Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Frank H. Murkowski, the Ranking Member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, responded to Senator Tom Daschle’s comments today with the following statement: “Senator Daschle criticizes the President’s energy plan for focusing mainly on ‘oil drilling,’ I would challenge him to read the plan, which includes many provisions such as alternative fuel sources, and improve energy efficiencies, and increase conservation. Conservation and domestic energy production must go hand in hand. Neither can solve the energy dilemma this country faces alone. Unlike the President’s plan which is balanced and comprehensive, the Democratic plan introduced by Senator Daschle is a narrow, partisan measure that will do almost nothing to lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy. “Senator Daschle is confused in his thinking that the transportation of existing natural gas from Alaska’s North Slope can replace the billion barrels of oil next door in ANWR. These are two separate issues. In fact, there is already legislation on the books authorizing a gas pipeline. What the Democrats propose is an alternative route opposed by the state of Alaska, the Alaska Congressional Delegation, our native population and the environmental community. “Senator Daschle is right to conclude that the energy debate should be included as an important part of a stimulus to move the country forward. This, however, is not a new issue. We have been working to pass a comprehensive energy plan since the beginning of 2001, and we were on track until Senator Daschle shut down the Senate Energy Committee in October of last year. Every step of the way, the Republicans and many Democrats haven’t been allowed to share their ideas. “We’re all committed to reducing our use of fossil fuels. New technologies will help us achieve that in the future. But today, in the near term, we must have realistic expectations about our energy needs and how we’re going to meet them. Setting unrealistic economic goals for energy conservation and unreachable targets for research won’t move us any closer to energy security. “If Senator Daschle is so committed to energy, he should release the Energy Committee from his clutches, schedule a vote on an energy bill, and let the Senate work its will. What we have is more rhetoric and no substance.” - 30 -