The Skywriter

Murkowski takes "The Cheney" prize for energy lies


Murkowski takes "The Cheney" prize for energy lies


By 1Sky blogging working group member Andy Silber. -- Luis

Breaking news: Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has just been awarded "The Cheney" -- an award given to the politician who comes up with the most bald-faced lies on energy issues. The award is named after former Vice President Dick Cheney, who was incapable of NOT lying about anything related to energy policy. Murkowski won for her attempt to repeal the EPA's “endangerment finding", which showed that carbon dioxide emissions are a threat to human health and the environment. Her award-winning lies fall into two categories:

  1. Misrepresenting what the EPA is doing
  2. Misrepresenting her own intention.

Senator Murkowski states, “Few industries will escape EPA’s reach – not manufacturers, not farmers, not even small businesses,” yet the EPA’s proposed regulation is aimed at only large emitters like power plants and large industrial facilities. It does not regulate farmers or small business at all and no one is arguing that it should. This is only one of many lies the awarding committee (i.e., me) cited.

But the biggest lie is her statement that “My decision to introduce this measure is rooted in a desire to see Congress – not unelected bureaucrats – lead the way in addressing climate change." If that is truly how she feels then she should be working on the American Power Act, a bill that does exactly that: it creates energy and climate policy that is designed by elected officials and includes a provision that supersedes the EPA’s authority. No one thinks its perfect, but nothing that gets through Congress is. To remove the EPA’s regulatory authority without creating a framework to address greenhouse gas emission is not leading the way, but a disingenuous way to allow the fossil-fuel industries to continue to poison our atmosphere.

Now here’s the inside-the-beltway part of the drama. It's unlikely that Murkowski’s resolution will become law. It would require passage of the House, which is much less friendly to this brand of garbage, and then get President Obama’s signature, which is just not going to happen. So why is she doing this?

Does she like the sound of her own voice? She’s a politician, so of course she does, but that’s not why this vote is important.

Is she just doing the bidding of the oil companies? Of course she is. Her response to the BP disaster in the Gulf shows more compassion for the delays it’s causing Shell Oil in Alaska than the loss of livelihoods and habitat in the Gulf. But that’s not why this vote is important.

This vote is seen as a test of potential support for compressive clean energy and climate legislation, including the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act. She would rather have the EPA act alone than whatever makes it through the political process, exactly the opposite of what she claims. If her proposal gets more than 40 votes, then many will wonder if Kerry-Lieberman, or any other comprehensive climate bill, has enough support to get past a filibuster.

So this resolution doesn't just have to lose -- it has to lose big. Every senator needs to know that we’re watching and we’ll consider a vote for Murkowski’s repeal the endangerment finding as a vote to do nothing rather than tackling the problems of coal-powered electricity; to rollback gains on fuel efficiency; to sacrifice our children’s future to the altar of artificially cheap energy. Contact your Senators and tell them to vote 'NO' on Senator Murkowski’s repeal of the endangerment finding.

Andy Silber is a astrophysicist, engineer, project manager, husband, father, and energy activist living in Seattle. Visit Andy's blog on Sustainable West Seattle. The author's opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the 1Sky campaign.-- Luis

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