Host Bill Loveless sits down with Senator Murkowski, one of the leading voices in the debate to expanded U.S. drilling, to discuss new developments in the sector as well as other energy and environment policy under the Trump administration.

Bill and Senator Murkowski discuss: Congressional approval to offer oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; the role of regulation in energy development; the Trump Administration’s stance on to climate change; prospects for new energy policy legislation; and how to promote cooperation on energy issues in an increasingly fractured government.

View the full transcript

[00:00:01]

Bill Loveless:  Hello and welcome to the Columbia Energy Exchange from Washington. I’m Bill Loveless with another episode of this weekly podcast from the Columbia University Center and Global Energy Policy.  Our guest today is Senator Lisa Murkowski, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who has just marked her biggest legislative win.  The decision by congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. It's been a long time coming from members of the Alaska delegation including Senator Murkowski’s father Frank who preceded her in the U.S senate.  They’ve been fighting for this for decades.  We’ll talk about that breakthrough for her, including why she’s so confident, it will pay off for the U.S.

This may push back from democrat’s conservationists and others; we also look ahead to what’s the next on her energy agenda, including all her priorities compared to those of the Trump administration on topics like offshore drilling regulation, climate change, and U.S energy dominance as the administration likes to put in.  And there is one other thing Senator Murkowski has seen her profile grow even larger lately, not only because of her success pushed open ANWR.  But also in the way she bought her republican part to oppose its bid repeal the Affordable Care Act.  There’s a streaked independence there and I asked her how she might use it to break through the political grid lock that hinders policy making in Washington.

The senator and I sat down in her office on Capital Health. Oh that’s our episode for today but we’ll be back again next week with another conversation for the conservation.  Well that’s our episode for today but we’ll be back again the next week with another conversation for the Columbia Energy Exchange, I’m Bill Loveless as always.  Thanks for tuning in.

[00:00:00] to [00:00:33]      

[00:00:33]

Senator Murkowski welcome to the Columbia Energy Exchange.

[00:00:36]

Lisa Murkowski:  Good to be back with you Bill, I appreciate the opportunity and talk about Energy and all good things.

[00:00:41]

Bill Loveless:  And they are good things and there is busy as ever, energy remains a hot topic.  Let's, let’s start with what’s happened most recently, you’re fresher of the –biggest legislative victory and your senate career with Congresses decision to open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Oil AND Gas Drilling.  What do you make with that?

[00:01:05]

Lisa Murkowski:  Well it has been 37 years in the making.  This is has been an issue and initiative for Alaskans for almost four decades. Now I remind folks this is been a multi generational fight.

[00:01:23]

Bill Loveless:  Multi generational in your family?

[00:01:25]

Lisa Murkowski:  Multi generational in my family, when my father was chairman of the energy committee.  He had ANWR in front of him, it had been an issue that had been with him throughout his senate career. He worked a long side Senator Stevens, here in the United States senate to try to advance the opening of ANWR working with congressman Young, who has been through every ANWR battle in fact the Congressman, reminds me that while we moved out of the house 12 times and we never been able to get that the, the final, final line there.

[00:02:02]

Bill Loveless:  And he was, and he was in the congress back in the 1970s when the legislations was passed and made this particular –

[00:02:09]

Lisa Murkowski:  He, he lived through so much of, of the history and is a great resource really, an extraordinary resource on this.  We’ve had a couple successful efforts.  One where the congress passed, the opening, small opening of the Ten-O-Two area to exploration activity and, and development potential, that was back in 1995 and President Clinton vetoed it.

[00:02:39]

Bill Loveless:  That’s right.

[00:02:40]

Lisa Murkowski:  That was very disappointing I was not in office at that time, but when you talk to those who were there and lived through that very, very disappointing who have made that through that process.  I was here in 2005, the last time we made an effort to move ANWR through the process I was working with Senator Stevens at that time and we can close, but we were not able to, we were one vote shy effectively in the senate in advancing that on another vehicle.  So this has been something that has been a long fought, fight it has been an issue that I have brought up every year that I’ve been office now, the 15 years that I’ve been here, I’ve introduced legislation to open up ANWR.

I’ve been on the committee, I’m chairman of the committee and so to have, have the opportunity to be in a leadership position as chairman of the committee to, to be the committee that received the only other instruction under reconciliation outside of finance was, was pretty –pretty important step to facilitate this.  And then to be able to serve on the conference committee, along with Congressman Young to ensure that title to the tax reform bill stayed in and was successful in being enacted was, was really a very monumental legislative achievement for us as Alaskans.

