February 5, 2013
ConservAmerica Statement on Energy 20/20
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has set the stage for a robust national conversation on energy policy with the release of her long-awaited Energy 20/20 blueprint. While environmentalists, including ConservAmerica, may take exception to various points throughout the document, overall, it is a pragmatic, common-sense approach to a cleaner energy future for our nation.
Senator Murkowski emphasizes the importance of North American natural gas production in our effort to reduce air pollution and emissions of green house gases. Ms. Murkowski promotes a wide range of alternative energy resources and makes concrete suggestions to make those technologies more economically feasible.
A main premise of the document is that an economically strong and secure United States is in far better position to commit the resources to insure a cleaner energy future for the country. Recent advances in oil and gas extraction practices provide a historic moment to achieve the level of prosperity necessary to stabilize our economy and give citizens comfort during the transition to cleaner technologies.
Throughout the plan, Senator Murkowski urges regulatory reform and streamlining permitting processes without ignoring protection of the environment and human health. Like our tax code, our environmental regulatory system sorely needs simplification. We can do this and continue to improve upon our environmental record. The costs imposed on our economy by layers of regulations and bureaucracy is enormous—and could be better deployed in search of cleaner energy or natural resource protection.
The blueprint also contemplates efficiency in government. For example, it cites 23 agencies and 130 sub-agencies that implemented nearly 700 renewable energy initiatives in 2010. Throughout the federal government, too many departments, agencies, and individuals work in uncoordinated ways. This holds true for government loans, guarantees, and subsidies. These must be consolidated, streamlined, and managed more efficiently.
With the assumption that increased domestic energy production will vastly increase revenue to the federal treasury, Sen. Murkowski proposes establishment of an Advanced Energy Trust Fund. The Fund would benefit from a percentage of new revenue generated by the energy sector and invest in developing technology to help move us to a clean energy future.
One bold recommendation by Senator Murkowski is to move the United States Forest Service and the public lands under its management from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Interior. This reorganization would consolidate public land and resource management under one department, streamlining systems and processes.
We hope Energy 20/20 kick starts a national dialogue leading to certainty in our energy policy, and a cleaner energy future for our country.