Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, today sent a letter to Energy Secretary Abraham asking for a complete inventory of energy sources available to meet shortages in the western United States and the steps necessary to ensure the maximum amount of power is flowing into the grid. Murkowski released the following statement this evening after the letter was sent: “Much attention has been focused on the present California energy problems. Unfortunately, the early warning signs were ignored far too long by California’s government and the Clinton administration. As a result, the problems have grown from bad to worse to the crisis California finds itself in. “Since day one, the Bush administration has been committed to helping California solve these problems and ensure affordable, reliable power is again available. Secretary Abraham and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have taken several steps in the right direction. “While permanent solutions will require the construction of new generation and transmission infrastructure, in the short term we can take steps to get every last watt into California. We need to know what’s available, what isn’t, and why. I have asked the Secretary of Energy to provide me with a complete inventory of all available electricity production that can power the region. “This energy almanac of the west will let us know the exact condition and capacity of power plants, opportunities to increase output, and regulations or barriers that may stand in the way. We need to know what plants have exceeded their permitting capacity and where other plants are in their re-permitting process. I have also asked for a review of constraints on our ability to move that power within the west and into California. “When this survey pinpoints specific areas where regulations are in the way and relief is request, we will work with all interested parties to help assure power reaches customers. “My request reaches beyond just bricks and mortar. It is a review of the economics of the California situation. A lot of power isn’t flowing into the state out of fear that bills will not be paid. “While there is no one definitive solution to the California crisis, a permanent fix will require the investment of time and resources to ensure that supply meets growing demand. In the near term, this almanac is an effort to show us where the opportunities exist to provide some relief.” ###