[00:04:17]

Bill Loveless:  What made it possible this time around? Was it simply the, the need for revenue for the tax bill, or its more –was there more to within just that?

[00:04:27]

Lisa Murkowski:  I think there were, there were multiple factors.  Clearly looking at it from just here revenue, there are very few places.  Where you can find new wealth in the amount of a billion dollars.   And that was what the energy committee was tasked with.  Our instruction was raise a billion dollars and not raise a billion dollars, taking it from, from one part where it's going to then short change somebody else’s part.  With opening up the Ten-O-Two area, you are creating opportunities for new wealth.

And, and again I think pretty extraordinary wealth, recognizing that initially in this first ten year period , the revenues that we will see will stem from the least sales. Once production comes online and we see that, that flow, that’s going to be the gift that keeps on getting.  Well into the future and with revenues that I think will far still pass the expectations.  And so what made it different this time, why were we successful now after 37 years? I think it's a combination effect.  First the opportunity to create new wealth when we needed to find that for purposes of this tax bill.  But second what, what has happened in, within the industry in terms of how we are developing our oil resources? 

The technology that we’re using today in Alaska’s North Slope, it's a world of part from where we started 40 years ago with Prudhoe Bay.  Our footprint is so much smaller, our ability to drill below the surface with an extended reach drilling.

[00:06:33]

Bill Loveless:  The horizontal drilling.

[00:06:34]

Lisa Murkowski:  The horizontal drilling that allows you to use to be, you could go down and extend out, extend out to three miles say for instance in circumference.  Now with the technology we’re actually going to be moving forward with an exploration well that allows for a reach of a 125 square miles, it's extraordinary when you think about, the ability to access a resource under the surface with very little surface disturbance.

And so our technologies allow us to do more with less impact and I think that’s an important part of how we are developing in the Arctic, it's, it is a different environment up there than it is in many other parts of the country.  And so I think the technology combine with the opportunity was new wealth.  And the fact that quite honestly Alaskans have been, have been saying for close to 40 years now, that we support this up here.  And I think that helps.    

[00:07:46]

Bill Loveless:  The price of oil remains relatively low, shale, oil and gas development in the lower 48 states is still the way to go for it seems for most exploration or production in this country.  What makes you feel confident about the potential for development; they are given the price environment we see today?

[00:08:09]

Lisa Murkowski:  That is exactly, it's the price environment today.  But the price environment ten years from now maybe very, very different.  That I believe that it will, our projections are that the world is going to consume more oil going forward.  It's not Lisa Murkowski’s projections, these are, these are projections and forecast from EIA, from others that project the demand going forward which is going to increase and that our supplies here in the United States if we don’t do more to increase our supplies, we will be, we will be consuming more here, importing more here.

So making sure that we are producing more domestically and anticipation of this is going to be important.  So the price of oil today is, it’s certainly a factor as, as companies are looking to where they are going to operate, where they're going to compete, but I think it’s important to recognize that with ANWR this is not something that we’re going to be seeing production this year in 2018.  We’re not going to see it next year.  It is going to be at least a decade in the making. And that is – that is just a reality again of operating in the Arctic, opening up a new area that has not seen exploration, recognizing that to move the newly discovered oil will require construction of a pipeline. 

It’s not that long of a reach between the ANWR 1002 Area and connecting into the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.  But those – that infrastructure still needs to be put in place. 

[00:10:04]

Bill Loveless:  So it’s a matter of making the opportunity available though there’s no guarantees that they’ll – at the time the leasing is conducted and who knows who may respond.  I was reading back with Kara Moriarty the leader of the Alaska Oil and Gas Associations on the Wall Street Journal that we have long supported access, but I can't guarantee that any companies will show up.  You seem to be saying that’s now what the focus on, rather it’s just providing the opportunity to see what happens. 

[00:10:34]

Lisa Murkowski:  I can guarantee you that no one will be interested I ANWR if we don’t allow the opportunity to open it up.  And that’s wants happened for 37 years.  It’s been closed off.  And until such time as Congress acted and it was signed into law as we have done and the President has done.  There would be no reason for any company to look at it.  You can look longingly added but it’s not going to make it happen.  It took congressional action.  Now that that action has taken it will be evaluated, it will be considered just as any other would be.  And keep in mind you’ve got the NPRA off to the west.

