Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Frank H. Murkowski, the Ranking Member on the Senate Energy Committee released the following statement at the Enron hearing today: “Enron’s collapse appears to be a sorry tale of lies, deceit, shoddy accounting, corporate misconduct & cover-up. Enron’s employees & stock holders were devastated with thousands unemployed; billions lost; retirement funds wiped out. But we cannot lose sight of the fact that this is a business failure -- not an energy market failure. “Today's hearing can be useful if we explore the impact of Enron's collapse on energy markets -- price and supply -- as the title suggests. However, if it is used to set the stage to speak about the need for additional government regulation of the energy market -- then I fear this will not be a productive hearing “It is fairly clear to see that the energy markets are working well -- despite Enron’s failure. Enron was responsible for about one-quarter of the wholesale electric and natural gas markets. But not withstanding Enron’s dominant position in the market -- its bankruptcy had little impact on energy markets -- on price & supply. The lights stayed on & retail electricity prices did not spike. Natural gas continued to flow to furnaces without even the slightest hiccup. “Why? The answer is really quite simple. Deregulated markets work. When market forces are allowed to work -- when government does not micro-manage the market place -- markets match supply with demand. So when Enron failed, competing companies swooped in and immediately filled the Enron void. Consequently -- no shortages or price spikes! “I look forward to the Senate creating a national energy policy that enhances domestic energy supply, makes that supply more reliable and affordable, and reduces our dependence on foreign oil. We need to foster a regulatory and investment climate encourages new energy sources of all types -- oil, natural gas, nuclear, coal, electricity & renewables; encourage construction of energy infrastructure, including transmission lines. That is what the Administration stands for. This is what I stand for. And I know that is what the American people expect Congress to do. “We may very well need to deal with how corporations keep their books & how employee pension programs are operated. But let’s keep corporate mismanagement in context and not confuse it with the operation of energy markets.” ###