August 1, 2001
12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Frank H. Murkowski, the Ranking Republican Member of the Senate Energy Committee released the following statement during the first of a series of mark-ups on comprehensive energy legislation: “Today we continue the long journey towards a balanced and comprehensive energy bill for this nation by marking up research, development and training proposals. Research into new alternative energy as well as improving energy efficiency is important. But we need to set realistic goals for our research. We may be setting technology goals that are unrealistic, uneconomic, and in some instances simply not achievable. The National Academy of Sciences CAFÉ study released this week says 30 mpg is economically feasible - but this Mark proposes production of 110 mpg cars within 15 yrs. We should not be setting up programs that are designed to fail under their own goals. “The decline in gasoline prices combined with a cool summer has led several commentators to declare the energy crisis over. That is simply not accurate, and we know better. Our dependence on imported oil is at historic levels threatening our national security and our domestic economy. It is 56% now — up from 36% during the Arab Oil Embargo. We are at the mercy of those who have made it clear that they are not interested in our welfare — OPEC, Saddam. “We have the resources within our borders to provide the American people with affordable and adequate supplies of energy. We have the technology and ingenuity to develop and provide those supplies in a safe, environmentally responsible manner. We also have the capacity to use energy more efficiently with new energy technologies. Now is the time that we should make the hard and difficult decisions now while we have some time. A decade ago we failed to do this - now look where we are. “We need to remember the lessons of 1992. This Committee produced a balanced and comprehensive bill in 1992 only to see the supply provisions be eroded on the Senate floor and virtually eliminated in conference. We can not repeat that mistake. Our risk is much higher now and our dependence on others much greater. We need to show some courage and leadership. We need to get past the empty rhetoric of special interest groups on issues such as ANWR. “We have the technology and the capability if oil is present to develop it and deliver it to market in an economic and environmentally responsible manner. Our public lands can be protected and managed for the future while still providing the resources needed by our citizens. We can site transmission and transportation corridors with minimal impacts and in a manner that will significantly increase the reliability and safety of our systems. We can do this if we remember 1992 and show some leadership and courage.” ###