[00:11:21]

Bill Loveless:  Naval Petroleum Reserve.

[00:11:22]

Lisa Murkowski:  The Naval Petroleum Reserve which is – there’s a lot going on right now in the NPRA.  And we’re encouraged as Alaskans, because we think that that will help fill up this Trans-Alaska Pipeline which is about half capacity now.  Well, allowing then that longer term opportunity that ANWR will present allowing that to come on later.  But we recognize it, this is all a matter of timing and price, but the opportunity has now been created. 

[00:11:57]

Bill Loveless:  The ranking member of your committee senator Cantwell democrat from Washington with whom you were closely on any issues.  We both have a reputation for doing that, has promised to take the fight to the American people over ANWR. Is the battle not over?

[00:12:12]   

Lisa Murkowski:  Well, I think we recognize that litigation is always an issue – always has been an issue with our Arctic exploration areas whether it has been within the NPRA where we’ve seen it or certainly on the offshore as shell attempted there their efforts some years ago.  I have no reason to believe that that ANWR would be any different, in fact just the opposite.  And that’s why I think it’s important that we do the leasing right.  That we do – that we move forward with a level of regulation that is fair and firm and very clear.  We made very clear in this legislation that allows for the opening of the 1002 that the management of it to reach in would be done in a manner similar to how we proceed on the National Petroleum Reserve.

And that means that there are no environmental shortcuts that the environmental laws that are in place.  There’s no skirting around them whether it’s the endangered species act, whether it is the clean water act, whether clean air act, all of these must be complied with.  Their environmental compliance is intact.

[00:13:56]  

Bill Loveless:  Right.  And I might mention the 1002 area just for clarification is the part of the ANWR, the coastal plain of ANWR where this drilling activity would occur, it’s about the size of – was it –

[00:14:09]

Lisa Murkowski:  The 1002 area is the size of I want to say Delaware itself.  It’s 1.5 million acres out of the total – the total ANWR area is an area the size of the state of South Carolina.  You have within the ANWR area, area that is designated as refuge – excuse me as wilderness.   That area is absolutely positively untouched forever that is wilderness status you have.  The other area that is designated as refuge area again that is not what we’re talking about within the 1002, the 1002 area is the area at the very top of the state of Alaska in the – on the north slope, again 1.5 million acres that was specifically reserved by Congress for its unique potential for oil and gas.

And so it’s set aside for further study, but it is not wilderness has never been wilderness. We’re not touching the wilderness in ANWR. 

[00:15:23]

Bill Loveless:  Right.  Well, now that ANWR has decided, what’s next? What’s on your agenda?  And how consistent is your agenda with that of the Trump administration?

[00:15:33]

Lisa Murkowski:  Well, Alaska is always first and foremost for me and when it comes to the energy space we have a lot to offer.  We have – we have opportunities again I mentioned resource development, further resource development within the National Petroleum Reserve.  We’ve been working with this administration to make sure that the permitting regulatory processes are once that worked both from an environmental perspective but also from a perspective of allowing opportunities to proceed.  But doing so in a way that is demonstrates good environmental stewardship, respecting the indigenous peoples who live there and who continue to rely on subsistence in a very important part of the discussions up there.

So working within the administration on those energy issues recognizing that the administration has just laid down its new draft five year lease sale plan for the offshore in Alaska that’s 19 different lease sale areas. There is some of those areas that really are not appropriate for oil and gas drilling.  So we’ll be weighing in and making recommendations to the administration about that.  There are some areas again in the Arctic that we think are prime for development such as in the Beaufort and Chukchi. 

[00:17:09]

Bill Loveless:  Despite the difficulty some companies like Shell have had there in the past. 

[00:17:12]

Lisa Murkowski:  Well, and keep in mind that part of what Shell was dealing with was a regulatory environment had not yet been clearly defined.  They were the guinea pig if you will.  And as a consequence what you saw was season after season where the roads were not clearly laid out, whether there were some inconsistencies.  Where there were – there was duplication, all that adds to cost and delay.  What you saw with Shell was six years of trying to work through a process close to $7 billion.  And the ability to put I one will.  One will not – the thing with oil and gas, the exploration and the reason they call it exploration is because we don’t know where it is. 

