Murkowski's energy blueprint stirs debate

Feb. 5, 2013 at 8:15 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A proposal from U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, drew fire from environmentalists but earned praise for its economic initiatives from the energy sector.

Murkowski, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, published a 121-page proposal for the U.S. energy sector. Having the United States become independent from Middle East oil by 2020 through more domestic drilling and a broader definition of clean energy were among her top proposals.

She advocates more work with Canada and Mexico and the immediate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta oil sands.

Franz Matzner, associate director of government affairs for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said Murkowski's proposals read like a "cut-and-paste job" from the fossil fuels industry.

"We need a plan that moves us forward to the 21st century, not one that keeps us wedded to the past," he said in a statement.

The American Chemistry Council, which has the support of the energy sector, said Murkowski's plan would capitalize on U.S. oil and natural gas wealth.

"The framework advocates for boosting domestic energy production, while continuing to fund scientific research on advanced energy technologies," the council said.

New technologies used to extract oil and natural gas from shale deposits has put the United States near the top of the world energy sector.

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