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Alaska Senator Opposes Merging Energy, Cap-and-Trade Legislation

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Friday signaled that she would oppose any attempt by the Democratic leadership to possibly merge energy legislation and a cap-and-trade bill on the Senate floor this year.

Lumping two very controversial pieces of legislation into a single-bill strategy will make final passage very difficult, said the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

"The energy committee is drafting a comprehensive energy bill that already includes a number of areas where reaching consensus is challenging. Combining that energy bill with a controversial cap-and-trade proposal will make getting to 60 votes on the floor an almost impossible lift," she said.

The energy bill is expected to address a number of contentious issues, including federal siting of electric transmission facilities, drilling in the previously banned areas of the Outer Continental Shelf and a renewable energy standard.

Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) indicated last week that energy and cap-and-trade legislation should be dealt with separately. Cap-and-trade "[is] not as ready for prime time in my opinion," he said.

Murkowski said she and her staff are working in a bipartisan fashion with Bingaman and his staff on a comprehensive energy bill that they hope to mark up by the end of the month.

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