Senator Lisa Murkowski, drilling away at environmental protections

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
While some U.S. senators struggle to find a way forward on climate action, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has stepped into the fray to call for a time out.
Murkowski, in fact, has been in the fray for a while. And while she’s not alone — many others in Congress have said they’re more concerned about slowing government regulations than slowing climate change — she has recently distinguished herself as one of the strongest opponents of controls on carbon pollution.

Murkowski, a longtime, ardent supporter of oil drilling, has become more vocal in the past year in her efforts to keep industry free of strong environmental controls. In January, she proposed stripping the EPA of its ability to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. More recently, she’s lamented that the BP oil disaster has temporarily halted exploratory offshore drilling in the arctic planned by Shell Oil for this summer; a topic that even many conservative opponents of climate action have remained silent on in the face of the ongoing historic, despoiling of the gulf.

Against oil odds, Houston races to a greener future

The Bayou City -- Greener than you think (Photo: Green Right Now)

The Bayou City -- greener than you think (Photo: Green Right Now)

Driving around Houston, or idling in traffic on one of the city’s big expanses of highway, it’s hard to think of the nation’s oil capital as a green city. Like other sprawling Sunbelt meccas built on the assumption that roads were forever, the city deals with intense traffic-related pollution. It’s known in the parlance of the EPA as a “non-attainment” metro area for its inability to meet healthy air quality targets. It can mount a hazy skyline to rival L.A.’s and it’s got the added burden of benzene and other toxics wafting in from nearby oil refineries. And still, the petrol city gets that it is a new greener day in America.