We have to explore to find it.  They didn’t find it on that first one.  But after that much time and that much money there’s not too many companies that are going to say well, let’s give it another five years and another $5 billion and hope we get it right this next time.  So offshore is still difficult, it’s still costly, but I would like to think that with this new administration and an approach that tries to get to yes when it comes to oil and gas exploration and production.  That perhaps we can have some more clearly defined rules of the road, some rules that are more consistent if you will.  So that’s one opportunity for us.

[00:18:54]

Bill Loveless:  On the offshore plan and it is a massive, it is the most massive proposal ever for offshore development, but when you speak a process, I mean it’s already some controversy over the way this is being handled where Interior Secretary Zinke has pulled Florida from consideration on his own in response to objections that the Governor of Florida has had already, but what do you make of that and are you concerned at all of our process here?

[00:19:24]

Lisa Murkowski:  Well, I think what the Trump administration has done is one – it’s been an approach that says everything is on the table.  All coastal areas that have resource potential are on the table in this draft and then we will win over that down to divine what the final plan will be.  We’re going to start with everything out there.  And that’s just the opposite approach that the Obama administration took.  They basically said we’re not going to put hardly anything on the table.  And the problem with that is the way the five year lease sale plan construct works you can only take things off, you can't add them back on.

[00:20:15]

Bill Loveless:  But in this case the Secretary has already taken, it seems the state of Florida are at a plan –

[00:20:20]

Lisa Murkowski:  It’s – some are saying well that’s highly political and I haven’t talked to the secretary about his rational with Florida, but I will tell you there’s an area in Alaska offshore, the north Aleutian Basin that was not included in the plan when I say the plan in his draft proposal.  And so some would say well, wait a minute Alaska is – they didn’t want to have north Aleutian Basin, I don’t want to have the north Aleutian Basin included in a leasing proposal.  And I let the administration know that as they were working forward with their draft plant.  I said Alaska and spoke up pretty clearly on this over the years and so as they were putting forward there their draft proposal they just – they took it off. 

Now, I look at that situation and say that was Alaskans who have spoken up.  I think you're seeing that people of Florida through their governors speak out and say we don’t think that these areas offshore Florida are appropriate.  So the secretary is taking things off.  Has it been –

[00:21:38]  

Bill Loveless:  It’s like enquired by the rules of the way the leasing program is supposed to work. 

[00:21:41]

Lisa Murkowski:  Well, and in fairness you put this out there and you say okay you’ve got 60 days to come in.  Would it – would this have been better if the secretary had just waited the full 60 days and then pulled Florida off, probably you wouldn’t be asking me this question.  You just would have said oh, we always knew all along that Florida was not going to be part of the discussion.  But I am encouraging Alaskans to weigh in on this, because I think that there are certain areas in Alaska offshore waters that should not be part of this plan.  And my hope is that they’re going -- you're going to have these coastal communities, filed resolutions in their city councils and we’re going to be starting to get copies and we’re going to compile them and we’re going to go to the interior department and we’re going to say these are appropriate and these were not appropriate. And we hope you take that into consideration.

[00:22:35]

Bill Loveless:  Right. And we’ve seen already other states where they do oppose it up and down, the east and west coast for making their opposition. 

[00:22:41]

Lisa Murkowski:  Yeah.  But this is – this is a pretty robust process to have everything out there on the table and then take it off.  Has it gotten some people really excited, yeah.  I can't – can't you speak that.  But this is where you have a chance to weigh in.

[00:23:02]

Bill Loveless:  The Trump administration portrays its energy policy in terms of dominance, energy dominance and you seem okay with that characterization of why that’s a legitimate policy goal.  Why is that?  

[00:23:18]

Lisa Murkowski:  I have long held deposition that when our country is vulnerable because of resource, a failure to have the resources that we need whether it’s oil or whether it is minerals.  When we need to rely on others often times relying on others who might not like us.  Who will use that leverage against us.  That leads to not only energy of vulnerability. But it leads to security vulnerability.  And I don’t like that.  We’re not Japan.  Japan doesn’t have a lot of natural resources and that was why Japan, I think turns so readily to nuclear power because they could create that on their own.  After Fukushima they headed in a different direction when it came to their energy policy that really it had them looking to the rest of the world whether for oil, for natural gas or coal. 

