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Murkowski Calls for Economic Protections in Climate Legislation


WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today said efforts to address global climate change must include a provision to contain costs in order to protect American consumers from potentially crippling increases in energy prices.

"Effectively dealing with cost containment and price volatility in a cap-and-trade market are essential to any legislation that has a chance of passing," Murkowski said Tuesday at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the economic impacts of a proposed cap-and-trade system.

Today's hearing was the first of a series that the energy panel plans to hold over the next few weeks on the potential impacts of a proposed cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Murkowski called global climate change an important issue that deserves Congress' attention, but cautioned against adopting legislation that would harm the national economy.

"As millions of Americans struggle to find work, pay mortgages and endure this rough economy, we must be sure that climate policies do not add to their burdens," Murkowski said. "It's disappointing to think that many in Congress - at least in the House of Representatives - have failed to learn this lesson from the very recent past. That's really the only explanation I can come up with for the bill that passed the House, by seven votes, on June 26th of this year. Instead of lightening the load, it asks Americans to shoulder more, oblivious to how difficult that will be."

Murkowski emphasized that the various Senate committees working on climate change legislation should focus on policies that balance economic protections with real environmental benefits.

"Having done something on climate change is not the same thing as having done it right," Murkowski said. "The Senate debate should be about more than who will receive free emissions allowances, but about how we can truly address climate change in a transparent and economically sound manner."  

Last congress, Murkowski co-sponsored cap-and-trade legislation with Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, chairman of the energy panel, which contained a price safety valve on emission allowances to prevent drastic price increases. 

"I understand why so many folks have written and called to express their opposition to the House bill," Murkowski said. "They have every right and reason to be nervous about what it means for them. It would take money that many Americans don't have, impose prices many can't afford, and destroy the jobs our country so desperately needs."

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