Dismayed by the “muddle that we currently know as federal energy regulatory policy,” the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Monday published her own energy vision for the future.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R- AK) last week unveiled ” Energy 20/20: A Vision for America’s Energy Future” at the winter committee meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

The nation’s energy discourse is “just not keeping up” with recent changes in the energy industry, she said. “For decades, our energy policies have been crafted on the premise of increasing scarcity, yet today we have increasing supply. Instead of absence, we find ourselves on the verge of abundance. It is time to take advantage of the U.S.’s large endowment of conventional and unconventional resources,” Murkowski said. “We must strive to produce the largest possible percentage of our oil domestically.”

Energy 20/20 reflects the senator’s well established pro-energy development stance. “A simple insight drives this,” she said. “Energy is good.”

Murkowski said Energy 20/20 is not meant to be an outline for a comprehensive energy bill, but a “source of ideas for discrete legislation.” The 100-plus page document contains 200 policy recommendations on topics ranging from oil and gas to coal and global warming. It aims to achieve independence from OPEC imports by 2020.

Included in the recommendations are full construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline; an expedited process for Lower 48 liquefied natural gas exports to U.S. allies “that face emergency or chronic shortages but with whom we do not have free trade agreements”; and opening 2,000 acres in the nonwilderness portion of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration and production, and allowing easing in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (see NGI, Dec. 24, 2012).

In addition the recommendations suggest accelerating oil shale permitting and leasing in the western United States, whose reserves have made the country the “Saudi Arabia of oil shale;” producing more energy on Native American lands, which have reserves worth an estimated $875 billion; and requiring the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to inventory all technically recoverable energy resources every five to seven years. The USGS has mapped 96% of Afghanistan using high-tech methods, but only 5% of the domestic reserves.

Murkowski also calls for research of wastewater and water consumption for unconventional drilling using hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and ensure that regulations balance water-related concerns with the technique’s economic benefits (see NGI, Jan. 7); strictly limiting federal government encroachment on state drilling regulations; and imposing a “regulatory moratorium,” during which the impact of regulations upon energy security would be studied.

Energy 20/20 does not call for any tax hikes, “burdensome” regulations or limitations on consumer choice, which Murkowski said are hampering energy sector development.

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