The United States doesn’t have to be in that position, because we do have an abundance of energy.  We see that with our oil reserves.  We see that with our natural gas where the Saudi Arabia of natural gas where the Saudi Arabia of wind, we have extraordinary resources available to us and to our friends and allies.  And that not only makes us energy dominant, but it helps us from a national security perspective. And in this day and at this time when there is so much uncertainty around the world.  I want to make sure that we’ve got as much security as we can muster. And I think we gain that through energy, through our own energy independence and dominance. 

[00:25:42]   

Bill Loveless:  So you feel as an important signal they send that they want to be rather aggressive and pursuing energy security in this way when I see the administration.

[00:25:53]

Lisa Murkowski:  The administration I think that that is an important signal, but again I think it bears repeating that when we can help our allies with the resources that they need that is as significant as being there as providing military arms or the like.  We cannot put boots on the ground in every troubled region of the world.  We simply can't. We don’t have that capacity. But there are other ways that we can work relationships and build alliances.  And we should use those tools that we have.  And what are those tools?  So much of that relates to our energy abundance. 

[00:26:52]

Bill Loveless:  Right.  So much of what happens in this town occurs at the agencies that do the regulating whether it’s the federal energy regulatory commission or the interior department.  And certainly one of the objectives of the Trump administration is to pull back on regulation that it feels is a burdensome to the industry and all.  And yet some worry that maybe you go too far.  For example do you go too far in easing regulation on safety for offshore drilling or for methane emissions or the clean power plant and these sorts of things. I mean where do you fall on these things.  Is there a point at which you think you go too far that you may look at what they’re doing and saying?  We need to pull back all that. 

[00:27:36]

Lisa Murkowski:  I think it is all about balance.  I am not one who has ever been afraid of regulation. I believe we need to have in place good sound regulations, whether they be directed towards safety or care for environment or the health of individuals.  And so I want to make sure that they are – the reason they’re rational and that there is a consistency.

[00:28:08]

Bill Loveless:  I do feel the administration is going too far in any regard?

[00:28:12]

Lisa Murkowski:  I think we need to be – I think we need to be vigilant. For instance the roles that came – the regulations that came down after the deep water horizon designed to provide for a level of safety, environmental safety as well as a safety for the workers, that was a response to a horrible horrific disaster.  And I know that there has recently been a pullback on that.  I want to look very, very, very critically at that, because I know that if I want us to be able to develop our offshore resources in the Arctic up in the Beaufort and up in the Chukchi.  I need to know that there are good standards in place, because as an Alaskan, I don’t – I don’t want to see anything that could be harmful.   

And certainly not devastating like we saw down in the golf, so I want to make sure that I've got -- that there are regulations in standards in place that provide for that level of safety. But I also want to – I also know that it’s different operating and in the deep water golf as opposed to the Arctic where you’re operating and maybe 50 feet, 100 feet of water, but I've got ice conditions up there. You’ve got deep water down there.  So it kind of – the one size fits all approach is something that we had struggled with before and I think our regulators are smart enough to be working to make sure that the regulations that are in place where they are or what we need.

And we need to get to that point. So finding the balance is where we need to be.  We cannot – we cannot say clean air, clean water, safety that that doesn’t matter anymore. It absolutely matters.

[00:30:42]

Bill Loveless:  Well speaking of clean air, clean water and the environment generally climate change in the past you’ve acknowledged that the affects of warming on the climate you’re concerned about the impacts in a place like Alaska in particular. 

[00:30:56]

Lisa Murkowski:  Yeah, the very dramatic impact.

[00:30:57]

Bill Loveless:  You’ve had advised the administration to remain in the Paris climate accord.  What do you make today of the administrations positions on climate change and the environmental protection agency’s positions.  I know that’s not directly under your jurisdiction, but never the less that it affects as implications to everything you work on. 

[00:31:19]

Lisa Murkowski:  Well, I live in a state that sees the impacts of a warming climate perhaps more directly than anywhere else. Alaska the U.S., Arctic has seen changes in temperatures that have been more dramatic.  It has impacted the ice particularly the multiyear ice that we have up north and it’s not just in the offshore, it changes in vegetation, it is migratory patterns of the wild life that are changing.  We’re seeing changes it’s having impact or infrastructure and so again I'm one who always tries to seek the balance and when I see decisions or actions being taken back in Washington DC that I think will erode or undermine for instance the science and data that I think are critical to understanding what is going on and what we’re seeing and how we can adapt and mitigate that concerns mean. 

