Murkowski taps Super Bowl blackout as parable for energy policy

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Bloomberg

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

You want to keep the lights on — whether it's at the Super Bowl or as a principle for our nation's energy policy.

That thought occurred to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, last night as she watched the football game and thought about what she would say today, when she unveiled a new report on future energy policy.

Keeping the lights on "is essential to who we are as a prosperous nation," said Murkowski, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The 34-minute blackout at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was an embarrassment to the NFL and the city of New Orleans, but Murkowski said it also was a helpful reminder about "why we focus on energy as a prosperous nation."

Murkowski's report starts with a basic insight: "Energy is good."

"Energy provides the basis for advanced civilization and improved standards of living," she said. "It allows us to live comfortably. It allows us to transport ourselves and cargo around our neighborhood and around the world. It allows us to produce food in the quantities necessary to feed the world's population. It allows us to manufacture and communicate, and enables every aspect of modern life."

"Affordable, abundant energy is not the problem," she said. "It is exactly what we should strive for."

And it's largely becoming a reality in the U.S., thanks to the boom in domestic oil and natural gas production, as well as the increase in wind and solar energy production.

Murkowski thinks this new reality requires a shift in our thinking about energy policy, which for decades has been based on the premise of increasing scarcity.

Read more from The Business Journal's Washington Bureau.

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