparently Lisa Murkowski's loan sharks campaign contributors are sure enough of her eventual victory that they've already called in her debt. How else to explain her statement ripping President Obama for his relatively mild comments about the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases -- just two days after the election?

If the president wants to start with the work the Energy Committee has already done, I would be happy to work with him. But I also believe we must first preempt the EPA from meddling in the work of Congress when it comes to setting climate policies.

Well, that was fast. Even most payday loan joints will give you at least 14 days to pay back your loan. We're in Sopranos territory here.

Murkowski's contributors have been generous to a fault. Between 2005-2010, Murkowski received more than $624,000 from oil, gas, and electric utilities. Four of her top five campaign contributors for this period are somehow involved in dirty energy. Murkowski's statement is proof that they want return on their investment ASAP.

The problem is that it won't be Murkowski who will have to bear the brunt of her repayment. It will be the people of Alaska, the rest of the country and ultimately the world who will pay the price for the post-campaign favors her campaign contributors are demanding -- in this case, gutting the Clean Air Act.

Alaska is already paying the price for our leaders' indifference to climate change:

Over the past 50 years, Alaska has warmed by 4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit, much more than anywhere in the lower 48 states. This dramatic temperature change is causing the landscape of Alaska to change faster than anywhere else in the United States, threatening infrastructure, wildlife, and Native Alaskan culture.

And for what? Oil? As it turns out, there isn't even nearly as much oil underneath the Alaska North Slope as we thought:

The National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which covers an area slightly smaller than Indiana, has for years held much development promise for the oil industry. It was believed to contain billions of barrels of oil, prompting major energy players to put down stakes there.

But the U.S. Geological Survey said new data puts the amended estimate at just 896 million barrels of undiscovered oil. That's down from the agency's 2002 mean estimate of 10.6 billion barrels for the 23 million-acre reserve established in 1923 for energy development.

"This is both an abrupt — and for someone who does resource assessment — a disquieting change," said USGS research geologist Dave Houseknecht.

Not as disquieting as the change Alaska will experience if we gut the Clean Air Act and don't get serious about cutting climate pollution, Mr. Houseknecht.

The body of the recently-deceased Democratic majority isn't even cold yet, and Lisa Murkowski is already back in her Clean Air Act-gutting saddle. Can't she give her climate-besieged state -- not to mention our poor president who just took a shellacking -- a break before trying to gut our environmental laws again? It's not like dirty energy CEOs will break her thumbs if she does.

At least I hope not.

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