So I'm weighing in with the administration and saying it doesn’t make sense to reduce budget say in this area.  And speak up on that.  I just introduce legislation recently, very specific to what we’re seeing with ocean acidification, because in my state where we have some 33000 miles of coast line and most of my communities are fishing communities and are fishers, are crab are impacted by increasing rates in ocean acidification.  I need to know and understand we as a state need to understand what is happening and also what can be done.  So making sure that from a budget perspective we’re doing right, this is very important making sure that again we keep good environmental standards and safeguards in place when we’re talking about the responsibility of the EPA, the environmental protection agency to protect our air, to protect our water.

[00:33:58]

Bill Loveless:  Are you comfortable with the direction that EPA is going on these days?

[00:34:02]

Lisa Murkowski:  I don’t like the notion that because something has the word climate in it that it is somehow or others suspect and that we need to eliminate this office.  Let’s be – let’s be realistic, let’s be honest about the changes that we are seeing and work to address them rather than to say anything that relates to climate needs to just be shut down.  I will tell you there is – there’s been this sense that anything that is Arctic related, oh that might be getting too close to climate, so we can't – we can't support more research in the Arctic. Well, that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. 

So I think part of this is just working with the relatively new folks that are in this administration and introducing them to some of the issues and some of the concerns that we have and letting them know that these are important for us to understand and there is clearly a government role and in doing that.

[00:35:20]

Bill Loveless:  The clean power plant would be one big issue that will be discussed this year.  And I image you’ll be spending some time on that that was of course the Obama administration plant to regulate emissions from power plants that the Trump administration is disassembling the plants to replace.  I mean what do you hope they would do?  What would you like to say in term of it?

[00:35:40]

Lisa Murkowski:  Well, it’s interesting on that particular issue because Alaska was exempted from the clean power plant, because we are not part of – anybody else was grid if you will, when you look at what the clean power plant laid down we just – it doesn’t exist in the state of Alaska.  And this was a case that I had made when Gina McCarthy was the administrator for the EPA.  And so when the clean power plant was announced she contacted me ahead of that and said you’re right, you're right.  Your situation in Alaska is just that much more different and more distinct.  So I think –

[00:36:22]

Bill Loveless:  But now you’ll be looking at it in terms of the implications for the rest of the country in terms of what the administration decides with you.

[00:36:27]

Lisa Murkowski:  Exactly.  So and again making sure that we are using best available technology with our energy and our energy infrastructure and putting in place standards that are not only achievable but that allows to stretch a little bit.  But when you put into place or you propose to put into place standards that are not attainable, you haven’t helped the situation.

[00:37:03]  

Bill Loveless:  And do you think the clean power plant standards were unattainable?

[00:37:06]

Lisa Murkowski:  I think in some situations they were and so how you calibrate that is where we need to head.  One of the things that we haven’t talked about is the energy bill that senator Cantwell and I have been working on now for several years.

[00:37:29]

Bill Loveless:  You’re most – well it passed with what some 85 votes in the senate in 2016.

[00:37:31]

Lisa Murkowski:  Eight five to 12, 85 to 12 pretty good bipartisan vote.  We want to bring that back. 

[00:37:37]

Bill Loveless:  Couldn’t get the house to come along though.

[00:37:38]

Lisa Murkowski:  No, we’re going to work on the house and we’re continuing to do that, but one of the things that that was important within that bill.

[00:37:47]

Bill Loveless:  And you might mention senator what were the primary aspects of that bill. 

[00:37:50]

Lisa Murkowski:  It was an overlook – a review of your will of our nation’s energy policy something that we haven’t upgraded or refreshed and close to a decade now.  But things like grid modernization when you think about – when you think about weaknesses that we have right now and areas that contribute to higher emissions much of it is, because you have infrastructure that is outdated, outmoded just really in many instances wasteful.  So grid modernization is something that would have been, that will be helpful to us.  Other aspects of the energy bill that I think are certainly worth mentioning focus on cyber security. 

We all recognize the vulnerability there in that space, increased emphasis on areas that will work to reduce our emissions within renewable, strong proponent of hydropower what we can do to bring more hydropower online and help in that regard recognizing that we have in abundance of natural gas and our opportunities through L&G Exports.  So we have a bill that is teed up now, it’s in the queue, so to speak and my hope is that we’ll have an opportunity to go to the floor of this senate, move the energy bill through again work with the house.  And –

[00:39:33]

Bill Loveless:  I think you have a better chance to get it pass Congress this year then you have in the past. 

