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Alaska reacts to Obama energy plan

Feb. 12, 2010 at 9:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Alaskan lawmakers were divided over environmental regulations and the clean energy future outlined by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama, in comments Tuesday, said U.S. markets cannot switch to renewable resources such as wind and solar energy "overnight" but added clean energy will provide the economic backbone to the 21st century.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who spoke against the Environmental Protection Agency for regulating greenhouse gas emissions, countered the president in an address to lawmakers in Washington.

Murkowski complained that a recent budget proposal introduced to lawmakers is "difficult to explain" when compared to Obama's vision.

"The EPA's actions will harm our economy at a time we can least afford it," she said. "I also believe the debate over climate policy belongs in Congress because that's the only place where the best interests of our constituents can be fully represented."

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, urged Obama to focus on a natural gas pipeline planned for his state as part of the investment in clean energy.

"I know your administration already is strongly supportive of this project, and I commend your appointment of a new federal coordinator of the Alaska natural gas pipeline project," Begich wrote.

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