[00:39:36]

Lisa Murkowski:  You know I do.  I do.  And believe that because again it’s been a full decade now.  There’s been a lot that’s happened in the energy space in ten years.  And when your policies don’t keep up they hold you back.  And so we’ve got that going in our favor, but also I think that there is recognition that when we’re talking about infrastructure right now and that’s kind of the big issue area where republicans and democrats seem to be coming together working with the administration, we’re going to figure out what this infrastructure package might be when you appreciate how energy infrastructure really plays into the bigger picture. 

If you can't – if you can't power in an affordable and an economic, in a clean way, a lot of these big ideas that we’re talking about are going to be tough to do.  So making sure that we don’t lose sight of the energy infrastructure and how that can contribute to our nation’s overall economy is going to be part of the discussion moving forward.

[00:40:59]

Bill Loveless:  Yeah I’d like to close our discussion with this thought. You’ve developed a reputation of your career has been a rather independent thinker, we certainly saw that back in the case of the attempt by the senate to appeal Obama Care late in the year where you and senator Collins and senator McCain bucked you on party and stopped that bill and its tracks.  On the other hand you’ve been a strong leader in your own party and things like the tax bill.  But you have a reputation for working across the lines.  One of the things we often discuss at the Central and Global Energy Policy is what does it take today, to get some sort of a reasonable dialogue and energy one that isn’t so caught up in the bitterness and the divides that are so typical to politics these days.  What do you think it takes to help improve that environment?

[00:41:48]

Lisa Murkowski:  Well you put the question in an interesting bill away bill because I actually pose this to a group of in terns that I have this summer.  How can we change the debate, the dialogue on the climate change? How can we – how can we have a discussion that is less polarized.  And these young kids they were all 18 year old.  I said you god has stopped calling one another names.  And we chuckle, but you think about it, right now when you so much of the discussion about the climate changes oh, you know you are the knuckle dragger. You don’t believe and you're the denier caucus and the other side is they're just pie in the sky, you can just make energy materialized just like that we – we have got to bring ourselves to the table for discussion, with an openness towards the views of the others.  

And it doesn’t mean that I have to agree with you at the end of the conversation, but I have to respect your view and your – your contribution to the discussion and allow us to go back and forth and try to integrate, try to knit together your good ideas with my good ideas, with her good ideas and see what we can build.  Because it seems that more and more we’re not focusing on building things together.  We’re not trying to be constructive in our dialogue or in our policy, we’re trying to just bring the other side down so that we can claim a win.  And if that’s always going to be the ultimate goal, we’re not going to have good bipartisan policy that comes out of the congress.

[00:43:55]

Bill Loveless:  Seems like a tall order to change things though.

[00:43:57]

Lisa Murkowski:  I don’t think so because I’m a – I’m a believer in – in good was a great book out that is been by local – local author and it’s just entitled find the good.  Find the good and in your idea find the good and even some bad things you know we can learn from – from these.  And I think energy can be that area where we can find the good, because if we can – if we can help with energy solutions that are good in the sense that they -- they make it affordable, accessible we make it clean, we make it diverse, we make it secure so that we – we eliminate some of the energy vulnerabilities, the security vulnerabilities. 

If we can – if we can do this we can help so many people in so many different ways, we can help our country in so many different ways.  And I think that energy holds that opportunity for us.  But we have to stop putting people in boxes and saying that well if you – if you believe that oil has a place in our energy portfolio, then I can't talk to you because I’m all about renewable and we can't have that discussion. It should not be mutually exclusive.  You should not denigrate me because I happen to believe that fossils play a role, nor should I put you down, because you think that we’re going to be able to do more with – with solar or fusion or LG.  Let’s cap into one another’s genies here and build some – some good energy policy.

[00:45:54]

Bill Loveless:  Find the good I suppose –

[00:45:55]

Lisa Murkowski:  Find the good.

[00:45:56]

Bill Loveless:  Senator Murkowski, thank you very much.

[00:45:58]

Lisa Murkowski:  Good to be with you.

[00:46:02]

Bill Loveless:  That was great.

[00:46:03]

Lisa Murkowski:  Good.